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Memories of Sickbed Foods


Vervain
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Teaching a class where the topic came up, I found that my students had strong (really strong) attachments to certain foods from childhood, the most powerful being the foods and beverages served to them when they were getting over colds and flu.

So now I'm doing some research on the subject and I have a few questions for you folks:

What did your mother (or caregiver) feed you while you were recovering from an illness?

Do you ascribe any special healing properties to those foods?

Do you crave them when you get sick now?

What do you serve your family and friends when they are getting over being sick?

Are any of these foods tied to a cultural tradition that you know of?

Personally, besides being drowned in some form of Campbells chicken soup (my 50s Jewish mother drew the line at making any kind of soup from scratch), I remember getting elbow macaroni and cottage cheese when I was just past the melba toast (what a vile invention!) stage of stomach flu. I haven't had that concoction in years, but it still sounds comforting to me.

__________________

Emily
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Poached egg on toast

Grilled cheese

Crumpets with honey

Hot, sweet tea

I still crave all of the above when I'm not feeling well, but able to eat something. :wub::wub:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Campbell's tomato soup

Saltines with butter

Jello

Custard

7-UP

I still love tomato soup, sick or not (though I don't eat Campbell's anymore), as well as custard, once in a while, but don't really care for the other things.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I had a lot of trouble with asthma & allergies as a kid, stuffy noses, coughing up icky stuff, etc.

My wonderful, sweet dad was able to stay home more often than mom, so he gave me what helped his stuffy noses best. . .hot salsa & chips. :cool: And Pepsi. He made up some stuff about the "pepsin" in Pepsi helping to settle your stomach. And popsicles. And he let me lay on the couch in the living room and watch TV with him. It was always better when dad stayed home, because mom gave me Sprite, toast, and peanut butter crackers. And mom figured my dark, quiet bedroom was better for recuperation.

Whenever I have a really stuffy nose or feel generally awful, I want really hot salsa & tortilla chips with Pepsi. And I call my parents.

(Dad's a native Texan, does that help explain things?)

Dad's family was. . .eccentric, to put it nicely. When he was young and babysat by his uncle, he was frequently given salsa, tortillas, baked beans, and (yes, really) beer. As long as I can remember, he's espoused that hot foods clear the sinuses. And I think they do.

When friends or family get sick, I tend to make soup that I know they'll like, but I always make it hotter than normal (that's only for colds).

Diana

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Ha chooooooo

I hab a colb ib my nose. All I want is chicken soup with stars or alphabets. And some gingerale and dry rye toast. And a Mad magazine to read. I'm going to go call my mommy.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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1) Some bizarre stew with arteries and other tubes shproinging up on the spoon.

2) No special healing properties. Quite good for fainting though and getting some rest.

3) Never.

4) Congee.

5) She was Welsh/Italian.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I was fed Saltines and 7-UP. To this day the smell of 7-UP makes me feel a little ill. Sometimes, if I just had a cold, I'd get Campbell's cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese, and this is still my healing food when I'm sick.

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It depended on the quality of the sickness.

After a dentist visit (I had a lot of those; my mouth probably receives interstellar communications) it was always cream of mushroom soup.

"Stomach flu" or food poisoning got flat gingerale, then later toast and soft-boiled eggs.

Colds were just regular food (sometimes canned chicken-noodle soup) but it was special because it was on the Tray and you ate it on the chesterfield, while reading.

I don't remember what I had during my frequent fevers. I was one of those kids who got regular fevers that soared into the stratosphere. Both measles and chicken pox went through my other three sibs with the customary symptoms; I just got a hallucinatory fever well over 105°F and no spots.

And we'd also get herbal tea. I remember chamomile, and coltsfoot, at least.

I don't think of any of the foods as being notably healing, though I still "do" medicinal tisanes of various sorts. And I don't particularly crave those foods now, either (though I remember when I had my wisdom teeth out, I did wander off and buy a can of cream of mushroom soup. It wasn't what I remembered.)

As for what I give people when they're getting over being sick -- well, whatever they ask for. :wink: The important part is to nurture the fragile being as he or she struggles back from microbial assault. And a few nasty little teas or tinctures don't hurt either, just to remind the sufferer that there are some drawbacks to all this trays-and-books-and-rented-movies-in-bed thing.

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i had a slew of very peculiar illnesses when i was young. my mother alternately had attacks of worry, and bouts of apathy about them.

1) soft boiled egg, ice chips, dry toast - wheat (or whatever we had) flat coke, occasionally campbell's chunky chicken soup.

2) no healing properties

3) no. though i do sometimes think about that soup. the noodles were about an inch long - like thin legos and flat and barely held together. i loved them.

4) tom yum for a cold (as spicy as possible) coke - bubbles allowed

5) mom is a coney island jew of baltic extraction

edit - tense. she's still here

Edited by reesek (log)

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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1) It was grandma, and she gave me tomato soup, saltines, and ginger ale. Chocolate pudding for dessert. She would also shove Vicks Vapo-Rub up my nose, but I don't think that qualifies as eating.

2) Dunno about healing properties, but the tomato soup felt good on my throat. I would say the tomatoes give you vitamins, but Campbells cooks them too much to have any nutritional value. The ginger ale also, probably helped with rehydrating/electrolyte balancing.

3) Yes! Particularly about tomato soup.

4) Chicken and tomato soups. Unless it is my cats, in which case it is whatever the vet tells me + tuna.

5) Grandma was Swedish, but I don't think tomato soup and ginger ale have anything to do with Sweden culturally. She did make some kick-ass pancakes, though.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Tea and toast with jam.

Tea and toast with jam.

Ginger ale, maybe 7-Up.

Tea and toast with jam.

To this day, I associate tea with sickness. My co-workers know that if they see me drinking tea, it means I don't feel well. Not that the tea helps, of course. (We're talking Lipton tea, of course, since nothing else existed in my house, or the rest of the world as far as my parents were concerned.)

Jewish, Jewish, Jewish! And no chicken soup. My mother made zoup mit luckschen every Friday. If I got sick on a Wednesday -- tea and toast with jam!

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Jook

Toast

Ginger ale (per the pediatrician)

Boiled beef soup (basically ground beef cooked in lots of water until it was brothy enough to drink)

And lots of horrible Chinese herbal concoctions.

I still like the first four (even the boiled beef soup!), but I haven't gotten any more fond of the last one.

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Jook

Toast

Ginger ale (per the pediatrician)

Boiled beef soup (basically ground beef cooked in lots of water until it was brothy enough to drink)

And lots of horrible Chinese herbal concoctions.

I still like the first four (even the boiled beef soup!), but I haven't gotten any more fond of the last one.

Exactly the same stuff my mom gave me....except for the boiled beef soup. She would do vegetable soup instead (no oil). I still love jook (congee) with thousand year eggs and pork. Funny thing about the chinese herb (black and bitter) was that regardless whether they fixed other problems, they always gave me nose bleeds.

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1) my mother and grandmother were big believers in soup. not campbell's chicken noodle, though. when we were sick, they would feed us what i call "macaroni stuff." it's essentially a clear pork (or beef) broth with pieces of pork (or beef), and macaroni. sometimes they'd add vegetables. that and congee were the definitive sick foods in our house. i'm working on teaching SO to make macaroni stuff so he can make it when i'm sick. :wink: depending on my symptoms and/or illnesses, they would also feed me medicinal teas. blech.

2) i can't think of any particular healing properties to these foods other than they were good, except for the medicinal teas.

3) definitely

4) i'm also a big believer in soup. :cool: though my soup is more like homemade chicken soup, etc.

5) not as far as i know of, though i think my family thinks of them as "easy to digest food". foods that take effort to eat aren't very appealing when you're sick, whereas soup with noodles is relatively easy.

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Really sick:

chicken broth

dry toast

Jello

7Up

On the road to recovery:

Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup

saltines or buttered toast

Coca Cola (truly a treat for us back then, given sparingly)

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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1) Mom made me soups: minestrone, pasta e fagiole, beef with barley, Campbells' vegetable beef with alphabets. Jello (any flavor I wanted: Usually black cherry); flat coke for stomach flu. Fruit juice of my choice.

2) The soups made me feel very comforted. The protein probably helped me get stronger.

3) I do crave my mother's soups when I get *really* sick...........they made me feel propped up.

4) I ask my friends what soups they'd like to eat.........french onion soup is an often-requested specialty.

5) Mom's an uber-WASP: I think the sickbed foods she gave me are a revolt against what she got as a child: Milktoast and saltines.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Always 7-up/sprite/gingerale. Chicken broth (canned).

To see if I could hold down anything, Saltine crackers. If yes, goto chicken broth with rice. I didn't get special treatment if I had a cold, only if things were coming up, or if I had a significant fever.

I also seem to recall tomato soup with oyster crackers.[

I did have a severe allergic reaction to cinnamon oil once, and I got to have ice cream since my tongue was all swollen. [

I make friends chicken soup to make them feel better. Its also very therapeutic to make it.

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1. My mom used to give me "sickie cookies" (essentially shortbread cookies with a bit of brown sugar tossed) if nothing was coming up, otherwise clear broth and flat ginger ale.

2. The broth probably helped a little with healing, if only to get circulation going a bit and get some fluids into me.

3. I don't really crave them now.

4. If my boys are sick, I tend to give them dry toast, plain rice, home made electrolyte solution (easier to stomach than pedialyte and easily made from things I always have on hand), then little bits of favorite foods if they are holding things down. For friends, I usually take a soup I make - clear chicken broth with some rice, thyme, minced vegetables and parsley.

5. No tie to any cultural tradition that I'm aware of. I think the cookies were a special treat to help make us feel better, and the soup was on advice by the pediatrician.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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1. Flat ginger ale; if that stayed down, buttered white toast or soup. Kraft Dinner if I asked for it.

2. Hell, no.

3. Only the toast, oddly enough. Which usually involves me needing to go get a loaf of plastic bread because this is the only time I ever want it, saying the hell with it, and barricading myself on the couch with blankets, the remote and whatever whisky's in the house.

4. Chicken and sausage gumbo. Jack Daniels, if they can handle it.

5. Probably not...maybe my own?

Todd McGillivray

"I still throw a few back, talk a little smack, when I'm feelin' bulletproof..."

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When I was really sick with fever, my mom would bring up juk (Korean congee, I guess) on a tray with a tiny dish of soy and a little dish of slivered scallions. I'd take a scallion thread on a spoon, dip the very tip in soy, and then a scoop of congee.

There is nothing as delicious as this, sick or not sick.

As I got better, things would start getting added to the bowl - bits of meat or fish; more vegetables, a cracked raw egg.

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