The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 12.13.02


Chicken soup for the flu & soul

Had the flu yet? Caught the bug? Sneezed on your sandwich? Had any annoying symptoms that don't allow you to taste or smell your food? All right, settle back and allow yourself the time to recuperate. Just make sure that you keep yourself hydrated. That means lots of liquids of both the cold and hot variety.

A tradition in many families has been to soothe a cold with a hot concoction of lemon and gin.

Although not suitable for children, adults can get a good night's rest by adding a jigger of gin to a cup of boiling water along with a teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice. For a remedy that will soothe your child's cough, omit the gin and double the amount of honey.

This year winter and the flu and cold season have arrived early, wreaking havoc on our tempers and good will. Emergency wards are overflowing due to patients who run to the doctor at the first sign of a running nose and a sore throat. This not only taxes the emergency ward but also puts you at risk of complicating your illness.

Perhaps your simple cold will transform itself into a full-blown flu after you crowd yourself into a germ-laden waiting room, full of sneezing, vomiting patients. You just might be better off to stick it out at home where simple rest along with some home remedies will hasten your recovery. In fact, I'm sure that if all those people who had the flu this week had stayed home and not mingled with other healthy workers and friends, the flu count would be half what it is. It is extremely high; in fact double the usual number of those infected at this time of the year. Blame it on handshakes, kisses and superbugs that resist antibiotics.

The answer, according to some, lies in the traditional remedy of chicken soup and I am a believer. Although a good dose of cough syrup compliments the healing process, I don't recommend spoiling the flavor of your soup by having the cough syrup first. Save that grape-flavored stuff for after the soup and all will be well.

A fast and easy way to pump up the healing benefits of chicken soup is to add lots of fresh garlic and ginger to the broth just prior to drinking it.

A few chilies will loosen up stuffed sinuses if you can stand the heat. Omit them if you can't. Although thick soup has all the good healing properties you need, I prefer this simple out-of-the-can cold remedy that allows a quick trip to the stove and a faster return to the bed.

Pumped-Up chicken broth
1 can chicken broth (or home made)
6 cloves garlic (peeled)
1 large piece of ginger (smashed)
Crushed chilies (optional)
Add peeled cloves of garlic to broth and smash piece of ginger before adding to broth. Add chilies if desired and bring to a boil. Let simmer for five minutes. Strain and sip.