So the weather has finally turned downright chilly in New York City, and I've come down with a head cold. Not a nasty one, fortunately; I'm not flat on my back, whining as I watch daytime television and count my muscle aches. The symptoms - runny nose, slight headache, sore and scratchy throat, general congestion - are more irritating than debilitating. But what to do about it?
Other than the standard approaches of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medication, what's the food angle? Everyone seems to have their own approaches - my girlfriend firmly believes that you should stay away from dairy when you have a cold, on the theory that milk makes your nose run more - so what's yours?
Should you starve a fever and feed a cold? Or is it the other way around? WebMD, bless their hearts, says that "starving is never the correct answer" and recommends eating foods rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and phytochemicals.
Soups and other hot liquids also soothe scratchy throats. I find, however, that a hot toddy is more pleasurable. It helps you sleep, the sore throat goes away, and the lemon even gives you some Vitamin C.
Basic Hot Toddy
Warm a mug or Irish coffee glass with boiling water, then toss the water out and place 3-4 whole cloves, a cinnamon stick, and a teaspoon of honey inside.
Add 4 to 5 ounces boiling water (strong tea is a nice variation), stir until the honey dissolves, and add 2 ounces bourbon, Scotch, rye, dark rum, or brandy. (I'm partial to bourbon toddies, though strongly-flavored honeys work well with Scotch.)
Stir briefly, then squeeze a lemon wedge into the drink and drop it in. Top with grated nutmeg or allspice if you really want to get fancy.
CNN Health has some more traditional (though we suspect less delightful) cures for the common cold
Got a no-fail food-related cold remedy? Share with the rest of the class in the comments below.