Food Friday: The Common Cold


There is nothing like a mid-week snow day to make a heart leap with childish glee. Oh, dear. I’ve gone and offended the winter weather gods, and now we will have blizzards all through March. My apologies.

But that’s OK. I can just rack up some more quality time spent in bed, with my box of tissues, my dry up pills, and my Kindle. It is thoroughly demoralizing to be felled by a cold. Are there special colds, or just the common denominator kind? I have lived through car accidents, broken bones and childbirth, and nothing makes me feel more puny, or vulnerable, than a cold.

There is none of the middle-of-the-night drama of a Madeline-appendicitis attack, or the heaving violence of intestinal flu, thank goodness. I just lie against the pillows, hoping that I look vaguely like Camille, and coughcoughcough. So attractive. And even more so now that my nose has gone a positively incandescent rose-madder-red from all the blowing. Who needs hair product? My hair stands up in spikes, all by itself.

Sadly, Luke the wonder dog speaks coughcoughcough. He scuttles over from his comfy cushion in the corner of the bedroom, to sitting worriedly by my side of the bed, staring sadly at me. I wonder what doggy expletive I am shouting out to him whenever I cough. He does not react well to swearing as it is.

I let out a stream of oaths the other day when I dropped a bottle of wine, and it smashed to smithereens on the kitchen floor. Luke was so worried about that blue streak of swear words that spewed unbidden from my otherwise lady-like lips, that he scuttled over as if he had been to blame. (I might yell at myself for stupidly dropping a bottle of cheap white wine, but I would’t yell at him. The poor dog has a misplaced sense of guilt and responsibility.) That is the sad, sincere, guilt-ridden face I see staring up at me whenever I finish a coughing jag.

Luke does not let his responsibility for my coughcoughcoughing interfere when his internal clock announces that it is time for a walk. He might just be mutt of a dog, but he has a great facility for telling time. He is secretly Swiss, because at 8:00 AM, 12:01 PM and 4:59 PM he makes a dramatic show of wagging and wriggling himself about with anticipatory pleasure, insinuating himself between me and the computer, or me and the drawing table. That is very charming behavior normally, but when I have to drag the sneezy snotty coughcoughcoughing self out from the warm embrace of my Pendleton blanket nest, and take someone out for a walk, I am aware of the injustice in the universe. I can hardly wait for the weekend to come, when I will either feel better, or Mr. Friday can walk Luke the wonder dog.

In the meantime, when I am not whingeing about poor, poor pitiful me, here are some things you can use to tempt your patients along the road to recovery (assuming that you will not succumb yourself); things that will improve their outlook and their poor raw noses.

Tissues – be sure to stock up on boxes and boxes of the kind suffused with lotion.
Fluids – ginger ale, orange juice, Gatorade, tea
Bendy straws
Beef broth – you too, can pretend to be on the Queen Mary, wrapped in a thick wooly cruise ship rug, reclining on a spindly teak deck chair, watching for icebergs while sipping the warm broth as supplied by the nameless (yet attentive) deck hand.
Chicken noodle soup – when Mr. Friday had the cold he went through a couple of gallons of this.
Kindle, Netflix enabled, or with any recent bio of Queen Victoria; the book will outlive the cold. It took me a week of steadily plowing through one biography, and King George VI had just died, and Victoria had just turned 18. If my cold worsens and I come down with pneumonia, maybe I’ll get to the wedding to poor, dear, doomed Albert.
Snacks – forbidden childhood favorites. Utz cheese balls. Yumsters.
Ice cream – for your sore throat
Drugs – you name an OTC cold remedy that we haven’t tried. Our go-to drug seems to be NyQuil, for its reliable powers to knock you out. Thank heavens. Otherwise Luke wouldn’t get a wink of sleep at night.

Here is a recipe from our clever friends at Food52. But I think you can cheat and use a can of Campbell’s. Shhh. You didn’t hear it from me!

“The only way to treat the common cold is with contempt.”
William Osler

About Jean Sanders

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