Whatever it is, it hit me on Wednesday like a tornado, knocked me flat, and I am only just now beginning to recover. I spent two full days ensconced on the sofa with my Kleenex, Tylenol, cough syrup, VapoRub, books, laptop and TV tuned to the Food Network, HGTV and a marathon of Top Design on Bravo. Of course, I missed the brief respite from February — two sunny days of 60+ temperatures! I will spare you the gory details, but instead muse on those foods we crave when we’re sick.
“Feed a cold, starve a fever,” is the aphorism, and the one thing I don’t have is a fever. But when I’m sick, I don’t have much of an appetite either. I crave bland, filling, basic, comfort foods, foods that aren’t too difficult to make in my bleary-eyed condition. Foods like:
- Toast with butter and honey
- Cinnamon toast
- Soft-boiled eggs and English muffins
- And of course, that old standby, chicken soup
Is it any coincidence that such foods hearken back to my childhood, when Mom would bring a tray to me in bed or on the couch with a hot mug of tea? Of course not.
The following tea is not quite like what Mom used to make — as far as I know, lemongrass wasn’t readily available back then, at least not around these parts. But this is a dynamite recipe for when you’re sick. It’s easy to make, it makes the house smell terrific, and you can get therapeutic value just by standing over the pot and breathing in the steam. I keep a pot on low for most of the day.
Combine in a saucepan:
- 5 cups water
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 3-4 tbsp. honey
Bring to a simmer. Let simmer gently over medium-low for 20 minutes. (Recipe from Healthy Latin Cooking.)