‘Tis the Season for Flus, Fevers, and the Foods To Fix Them

By on October 16, 2013 1:30pm EST

It’s that time of year again–flu season. And cold season. And probably the season for a myriad of other illnesses. Let’s face it: fall and winter, for all their crockpot-using, pumpkin-spiced glory, tend to suck when you’re stuck with the sniffles. Luckily, there are a few tried-and-true foods to help you fight off whatever viral or bacterial menace is waging war on your body.

I know what you’re thinking: is she going to give me another chicken soup recipe? The answer is no, I’m not (but if you’re asking, this is the one I use). Chicken soup is for people with moms living in the same state, or who have very, very caring roommates. When you’re too weak crawl out from under the duvet, too dehydrated from sweating out half of your body weight to cook, and too much of a Strong Independent Woman to call your boyfriend (not to mention that the last time you tried to shower you got woozy and had to sit on the floor… and that was two days ago) here’s what you do:

Step One: A Strong-Ass Drink

Now’s the time for a home-made cold remedy. I know, the idea of drinking warm sriracha might might make your stomach turn, but it’s good for clearing out the sinuses. Ginger has mild analgesic properties, and can help fight off some viruses. Plus, you can totally heat this stuff up in a microwave, minimal effort required.

For those of you afflicted that are of-age, I can recommend nothing better than a hot toddy. In the Van Horn house, that means whiskey, lemon, honey, and tea but you can play fast and loose–this is you in a bathrobe, not you playing home mixologist. The Internet tells me that ginger ale is commonly used in place of tea, and if you’re going to sub out the whiskey for something else… well, whatever helps you sleep at night (because that’s exactly what a hot toddy is for).

Step Two: Order In (then sanitize your phone or keyboard, sickie!)

In a perfect world, your mom is there for you when you’re sick, whipping up cinnamon toast and cooking pastina in chicken broth and then lovingly tucking you in. In my world, my mom is an hour and forty-five minutes away, so I’m starving colds and fevers. However, it’s a brave new world: Seamless, GrubHub, and individual restaurant websites are there for you in your time of need, offering every international delight you could possibly desire (because sick calories, like airport calories and stress-eating calories don’t actually count).

Your friendly neighborhood Rioters are all about the cheap Americanized Asian food–that means dumplings, egg drop soup, wonton soup and, in our darker moments, “oriental” flavored ramen. None of this stuff is difficult to digest, can be eaten from bed, and is generally strongly-flavored enough to be  taste-able through the Berlin Wall erected in your sinuses.

But if you really want to blow your cold out of the water, there are two great options: fresh, steaming hot, aggressively spiced pho, or screamingly spicy hot & sour soup. Chances are, somewhere near you delivers them, and after a pint or two, your sinuses will be wide open, and maybe you won’t have to cancel your weekend hayride plans.

After all, fall is for pumpkin picking and cider making, not laying in bed.


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Caitlin Van Horn

Caitlin Van Horn loves books, beer, and cats, and is sometimes lucky enough to have all three at once.