Cooking, in sickness and in health

by Brianne

When I was growing up, routine childhood sickness had its routine.

Whoever was sick would claim the couch, set up a fort of pillows and blankets, position the tissue box, tuck a big plastic empty ice cream gallon on the floor for an abrupt bout of nausea. And then turn on the TV. Bob Barker with his lineup of packaged goods (how much is Ivory soap?). Lucy Ricardo stuffing chocolates into her shirt, fussing in her high-pitched voice. Lassie galloping over the fields and jumping the fence to sound the alarm.

TV seemed to help, or maybe it just distracted us.

If my stomach was upset, Mom would bring ginger ale.

I’d also plea for bread, “French” bread from the supermarket with doughy white insides spongy with warm melted butter. Maybe a popsicle or a bowl of ice cream, if my throat was sore.

And Jell-O. That sweet, wiggly, stained-glass-colored cure-all.

This week, a pesky bug has struck our grownup home. Coughs, sore throat, exhaustion, massive headaches. Not so fun. I’ve been at a loss at what could help.

The right food can be so soothing, both as a morale pick-me-up and an elixir for the worn-down body.

Blood orange ginger ale

Blood orange ginger ale

Yesterday, I made a simple tomato soup out of a can of whole tomatoes with juice, beef broth, a small minced onion, and a sprinkling of dried thyme, oregano, basil.

Then I made something I never make: mac and cheese, a classic comfort food. It is not mislabeled.

I  also lean toward anything with vitamin C. I added the last pulp and juice of a blood orange to a glass of ginger ale. Pretty delicious, illness or no.

Some links, for these icky times:

Chicken Noodle Soup from Smitten Kitten
I love that Deb’s recipe uses the chicken to make the broth – keeping all those extra vitamins and skipping a chemical-laden canned soup.

101 Cookbooks offers this Good Soup for the Sick

The New York Times Well section runs Recipes for Health

Homemade sore throat remedy with mint, cinnamon, honey, lemon

What’s your favorite feel-better food?