Good Food Blog
How to cure a hangoverPosted at 2:10PM, 06 March 2009 by Stuart Walton - Food and wine writer
There's always a moment when you first surface that catches you by surprise. For a split-second, you find yourself wondering what on earth has happened. You don't remember being this ill. You don't remember being ill at all. But then it hits you that you did drink rather a lot of that Pinot Grigio last night, and followed it with a couple of shots. And was there a beer or two in there somewhere too? Well, that was silly, wasn't it? Still, you're stuck with it now, for at least half the day and maybe more. There's no fool like an old fool, etc. etc.
If one of the symptoms of a raging hangover is the queasiness that comes from having poured too much alcohol into a stomach with too little food in it, then eating may now be the last thing you want to do. And yet, as soon as you can get your blood sugar levels back up, you will undoubtedly feel a lot better.
I asked some of the wastrels among my nearest and dearest how they cope, gastronomically speaking, with the catastrophe. Many insist that a good fry-up, if you can bear to rattle those pots and pans, is the best recourse. The fat will belatedly coat the stomach, it's all stodgy sustenance, and there is something comforting about sausages and bacon in such circumstances. (Perhaps hold the runny egg, though.) A fried breakfast looks like some kind of return to normality, but is at the same time enough of a weekend treat to make you feel you're looking after yourself again.
It all takes time though, and doesn't necessarily work. A former colleague of mine used to swear by a big bowl of porridge for the morning after, mixed to the stiffer end of the spectrum. There's no doubt oats are a good bet. They contain plenty of fibre, they will help to stabilise your blood sugar for the rest of the day, and they are an excellent source of selenium, which is good for promoting healthy liver function.
Anything with strawberries in it is a good idea, whether a cereal or just a health-boosting probiotic yogurt. They are said to enhance short-term memory, and to be an overall tonic for the brain (might just give you the intelligence to avoid this predicament in future).
I wasn't much taken with the recipe for Brown Cow as a hangover cure. It's a glass of Coca-Cola with an ice cream float (or just blended with whole milk, if you've no ice cream). The splodgy horror of that for me would be exacerbated by the fact that I'm the only person in western Europe who doesn't like any sort of cola.
No, there is really one dish to make the world look like a place worth living in again on these disastrous mornings. And that is a bowl of Heinz Mulligatawny Soup, accompanied by hot buttered crumpets for dunking. Its gently peppery spiciness, together with the fortification of carbs and dairy fat, taste as restorative as anything Florence Nightingale might have prescribed.
What's your preferred cure?
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