Travel, stress, booze, blizzards (plural), anxiety… Depending on how you look at it, we’ve either described Thanksgiving 2019 in hindsight or a recipe for How to Get Sick this December. Maybe both?
No matter how you look at it, we’ve now entered peak running-on-empty season. So we at City Pages put together our a lifetime of leaky sinuses, gurgling stomachs, and aching bones to draft this survival guide in hopes of carrying you through this time of great expectations and great expectorations.
Draw upon it when you need strength.
This could mean ordering delivery or takeout (ideally fetched by someone else, while you remain cocooned on the couch, or floating in an Epsom salt bath). Other times it involves rooting through your fridge to eat the only “healthy” thing that hasn’t rotted. No judgment!
Survival is a winter sport. Please accept this box of Kleenex as a trophy.
Solids + Liquids + Heat (go hand-in-hand-in-hand)
Spice fiends know you’ve got to blast out those sinuses, and show the bug who’s the boss of the house (read: your body). Sober Fish in Minneapolis has seven killer curries to choose from, depending on which part of your face needs to drain. We recommend the Green Curry, aka “the queen of all curries,” but do you.
There's a contingent among us who will go hard for the build-your-own remedy in pho. The variation in ordering alone is astounding – whether brisket or meatballs, vegetarian or a dark horse chicken variation (as pictured above, at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro). Toss in the crunch factor brought by a plate of fresh sliced jalapenos, a plant's worth of Thai basil, mixed with fistfuls of bean sprouts, and there's no possible way you'll finish a bowl feeling worse than when you first slurped.
Cheap Ramen That Will Make You Sweat
Can’t leave the house? Keep a few packs of under-two-dollar Samyang spicy chicken ramen in the cupboard. All of them burst to life with a fried egg and fresh kimchi. Available at United Noodle, Shuang Hur, or your favorite Asian bodega, Samyang offers a variety of “spicy chicken” varieties (from Mala, with its slightly numbing szechuan peppercorn tinge, to a weirdly delicious cheese flavor pictured above) that cook in five minutes…. But beware their “2x” flavor packaged in red. It's rated at more than 8,800 on the Scoville scale, and is so hot that Mukbangers treat it like a challenge.
For the non-spice-lords among us, wonton soup is the universal answer. Evergreen (RIP) once served a champion rendition, but the heir to the throne belongs to Rainbow Chinese’s wonton mein, with its subtle broth punctuated by scallion and toasted garlic. From those who were fed it by their mothers to others who found it later in life, do not sleep on wonton soup when you cannot sleep.
Back to Basics (for when you just need padding for those six ibuprofen from earlier)
You probably have eggs. Hard-boil them… all. You can do this. Set yourself up for nine meals at once.
How about baby carrots? Sure, you never eat them (which is why you’re probably sick right now), but that means you still have them. Good news is, these little turds are sorta like honey, in that they almost never go bad (but unlike honey, because it actually never goes bad). Root around in your fridge. They’re full of vitamins. Eat them now.
Try making a quesadilla. Shred that cheese. Slap a tortilla in a pan. Eat it when it’s toasty-gooey.
But what if you actually can’t use a pan (due to sickness or genuine ineptitude)?
Taco Bell delivers. Let this handy-dandy website get a quesadilla to your mouth. (We’re not responsible if you add Diablo Sauce.) Mothering yourself is important, especially when you're sick. And sometimes "mothering yourself" involves ordering TBell without shame. Then learning to use a pan when you've recovered.
Liquids (are the easiest, but least helpful, answer)
At the first sign of sickness, procure a gallon of Minute Maid Kids+ Orange Juice and drink it in a single day. Yes, that’s a lot of sugar, but it’s also a lot of liquid and the carton contains not only a smiling orange face but also a metric ton of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and calcium. Once it’s out of the fridge, just never put it back in. Carry it around with you like a weird little friend. Those are the rules. They’ve worked for decades. Game over.
Canada Dry ginger ale tastes like cheap champagne when you’re sick. The bubbles are comforting (as are the burps). Plus: You started feeling like shit, not the other way around!
We’d be remiss if we didn’t remind that hot toddies work. (They’ve done studies, okay?) To be clear: We’re not telling you to go down a bottle of Bulleit. But fall down the rabbit hole of googling the magical properties of honey long enough and you might see our point. Besides, a little nightcap pointing toward a more solid slumber definitely helps in recuperation (removing all claims to the ingredients’ supposed powers).
Just remember: Moderation in all things, adjust all ingredients according to taste, and… this too shall pass.