January 11, 2009

Sick habits

I am sick. Luckily, Mark and I have a system that has never failed: 1. Mark gets sick. Kim takes care of Mark. 2. After Mark recovers, Kim gets sick. Mark takes care of Kim.

This works really, really well. If you have to be sick, it is a great luxury to have a healthy person to run to the store for juice, to make soup, and to bring you a box of tissues when you don't feel like moving from the couch. The only scary thing is what would happen if we were to both get sick at once. In almost 6 years together, this has never happened. And I hope it never does.

I always do the same thing when I get a cold. Sick apparel: leggings, hooded sweatshirt. Sick viewing: Anything I can fall asleep to, but the best is the entire Pride and Prejudice BBC series. Sick reading: Reading?

My main interest is in sick eats/drinks. I have found that everyone has something they swear by, whether it was something a loving parent always gave them or something miraculous they discovered on accident. My friend Nicole used to swear by the BRAT diet - bananas, rice, applesauce, toast. As a kid, Mark had chicken soup, cream of wheat blended with a banana, 7-up, saltines, and lime sherbet. Here are my usual suspects:

1. Homemade soup. When I'm sick, I must have something hot that slips down the throat. One of my favorites is chao, also known as congee or jook, which is a thin, porridge-like rice soup. Simple and immensely comforting, it must have shredded chicken, lots of ginger, and pepper. I also like chicken noodle soup. If I'm lucky, Mark will roast a chicken and then use the carcass to make stock and shred the meat into my soup.

2. When we don't have homemade soup on hand, I cry and wish my mom was there. Then I send Mark out for take-out pho ga (chicken pho) or tom yum (spicy Thai soup). Whenever I feel under the weather, I really crave flavorful, spicy broth. Pho is especially great after a long flight.

3. Sparkling water with fruit juice. Orange juice, grapefruit juice, or passionfruit juice are all excellent.

4. Hot water with thinly sliced ginger and lemon wedges, mixed with a lot of honey. If I have a sore throat or am congested, this works wonders.

5. Crackers. My mom always had saltines and ginger ale on hand when our stomachs were upset. I don't care for ginger ale these days, but crackers are essential sick food.

6. Fruit sorbet. Raspberry Haagen-Dazs, please! Actually, cold fruit in general, especially oranges and berries.

7. When my taste buds start to return, I invariably crave crusty bread, spread with goat cheese and drizzled with honey.

What are your sick foods? Are they the same as when you were a kid, or have they changed as you got older?

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