Friday, December 15, 2006

One too many

It's the holiday season. This means lots of holiday parties. In honor of ours tonight, here are some uncommon hangover cures listed on

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese — On a biscuit, roll, or English muffin, this cholesterol bomb is an all-time favorite for curing hangovers (while likely causing myriad other health problems).

Bagel and Cream Cheese — This one covers your carb, fat, and protein groups. "My sister claims that the idea of eating something greasy and carb-heavy like french fries is a myth — it's really protein that helps," relates an Epi editor.

Chocolate Milk — "Back in the day, my favorite hangover remedy was drinking one of those small cartons of Nestlé's Chocolate Quik," says an employee who's more likely to be using milk to soothe her daughter than her own stomach these days. "A massive sugar rush temporarily eased the pain and provided an illusion of being able to function. It's along the lines of drinking a Coke but a little smoother on the belly."

Coffee — It can be hard on a queasy stomach, but coffee can really cure a hangover headache. We've read it has something to do with constricting the blood vessels — plus, it helps any painkillers you've taken reach your bloodstream quicker.

Crescent City Cure — "There's a traditional, but not well known, New Orleans hangover cure called Yaka Mein. It's a beef and soy broth–based soup nicknamed Old Sober for it's purported hangover-healing properties and consists of noodles (often spaghetti), meat (often beef or pork chops), and boiled eggs," says our New Orleans editor. "Generally it's sold in bodegas and corner stores in traditionally black neighborhoods. Since most of those neighborhoods were wiped out by Katrina, it has really become an endangered dish."

Fry-Up — The full English breakfast or the "fry-up" of eggs, toast, sausages, broiled tomato, baked beans, and sometimes, if you're lucky, blood pudding, is the perfect cure for a few too many pints of bitter.

Hair of the Dog that Bit You — Some say you need to drink exactly what you drank the night before for a true "hair of the dog" remedy, while for others any form of alcohol will do. In The South American Gentleman's Companion, published in 1951, Charles H. Baker, Jr., writes that "when it comes to Picker-Uppers... the old Hair-o'-the-Dog principle is just about the only thing that will rebuild a man who has not time or patience to let nature's cure of rest, quiet and time get-in its licks."

He lists 27 recipes for such cures, including the Buenos Aires "Man-of-the-Port" Reviver: " Take 1 10-ouncer can of Campbell's Consomme or Beef Bouillon, add 2-ouncer tot of good French brandy. Stir and put in deep-freeze or freezer compartment of your refrigerator. Leave it till it's a chilled and sippable liquid; or chilled until it almost jells, and eat it with a spoon."While a beefy brandy gel seems more than a bit repulsive, some of us have been known to seek a nice bubbly beer late in the afternoon after a hangover, particularly if the hangover came from something other than beer.

Mystery Pills — One editor takes a Chinese herbal digestive aid that is rumored to prevent hangovers. Another person we polled shared this scary story: "One time at a New Year's Eve party where I knew almost no one, I rashly stuck my hand into a large bowl of pills and took a few after being told they were homemade hangover preventive pills. I think the party hosts may have been chemistry grad students. Still have no idea what was in those. Seemed to work though." Many of us would like to get our hands on a pill we read about in the The New York Times Style Magazine on December 3: "Berocca is a fizzy tablet, like Alka-Seltzer with multivitamins, commonly available in more than 40 countries — not including the United States."

Pizza — "The ideal topping is clearly pepperoni, which helps satisfies the hangover cure grease requirement," says one editor.

Prairie Oyster-"The one my grandfather, who claimed to not drink, swore by was two raw eggs with Tabasco and Worchestershire sauce," says an Epicurious contributor. "He said he didn't know if it cured the hangover, but it tasted so bad it took your mind off it." We thought "prairie oyster" meant something else entirely, but it is indeed a drink, and you'll find several versions (with and without alcohol) in our database.

Slushies and Slurpees — The same curative caffeine, sugar, and carbonation as colas, plus lots of rehydrating ice. Especially good for summer hangovers.Soda — "Ginger ale is essential," says one editor. Another shares this story: "I once had a killer hangover but still showed up (queasy, head pounding) to wait with friends in the mammoth line for brunch at Prune in New York. A sympathetic host gave me one of those tiny glass bottles of Coca-Cola. I was instantly cured. The caffeine and sugar fixed my head and the bubbles quelled my nausea — plus, I swear it tastes better in those glass bottles! I will always be grateful to that man and his magical Coca-Cola."

Smoothies — Parents will love this one: "Ever since I was a teenager and first learning to drink I've made smoothies to get over bad hangovers," one now of-age drinker relates. "When a blender is not available I run to Jamba Juice for their Peenya Kowlada smoothie — a proven hangover remedy, and it fights colds." Our database has plenty of smoothie recipes. May we suggest draping a kitchen towel over the blender to muffle its brain-splitting sound?

Soups of the World — Forget the egg sandwich! When it comes to curing hangovers, many wish we could teleport ourselves to far-flung countries for giant bowls of rehydrating broth, easy-to-digest noodles or rice, protein-packed eggs and meat, and — for a few of us — supposedly curative tripe. Some of our favorites are Mexican menudo, Korean sul long tang, Vietnamese pho, and Japanese udon and miso.

One editor swears by the ramen at New York's Momofuku, while another will drag himself to Queens to eat duck soup at the Thai restaurant Sripraphai. "With its intensely ducky mahogany-colored broth, chunks of fat-on bird, and a mess of slippery noodles, fresh cilantro, and scallions, it's somehow really flavorful, but not in the ways that agitate the old gag reflex," he says. "God, how I want some now, and I'm not even hungover!"

Sugar in Any Form — 'Nuff said.

Toast with Mashed Avocado — This is what one contributor craves when she has a hangover — seems like a good, healthy alternative to the bacon, egg, and cheese.

Water, Water, Everywhere — Many swear that simply drinking tons of water along with your poison of choice is enough to ward off a hangover. If that doesn't work, it's prescribed by our panel in many fortified forms, including Smart Water, Vitamin Water Revive Fruit Punch, Pedialyte, and Gatorade, as well as in juice and decaffeinated tea

Hmm...some sound less than desirable, but what they hey. When in need, drastic measures are a ok!

Happy Holidays!


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