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Foods To Eat When You Have a Cold

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Guest nimki
People who live in perpetually hot climates probably have a different approach though. And the comments about rice and yogurt are interesting to me too! I can't imagine eating any kind of dairy at all with a cold.

You're right about that. curd or yoghurt with plain boiled rice is to my knowledge a dish served when one has an upset stomach, or a fever or simply as a light meal. I do not know if it is a myth but I remember from childhood being taught that people who have colds, coughs, congestion should avoid yoghurt as it worsens the condition.

things that WERE served for colds, fever and sore throat were -

'Khichri' - a dish of rice cooked with lentils, salt, turmeric

A variation of khichri that included lots of vegetables like carrorts, peas, onions, potatoes, beans etc.

a light thin grease free lentil 'soup' or 'dal' along with a soft chapati (flat bread)

tea made with ginger, black pepper and tulsi - a kind of basil i think.

a concoction of honey and ginger juice heated together

steaming idlies and sambhar (i dont know if this is the normal but it always worked for me)

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OK, so I think it is safe to say that we have several distinct groups who prefer:

1) Chicken soup

2) Rice porridge

3) Spicy food

4) Fruit

5) Other (tomato, yogurt, etc.)

Isn't it interesting to know which group you belong to? :biggrin:

Any other comments?

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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Vernor's Ginger Ale.

Absolutely, along with mashed potatoes and lots of butter.

Chicken soup always welcome as well.



See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii


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I'm also one of the soup-eaters, now, and a stiff hot toddy will cure anything for a couple hours. However, when I was young my mother would bring me jello and seven-up as the comfort foods, that's still got the best memories.

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I'm in the spicy asian soup camp for blasting out the head - Hot n' Sour, Tom Yum, heavily spiced Pho are all good sinus clearers.

When I seek nothing but a sedative and cure-all I make a mug of Apple-Cinnamon flavored Ther-a-Flu and put a shot of Stroh's 160, 80 proof (sugar beet based) Austrian rum in it. It knocks me out cold, I sweat like a beast and wake up feeling virtually cured. And it doesn't even taste like medicine!

This works well with a stiff shot of Bourbon or brandy too. But the rum makes it taste like spiced cider and it really is hardly medicinal at all. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 10 months later...

My favorite treatment for a cold is the chile verde burrito served at The Bull Ring in Portland OR. preceded by and enjoyed with plenty of their red salsa and chips and many glasses water! The intense spiciness seems to knock out some of the unpleasantness, like congestion and body ache. I am no connoisseur of Mexican food having grown up in northern NY. In fact the first time I had mexican food it was at a sister restaurant of the Bull Ring; La Casa de Rios. The food brought tears to my eyes but I couldn't stop eating. I used to eat at either of those places at least once a week but 12 years ago I moved. I live in Brooklyn now. There are lots of Mexican restaurants around here and I enjoy many of them but I don't really derive any comfort from them. Whenever I visit Portland now I always go there at least once. More if I can talk my friends into it. I'm considering contacting the owners to inquire about having the components shipped to me so I could assemble it at my home. They have a website. I'm feeling a cold coming...

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Kozy Shack tapioca in the little cottage-cheese tub. Not from childhood (see below) but just discovered it in the last few years.

NOT any kind of red soup in a can. My Mom's first impulse after feeling my forehead was to reach for the can opener and heat up that Campbell's Vegetable Beef. Just can't associate that with pleasant times, after all those years of feeding it to a fever.

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Bread pudding with a hot lemonade chaser.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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Tortilla soup is the best thing for a cold.

As any Texan can tell you. :biggrin:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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For me, it's Tortilla Soup. I'm not a native Texan, but I've come to appreciate the curative powers of the serrano pepper since moving here. :biggrin:

My husband swears by egg drop soup, though hot and sour soup will do in a pinch.

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For me, a very robust pot of chili. For the head cold a few weeks ago, I made one with moose meat. Very nice, an extra dark earthiness from the game.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three


"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning


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Right now both of us are down for the count.

One of use has diagnosed pneumonia and I refuse to see the doc.

Wake up every so often, drink some OJ and a slug of Scotch to ease the sore throat, go to the web for a few minutes, and almost crawl back to bed.


But it will pass.

When it starts to, I will want soup.

My favorite is the Senate bean soup, which we can get in cans. It is a bit dear, but it is so good when you feel so bad.

Afraid I am hitting the wall, time to go back to bed.

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For a cold, this is what I take:

1. Triple Garlic Pate (roasted, braised, fresh) on baquette rounds.

2. Zinc pills (in the first day of the cold)

3. If accompanied by a sore throat, I follow the advice of an old bluesman who carried a bottle around in his pocket so he could still sing with a sore throat:

1-2 TBSP of Crystal Brand Louisianna Hot Sauce.

Works everytime.


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A libation.

Heated Coca-Cola, with ginger slices and lemon. The ginger soothes the sore throat. The steam vapors clears the sinuses. And the whole concoction tastes wonderful. A not-so-traditional chinese remedy. I dunno where my mom came up with this. I don't recall Coke being widely available in rural China when she was a kid.

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Sad but true: Campbell's tomato and a cheese sandwich (toasted or grilled).

Sometimes I'll get a taste for random breakfast foods, like French toast, or Cream of Wheat or oatmeal.

Honey/cinnamon stick/lemon juice/boiling water, stirred, and a good slug of whiskey on top does me more good than all the Nyquil in the world.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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It looks almost like we have a consensus that the best thing for a cold is some sort of chickeny-spicy soup.

one voice of dissent: non-chickeny spicy here!

sorry to offend the meatarians here but when i'm

sick the very idea of non-veg throws me even more into

nausea tailspin.....

my whole family (self,dh and 2 dks) have colds right

now so have brewed an industrial size batch of tomato rasam,

with garlic. the spices (i think cumin, black pepper, and red pepper

and several other things)

plus garlic, plus tamarind and tomato and cilantro:

no cold can stand a chance.

i LOVED the idea of coca cola + ginger + lemon.

it's so interesting how coca cola is getting worked into

home remedies all over the place....

in india now, for an upset stomach, people drink

coca cola with a pinch of rock salt.

smells very sulfurous but supposed to be great for

the gas works.....

what about a thread on suggestions for foodie

home remedies for other ailments?

and in general masala coke is evolving into a popular

truck stop drink (coca cola + pinch of chaat masala)


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Perfect timing! I felt a tickle in my throat last night at the movie and woke up in the middle of the night with a full-blown sore/inflamed throat.

Maybe I can convince my husband to throw together some chicken noodle for me. I have leftover homemade egg noodles in the freezer, chicken (cooked, also in the freezer from making stock a couple of weeks ago), and plenty of stock (reduced, also where? yup. In the freezer.

Barring that, pho sounds delightful, or hot & sour soup. I had cold-eeze, half a grapefruit, toast and orange juice (followed by tea) for breakfast, and tomato soup and toast and an orange for lunch. I think it's time for more tea and maybe another nap.

What annoys me more is that the weather's absolutely gorgeous today! Why couldn't it be raining? :angry:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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All-time favorite cold remedy: my mom's recipe for chicken soup, with *big* chunks of meat and vegetables (more like a stew than a soup). Unfortunately, when I'm in the worst throes of a cold I really don't feel like cooking, let alone making a trip to the supermarket for ingredients, so I usually wind up making it once I'm on the mend. Canned chicken soup is just not an acceptable substitute for me--just way too salty.

Another memorable cold remedy learned from my mom was a concoction she called a guggle-muggle. This is apparently a well-known old-country Jewish cold cure, although the version my mom made was a lot tastier than some of the formulas I've found on the web. My mom's version: a mugful of hot milk, to which is added some honey to taste, some cinnamon and maybe nutmeg, a little vanilla extract ... and a nice stiff shot o' booze. You were supposed to drink this down quickly, as soon as it was just cool enough to manage without burning yourself, and then jump into bed under a whole bunch of blankets so you'd sweat the cold out. I doubt this had any actual theraputic value, but hey, at least it was sorta fun. :biggrin: (The more common recipes I've seen for this often omit the booze, and often include a raw egg ... sort of an Ashkenazic eggnog?)

More recently, I've become enamored of making a recovery broth/tea of fresh mashed gingerroot and garlic steeped in hot water, or sometimes kombu broth, a trick picked up from a short-lived adventure in macrobiotics in my twenties.

Spicy foods, like hot-and-sour soup, are great for temporary relief of clogged sinuses, but I find that for me the effect wears off too soon--five minutes after I've finished the soup and I'm totally stopped up again.

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Unless you've got a cold or some other sinus-torture malady, this hardly qualifies as "comfort food". If you're feeling stopped up, I swear by ginger tea . It could hardly be simpler:

Take a knob of fresh ginger. Scrape the skin off, slice thinly, and pour boiling water over the ginger. Steep for a few minutes and drink. The heat of fresh ginger will penetrate the most stubborn cold. If your throat is feeling raw, the soothing effect is most welcome.

Here's a little anecdote from recent experience. A few weeks ago I spent five days in Puerto Rico on business. I had a cold prior to traveling, and much to my surprise the warm temperatures and high humidity of P. R. did wonders for my sinuses. I won't trouble you with tales of sinus drainage - this is a food site, after all :blink::smile: . Suffice to say, I felt great after a few days in that gentle clime.

Here's the ugly part: single-degree temperatures when I arrived home. I had turned the thermostat down when I left for my trip, so upon arriving home a cranked the heat up to ~68 and went to bed. Two hours later I awoke in a panic. The house is on fire!!! After several minutes of running around trying to find the "fire", I realized that it wasn't smoke that made my sinuses burn - it was the shock of the dry forced-air heat after I had become accustomed to the gentle air of Dorado P.R.

Once I calmed down (I seriously did feel like house was on fire when I awoke to the flaming sinuses :shock: ), I had the presence of mind to make some ginger tea before going back to bed. Ahhh, relief!

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