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What Did Your Mom Cook You When You Were Sick?

Especially that which you still crave when you are sick or give to you own sick children?

My Ukranian mother would make soup with herring dumplings that she swore would cure anything. I used to grump that I just wanted Campbell's Chicken Noodle like all the other kids I knew, but I still crave those dumplings when I get a cold.

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  1. Whenever I have a cold I crave a tuna melt made with cheddar cheese. I don't think it has any restorative properties, but it hits the spot nonetheless.

    1. My mother was Irish. it was her food that made us sick....

      6 Replies
        1. re: Walters

          God, that's right.

          My mom made Campbell's tomato soup (with water, not milk), and grilled cheese sandwiches made with margarine, Kraft singles and Wonder bread, plus flat ginger ale. I still crave this when sick, though I use real bread, Cabot singles, and so on. My mom also made eggnog, though it was horrifying - raw egg and sugar mixed in milk with a little nutmeg on the top.

          I have a very weird food memory of recovering from mono. I had had an incredibly bad case, nearly required hospitalization. I just couldn't keep down any food for five straight days. At the end of that, I managed a little broth. My mom didn't have any actual broth, so she just strained Campbell's chicken soup and Campbells vegetable soup and served me the liquid. Being frugal, she saved the little cubed vegetables and meat and the mushy noodles. The first solid food she served me was some of that mush. The weird thing was that I was so craving nutrition (and, no doubt, SALT), that it tasted amazing. Really, disgusting as it was, it was probably at the time I ate it one of the best-tasting things I had ever had.

          1. re: curiousbaker

            Eggnog is GOOD! But it needs a drop of vanilla in it.

            1. re: Sharuf

              I like eggnog, but it needs a little cream, more sugar than my mother allowed, and vanilla and rum. My mom's version was pretty much egg-milk, with a hint of sugar. I get shivers.

            2. re: curiousbaker

              my mom served campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup.
              our mom's must have gone to the same cooking school.

            3. re: Walters

              Wow, that was the best response yet. Thank you for the laugh.

            4. My favorite sick food growing up was soft-boiled eggs w/toast strips to dunk into the yolks. You couldn't eat that until you were on the mend as it's a bit rich.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JaneRI

                My mom made the exact same. Was craving it this morning after a rough night. I think with all these foods it was your parent comforting you while you were sick that made the food so special.

              2. Campbell's soup (usually the ones with the stars in it), but these days I swear by coca-cola - a can of flat, semi-warm coke almost always does the trick.

                3 Replies
                1. re: erikka

                  Same here, but Campbell's Chicken and Noodle, with lots of cold rice in it to make it thick and gruely.

                  Mom swore by the coca cola syrup from the pharmacist, diluted in a little water with some ice chips for munching, but that was only when we couldn't keep any food down.

                  For my wife, it was crackers and flat ginger ale.

                  1. re: erikka

                    YES, chicken & stars. And gingerale. If I had an upper respiratory infection or soemthing like that, she would make me hot lemonade with a shot of booze in it. I still crave that when I'm sick, but I wonder if it has anything to do with my liking for alcohol!!

                    1. re: prunefeet

                      My grandma would mix apple juice and ginger ale--that worked as well. I think I survived on nothing but that and oatmeal for the month I had chicken pox.

                      I wonder if brandy really does work and how?

                      These days, if I have a sinus or upper respitory infection, I order really spicy thai or indian food and sweat it out.

                  2. Campbells Scotch Broth soup,jello,gingerale, and scrambled eggs. Not all at the same time!

                    1. Miso soup. If it wasn't the cure it was the comfort!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mrsmegawatt

                        Yes! I have not been raised eating miso soup but for the past 5 years of living on my own any time i'm under the weather (cold, flu, or stomach virus) miso soup is my saviour! The salty warmth is exactly what i crave even with a tender stomach (a little bit of sriracha helps if i'm congested). Adding a bit of oatmeal or instant mashed potatoes makes it more of a meal.

                        1. re: olia

                          i have been raised on miso and oh my its such a go-to when i'm sick nothing better! i remeber i hadn't eaten all day and my dad got home and made fresh miso soup, one of the best tasting things ever becasue i was so hungry.

                      2. Hot toddys. Jameson with tea and honey.

                        I guess these days, that very effective cold medicine (basically just good-tasting Sudafed) would be considered child abuse. :)

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                          My mother gave us Blackberry Brandy, I didn't feel abused at all.

                          Actually I remember the next door neighbor's very young daughter crying for her codeine cough syrup even when she wasn't sick, they had to cut her off. You can guess how old I am that I remember it being over the counter.

                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                            My mom took a candy-store jar of rock candy, added lots of sliced lemons and oranges, then filled the jar with Bourbon. She'd stick the jar under her bed for a few months, until the sugar dissolved and the whole mess became syrupy. If we had a cough or cold, she'd dole this out by the tablespoon-ful. It was certainly a popular remedy in our house!

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              I think it's time for a comeback for that recipe!

                              1. re: pikawicca

                                I think I would have been sick at least once a month!

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  My father always made that for us and it lived in the cabinet over the dishwasher. I don't think he used oranges, though. Only lemons.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    though not a remedy; my pop would do the rock candy, whisky and fruit in a container for weeks and call it "rock and rye" my mom would make me "milk toast" cinnamon and sugar on buttered toast flooded with warm milk...mmmmm; the stuff on the toast would float on topof the milk

                                2. My Mom never made it, but would always get it for me, and to this day it is my go to soup when I have a cold...Hot & Sour Soup

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Infomaniac

                                    AMEN to hot and sour soup! This is what my kids always ask for and get when they're sick...heavy on the sour part.

                                    I never got it when I was a kid, though. My mom made us her version of potato soup, which, to this day, is one of the grossest things I can think of...

                                  2. gingerale, and toast with peanut butter and honey
                                    sometimes a hot lemon and honey drink

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cord

                                      me too - flat gingerale, tea with honey and lemon

                                      also, mashed potatoes, chicken soup

                                    2. Congee, garnished and mixed with the Chinese dry, shredded pork and pickled soy-sauce cucumbers.

                                      1. Pastina cooked in chicken broth with grated pecorino on top or tortellini & escarole soup.

                                        When I was teething mom swabbed my gums with whiskey. That really explains a lot.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: gini

                                          Oh my gosh, we got Ronzoni pastina with a bunch of butter and a lot of salt, it was so good, and nobody else on the block got that when they were sick.

                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                            we had pastina cooked in chicken broth with an egg whisked in to turn it into straciatella...and hot lemonade with honey and rum..am I the only person that never was subjected to Campell Soup???

                                            1. re: grammywheels

                                              Campbell's soup wasn't considered food in my house, either. On the rare occasion that canned soup was on tap (illnesses) it was Progresso lentil for me.

                                              1. re: grammywheels

                                                Never any canned soups in our house growing up. I don't think my mother considered them food - amazing, given that it was the 1970s and everyone seemed to be eating the stuff other than us.

                                          2. Buttered, toasted raisin bread. When I'm coming down with a cold, the first thing I do is go to the supermarket and buy raisin bread. I always eat it when I'm sick, but only when I'm sick.

                                            Once I started feeling better, Mom made creamed salmon and peas on toast. Still one of my favorite comfort foods.

                                            And now, if I'm not too gross to face the delivery person, hot and sour soup. Nothing beats it.

                                            1. Yep, coke syrup. I remember my dad going to get it for me. Can you even still get it?

                                              Plain, buttered toast and a cup of hot tea with milk & sugar. Tomato soup and grilled cheese because it's delish! Gingerale for upset tummies. Now I try to seek out ginger drinks that actually have real ginger in them.

                                              Now, I also crave spicy foods when I'm stuffy or for a sore through. Hot & sour soup and really hot curries. Probably because my taste buds are so desensitized and I need something strong just to taste it.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: geg5150

                                                Coca Cola Syrup:

                                                http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/sh...

                                                They used to carry Campbells' Scotch Broth, but it looks like they're out.

                                              2. White toast, buttered and sprinkled with sugar and cinammon

                                                1. Chicken soup with matzo balls and hot liquid black cherry jello.

                                                  1. Of course, chicken soup with loads of rice and as we were recovering shredded chicken from cooking the soup. When there was hardly any soup left my mother made tomato soup with it and added rice. It is still a big favourite in our family.

                                                    I demanded what we called rice and milk--a kind of rice pudding. We would heat rice with milk and add butter and salt and pepper for a savory meal or cinnamon and sugar for a sweet. I tried it a while ago and FEH, I'd have to be practically on my death bed to eat it.

                                                    1. Jell-o. The sick one got dibs on a batch of jell-o with banana or mandarin orange if desired, plus 7-up or ginger ale. If a sore throat was going around, tea with lemon, honey, and rum.

                                                      1. Most of the time we were not allowed to be sick. My mom had/has a get over it kid attitude, there is not time for that. I think which is why I probably bounce back pretty quickly from surgeries and other things. But milky tea, ginger ale, and occasionally as a stomach settler a tsp. of creme de menthe

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                          Ah, creme de menthe. It was almost worth having a tummy ache. My mom diluted it with very hot water.

                                                        2. Jello, 7-UP and she would take adult aspirin and crush it in a teaspoon full of maple syrup so we could get it down. 40 years later, I can still remember that bitter and sweet taste.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Velma

                                                            You just triggered a memory, my mom would crush aspirin in a spoon with grape jelly, and I too can remember the odd combination of tastes...

                                                            1. re: Velma

                                                              my mom did the same thing with applesauce

                                                            2. Depends what I was sick with. But to this day, chocolate popsicles are my fever food - and my happy food, forever associated with staying home from school and watching movies on TV.

                                                              Popcorn is the same, actually.

                                                              For stomach bugs, it's oatmeal or cereal mixed with arrowroot cookies and bananas.

                                                              Once I started to feel better, I got soft-boiled or scrambled eggs with toast.

                                                              1. dakjook (chicken porridge, I suppose)
                                                                yooja-cha ("citron," AKA yuzu, tea), ginger tea, and other teas

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: PseudoNerd

                                                                  My mom made dakjook for me too.

                                                                  1. re: PseudoNerd

                                                                    How could I have forgotten? I always got ggoolmool (hot water with honey)

                                                                  2. Chicken and Stars
                                                                    Grilled Cheese

                                                                    Pastene with butter

                                                                    Homemade banana bread
                                                                    Cinnamon toast

                                                                    1. The drink from the eastern euro family was always chamomile or regular tea w/ honey & lemon. It made it for my son whenever he woke up w/ a sore throat or feeling horrid, and it was always "the cure"- mental or actual.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: torty

                                                                        How about hot tea with a spoonful of raspberry jam dissolved in it? I got that from a Russian I lived with for years...

                                                                      2. This thread is major memory lane. Here's my list:

                                                                        -Campbell's Chicken Noodle, until they came out with Chicken and Stars (much less messy)
                                                                        -Red jello
                                                                        -Toast with grape jelly
                                                                        -Soft boiled eggs with toast
                                                                        -Egg salad with the eggs she tried to soft boil and overcooked
                                                                        -Scrambled eggs with toast when she screwed up the soft boiled
                                                                        -Flat ginger ale
                                                                        -Coke Syrup
                                                                        -Cheese Balloons (that's one slice of american cheese on a slice of white bread placed in a toaster oven until the cheese "ballooned")
                                                                        -Coricidin
                                                                        -Bayer aspirin

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          Cheese balloons!!! Growing up these were "grilled cheese" to me but once I was out in the world I soon came to realize this was not a grilled cheese sandwich! I never knew what to call these and have never met anyone that made them. Cheese balloons...works for me!! Thanks!

                                                                        2. For normal sickness, Lipton chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                          For extreme illness, buttered rye toast and canned fruit cocktail.

                                                                          1. Congee for this Chinese kid too, usually chicken but sometimes fish. And for some reason my father believed chocolate was good for sick children so we always got a square or two.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: cheryl_h

                                                                              Our fathers must be related!! We always got congee too when we were sick (but with the preserved duck eggs and little dried shrimps) and Dad would give us some chocolate to make us feel better. Mom made us the black sesame soup (which I liked warm when I was sick but cold when I'm not).

                                                                              Now I resort to extra strength neo-citran with a shot of jamaican rum and crackers.

                                                                              I think I prefer my childhood remedy ;-)

                                                                              1. re: fickle

                                                                                You're the ONLY person I've come across who got chocolate. I have no idea why my dad thought it was a good sickness food, but he absolutely swore by it. I like sesame soup too, but never got it when we were sick. I still think of congee as a sickroom food, not to be eaten when you're well.

                                                                                DH swears by mocha chip ice cream as the cure-all for everything but I don't think his mother agrees.

                                                                            2. hot lemonade - still like it on snowy winter night, of course now I add some brandy or rum!

                                                                              Chicken noodle or chicken and stars with toast or saltines.

                                                                              I used to have to gargle a lot with salt water until I got my tonsils out - I swear that is why am am such a salt nut to this day!

                                                                              1. Raisin bran. That was the only time I could stomach it.

                                                                                1. Its funny to see the ethnic variety on the board. My greek mother would make avgolemono soup (egg/lemon soup with rice)

                                                                                  1. My all time "sick food/comfort food" has always been Cream of Wheat. Made with milk, butter and sugar, and a consistancy that was almost drinkable from a mug. Still crave it when I am sick.

                                                                                    The other thing I crave when I am sick with a cold, and don't want to drink milk is very hot Almond Vanilla tea mixed with hot orange juice. It sounds awful but you got to try it. Very comforting on a sore throat.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: rls110

                                                                                      Orange juice, ginger ale, and yes, Cream of Wheat, but cooked thick and sweetened with brown sugar.

                                                                                      I hated Cream of Wheat! (I hated all hot cereal. Still do.)

                                                                                      1. re: lvecch

                                                                                        I hate all hot cereals too. I remember liking Cream of Wheat when I was younger with butter and brown sugar, but can't stand the stuff now. Every so often I try oatmeal thinking I will like it and no can do.

                                                                                        1. re: jenniebnyc

                                                                                          I won't even mention what my mom did one morning when, for the millionth time, I noisily refused to eat my oatmeal. (Let's just say I had to wash my hair.) After that, it was just Cream of Wheat, because I would eat at least some of it.

                                                                                    2. Grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken and rice porridge.

                                                                                      Yum.

                                                                                      1. Sickies in my house growing up got soft boiled eggs and toast, tea with milk and sugar, flat ginger ale, and farina. If grandma was around, we got hot toddies. She kept a bottle of whiskey in the house just for them. She was otherwise a tee-totaler.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. Vegetable soup made with tomato juice, green peppers, onions, chicken stock, potatoes, carrots, celery leaves, squash, and whatever other vegetables were around. Served with buttered saltine crackers. And eggnog made with lowfat milk, egg, vanilla and sugar with nutmeg on top. Oh! And baked custard! She would pull a tray of custard cups out of the oven in a water bath. We couldn't eat them until they'd cooled slightly. Always a problem because they really were better cold but who could wait?

                                                                                          1. For stomachache my mother brewed some Herbal Borage Tea which was a miracle. For regular cold she used to make a very simple chicken soup with onion, without any spice or tomato.

                                                                                            1. Mmmmmmm....buttered saltines....and the Lipton chicken soup - out of the packet - the one with the little noodles...and always flat ginger ale. I bet that soup would give me a migraine now with all the MSG! My Mom even gave me flat ginger ale and saltines when a bee stung my toe when I was 5!

                                                                                              1. Saltines, chicken soup, and water with anisette in it.

                                                                                                For stomach upset, always a piece of fresh ginger to chew.

                                                                                                When I was older, I adopted my father's cure -- a shot of bourbon .

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                  Ha! Yes! If I was sick AND unable to sleep then I got a shot of Metaxa!!! (My Father was Greek)

                                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                    It's amazing how a good belt of spirits can help an upset stomach! I know it's counter-intuitive, but when I'm feeling queasy, a good stiff martini works winders!

                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                      Blackberry brandy for me! I should keep it in the medicine cabinet instead of the liquor cabinet.

                                                                                                  2. In my russian family there is still a firm belief that drinking milk mixed with mineral water (bubbly and very minerally tasting -- borzhomi for example) cures throat illnesses...Sucking on sugar cubes soaked with brandy or cognac also helps

                                                                                                    1. Was I the only one who was fed tapioca pudding???? Other foods:

                                                                                                      Campbell's chicken and noodle(still crave but pho has replaced this)
                                                                                                      Graham crackers and tea
                                                                                                      Jello
                                                                                                      Buttered toast
                                                                                                      Cube steak
                                                                                                      Gingerale or Coke
                                                                                                      Bologne on white bread

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: rHairing

                                                                                                        Nope, you are not alone, I got tapioca too when sick, as well as what I grew up knowing as "griesbrei" (mum's from berlin) which I think is the same as cream of wheat here in North America. My mother always served it in a flat, wide soup plate and made a smiley face out of dots of (homemade) jam on the surface of the griesbrei.

                                                                                                        On sick days when I was kind of on the mend and craving salt, she would make up Lipton's chicken noodle soup (picky eater that I was as a child, I didn't appreciate her homemade chicken soup at all and preferred the lurid green Lipton's variety -- terrible!) and we would each have a bowl in front of the t.v. while watching Julia Child on PBS.

                                                                                                        1. re: WineWidow

                                                                                                          When I had my tonsils out and had trouble swallowing whole food, my Dad made a "punch" with fresh squeezed OJ, sugar, milk and (yuck) raw egg yolks! He beat it with a mixer till it was slightly thick and had a beautiful foam on top. Sounds disgusting but tasted like a creamsicle!!!

                                                                                                          1. re: pixlpi

                                                                                                            This reminds me of the old Orange Julius. Do they make and market those anymore?

                                                                                                            1. re: sandrina

                                                                                                              There's an Orange Julius in the local mall. And yes, the Orange Julius drink is just like the old days.

                                                                                                              1. re: sandrina

                                                                                                                That's what I was going to say. I think that was a whole egg, but otherwise...I remember the original place on 8th St...

                                                                                                        2. Shrimp flavored Ramen and country time lemonade.
                                                                                                          I was so used to eating it when sick, that when i tried to eat it when well, i began to imagine my throat starting to hurt. I just couldn't imagine the food without the symptoms! haha.

                                                                                                          1. I remember my mother taking those large shredded wheat things (not the little squares, but maybe 4 or 6 inches long and 3 or so inches wide, as I recall), buttering them, putting them in a dark blue bowl, and pouring scalded milk over them, then sprinkling with salt. Strangely healing. And when I finally could swallow after strep throat, mom's cream of potato soup, even with all the pepper she liked to use, with french bread to dunk in it. (I'd got so hungry that I stooped to chewing cheddar cheese and spitting in out instead of trying to swallow.) Good times (?).

                                                                                                            1. when i was sick, the soup my mom made was "mrs. grass's."

                                                                                                              upset stomach/flu - flat vernors. once i was able to keep food down, unbuttered toast or dry cherrios.

                                                                                                              sore throat - vernors ice cream.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: xman887

                                                                                                                ice cream for all sore throats...

                                                                                                                hot milk with a dash of black pepper for cough/chest cold

                                                                                                                A big spoon of honey topped with ground or whole black seeds (nigella sativa) was a daily remedy thing but taken more often when sick ..

                                                                                                                Chicken soup was the norm in the family, but most of us never felt like eating when sick so it was more of a forcing something down.

                                                                                                              2. This all brings back so many memories! I remember my Mom making me pastina with butter and salt mmmm! My Dad made chicken soup. As an adult in the hospital after surgery I remember crying because my Dad wasn't there to bring me his chicken soup! It was absolutely restorative!!!

                                                                                                                1. My Italian mom made us pastina too, cooked so all the water was absorbed, no need to drain it. then mixed with butter, milk and pepper. the BEST!

                                                                                                                  also buttered saltines and bizarrely enough, dunkin donuts! My pediatricians office was right near Fortunoff's (for the Long Islanders!) and my mom would hate being so close to Fortunoffs and not able to go in, so she'd bribe us with a trip to Dunkin (a rarity on LI back then!) so we'd put up with being dragged thru Fortunoff's kitchen dept.

                                                                                                                  1. I don't know, but I could sure use some right now. *sniff, sniff* *cough, cough*

                                                                                                                    1. My grandmother used to put raw onions out on the kitchen table. It's a theory that the onions will kill germs in the air. :)

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: chica

                                                                                                                        My husband's mom would put onions tied to his feet in plastic bags to draw out his fever, once they were soft she thought the fever over!!!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: chica

                                                                                                                          Wow, I recently found a raw cut up onion in the lobby of my building...we were wondering why our neighbor put it there...surely this is not why??

                                                                                                                        2. Chicken soup with kreplach or matzo balls, it's Jewish penicillin you know.

                                                                                                                          The best thing for a cold is still the guggle muggle: juice of grapefruit, orange, lemon, heated with honey, then drunk hot with a shot of brandy or whiskey.

                                                                                                                          I also remember drinking lots of 7UP, it was the only time we got "pop" outside of a restaurant or a party.

                                                                                                                          1. goodmans egg noodles with pot cheese [big curds like farmer cheese, only soupier]

                                                                                                                            sometimes, i was able to talk her into allowing me to eat king vitamin cold breakfast cereal as a substitute for dinner

                                                                                                                            1. Sizzling rice soup. Probably psychological, but I absolutely have to have it if I don't feel well.

                                                                                                                              1. 7-Up
                                                                                                                                poached eggs on toast
                                                                                                                                tapioca pudding

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: xica14

                                                                                                                                  My mom would doctor-up your basic Lipton Noodle Soup envelope by following the regular cooking instructions. Then she would add a cut up potato, some milk, a slice of American Cheese or any cheese we had on hand. She would also beat in an egg which would give the soup an egg drop soup kind of texture. This preparation beats the regular way of making this soup and it's not as salty. This is delicious, and I still make it when I crave it, especially on cold winter days.

                                                                                                                                2. white toast with butter & jam - when I would complain that it was too rough on my sore throat my mother would assure me it would get rid of the "bad stuff" in my throat.

                                                                                                                                  when she was feeling kind I would get jello & flat ginger ale.

                                                                                                                                  1. my mother is Korean so I got rice juk (rice porridge) which is very similar to congee. If I was feeling better, I could eat it with baby anchovies in sugar/soy sauce.

                                                                                                                                    the best juk was made with boiling toasted rice.

                                                                                                                                    ox tail soup is also good when you are sick, but that is more of a hangover remedy.

                                                                                                                                    1. Usually fish congee and sometimes mint leaves soup with duck egg.

                                                                                                                                      1. Soft boiled eggs, with buttered Pepperidge Farm toast broken up and mixed into it. If I was feeling up to it, Mommy would crumble bacon into it, as well. Now, I always want hot and sour soup when I'm sick.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: EllenMM

                                                                                                                                          I like hot and sour soup when sick too. There is a specific place I send my husband to get it. I also love miso soup when sick. I just make a quick one with mushroom broth and white miso. Cheese grits are really good too, depending what is wrong.

                                                                                                                                        2. Hot milk on buttered toast, very crisp. The butter flavored the milk. It really made me feel better. I wonder if it's an ethnic thing. I'm Czech.

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: conniemcd

                                                                                                                                            I do not think it is ethnic. My mother: Standard American of German background would make hot milk toast when we were sick. buttered toast floating in hot milk. Pretty horrid stuff. But then she also called creamed chipped beef "pheasant under glass." That I liked and still do. It was her little way of making a joke about a dollar stretching meal.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: oldone

                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure if it's ethnic either. D's father swears milk toast is a depression era solution. I would think that butter was rationed, but that's what he says.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: oldone

                                                                                                                                                Oh, hot milk toast ... I think it's divine! I do have a hard time convincing others to try it. We had it with butter, salt and pepper. Grandma used egg bread with sesame seeds and whole milk. Mmm must make some soon.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: oldone

                                                                                                                                                  It's not an Ethnic thing.... Mom could always be counted on to make us "Milk Toast", when our tummy's were upset... I couldn't ever eat it now, but I felt so cared for and taken care of back then.... : ) : ) : ) If our throats were bad, we got popcicles... And "PUDDING POPS"... Those were awesome, but I think they've been discontinued... : ( : ( : (

                                                                                                                                                2. re: conniemcd

                                                                                                                                                  We had it with a little sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg on the buttered toast. Seemed to give it some flair.

                                                                                                                                                3. Dry toast, saltines, ginger ale, and chicken soup!

                                                                                                                                                  My favorite comfort food, though: macaroni and cheese and tuna fish patties (which are basically crab cakes with tuna, sans remoulade).

                                                                                                                                                  1. Buttered rye toast and flat ginger ale when Mom was wearing the lab coat but now i just place a slice of fresh ginger in hot water and sip it slow. cold gone in a day.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Beef Broth with Ramen noodles,

                                                                                                                                                      or chicken broth with these thin white rice noodles

                                                                                                                                                      1. Goo goo.

                                                                                                                                                        My mother was Irish too, but she could cook.

                                                                                                                                                        Goo goo was lightly toasted white bread pulled into pieces with a soft boiled egg on top. Good comfort food and would settle your stomach. Simple stuff but I give it to my son too.

                                                                                                                                                        1. For an upset stomach, first she would give me cracked ice with white Karo syrup drizzled over it. When I could keep that down, we would move on to 7-Up. (If I were to see an old 7-Up bottle from the 50s or 60s in a junk store, I know that is what it would make me think of.) By the time she brought me plain white toast without butter, that toast tasted really good.

                                                                                                                                                          I remember thinking that having my tonsils out wasn't so bad, because I got to eat plenty of ice cream for days!

                                                                                                                                                          1. I can still smell my mom's Nilagang Manok, the Filipino version of chicken soup. I would sip the broth only because my throat was sore (I got tonsillitis regularly). When the fever and throbbing and subsided I would nibble on chicken, although I preferred the veggies because they were softer to swallow.

                                                                                                                                                            She also made me Lugao, a rice porridge similar to Jook, but she would make it sweet with sugar and chocolate (Nestle's Qwik back in the day). She would tuck me in on the couch or the hammock in the living room where she could watch me from the kitchen. I would look out the picture window at the hillside until I fell asleep again to the sounds and smells of my mom's cooking.

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AntarcticWidow

                                                                                                                                                              When I was about six, my parents left me with my grandmother for a few hours, while they went somewhere. I had a bad cold, but my grandmother (an Eastern European immigrant) said she had somethiong that would make me feel better.

                                                                                                                                                              As soon as they left, she gave me a big shot of Scotch. When my parents returned a few hours later, I may have still had the cold, but I didn't know and didn't care.

                                                                                                                                                              Child abuse?? Probably.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                That was my husband's cold remedy for the kids when they were small! But he would add a shot of scotch to a cup of hot Lipton tea with honey and lemon. Tasted better than cough syrup. The kids would drink their tea, drift off to sleep and get some rest.

                                                                                                                                                                And so could we.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                  LOL My mother and her cousins made a hot drink like this (tea with honey and lemon with a shot of booze) they called a "GuggleMuggle". I don't think the Scotch was used for any other purpose in our homes.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                    i remember my mom did the same, with tea and lemon. i think it was when i had food poisoning because i remember vomiting right after. i still can't stand the taste of scotch.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Ginger Ale - it was the only time we were allowed soda. What a treat it was to be sick. Now I never drink it unless I am sick

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jfields

                                                                                                                                                                    I agree! I used to feel so special when I as sick because mom would buy me my own 2-liter of ginger ale. We didn't grow up drinking soda so it was a treat.

                                                                                                                                                                    Ginger ale has another nostalgic association for me- we'd order it from the drink cart whenever we took airplane trips. I still do that today too!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemonseleven

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm surprised I still like ginger ale, because when I had my tonsils out in the 1950s, you couldn't go home until you vomited up the ether they used to knock you out back then . I'm pretty good at holding it in, so they tricked me with ginger ale that obviously had something added.

                                                                                                                                                                      At least I got to go home first thing in the morning!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. For stomach flu, my Mother would make us baked potatoes and dry toast with honey
                                                                                                                                                                    For colds, she actually made us homemade milk shakes ( she had a milk shake maker!) and Campbells Tomato Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches or crackers...
                                                                                                                                                                    Today, when I have a cold, the only thing that I can tolerate is spicy foods..like hot and sour soup or tortilla soup...For stomach flu....just a bit of 7-up and club crackers...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. My Mommy would make me Cream of Wheat served in my favorite bowl that had a cute picture on the bottom of it which made me make sure I ate all of it so I could see the cute picture.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. she would slice up fresh ginger and boil it on some salty water (or chicken stock). occasionally, she would add just a small handful of chopped mustard greens, and serve it in a mug.

                                                                                                                                                                        mmm, made me all warm and fuzzy inside... still does! ginger is the wonderfood.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Homemade chicken matzo ball soup would always be the cure! Mmmm...when I don't feel well at work (like today) I go pick up a bowl from a local deli, not the same, but the soup still feels soothing...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. My dad was a pharmacist, so there were always ominous brown bottles in the bathroom cabinet. Straight Coca-Cola syrup when we had an upset stomach and Mom would make us pastina post-stomach sickness. When we had awful sore throats/coughs, we would have tea with rum or brandy in it. My brother got Scotch on his gums when he was teething...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. ah, memories. from childhood:
                                                                                                                                                                              -cottage cheese and canned peaches
                                                                                                                                                                              -buttered egg noodles
                                                                                                                                                                              -ginger ale

                                                                                                                                                                              from grad school:
                                                                                                                                                                              -matzoh ball chicken soup (always a classic)

                                                                                                                                                                              these days:
                                                                                                                                                                              -MrLit's extra spicy rasam & yogurt rice
                                                                                                                                                                              -Chicken Pho with lots of siracha and lime

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: litchick

                                                                                                                                                                                I forgot how much mine likes macaroni with butter and parm.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. >> soup with herring dumplings

                                                                                                                                                                                Thats ounds great and a recipe would be terrific.

                                                                                                                                                                                In Virginia, for me it was always potato soup with lots opf butter and pepper and fried corn cakes (cornbread).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup that started at 6 am to get the chicken going

                                                                                                                                                                                  Apple Cinammon cider (from the powder packet)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Pastina w/ butter and parmesan

                                                                                                                                                                                  Tomato soup w/ a little nonfat milk mixed in

                                                                                                                                                                                  Push-Ups

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My mom wasn't much of a cook, and the only thing I remember is an evil concoction of frozen beef liver mashed up into tomato juice. Not kiddin'. After she got onto an Adele Davis kick we kids didn't get sick much, just chuggged our vitamins daily.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Now my wife makes ojia, or however that's spelled. Japanese sort of salty custard with chunks of stuff in it, served in a mug. Really restorative if you have a mild bout of flu.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Pastina, soft boiled eggs with toast & "eggie & sour cream" (hard boiled egg with sour cream) For diahrrea--blackberry brandy

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maizie

                                                                                                                                                                                        Saltines, chicken noodle soup or Scotch broth (Campbell's, before any of us knew better--but heck, it had salt and when you're sick you probably need some), jello, and homemade hot lemonade. And if I was better, hot Japanese rice, with a raw egg and little soy sauce mixed in. I still eat that for a snack, even when I'm well! And slightly flat 7-Up!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. It's kind of comforting to see so many similarities in the foods our moms gave us when we were feeling poorly.

                                                                                                                                                                                        For me, it was..

                                                                                                                                                                                        chicken bouillon (made with those little cube thingies)
                                                                                                                                                                                        cinnamon toast
                                                                                                                                                                                        hot toddy (lemon, honey and a little bourbon) for a cold or sore throat
                                                                                                                                                                                        flat ginger ale
                                                                                                                                                                                        flat coke
                                                                                                                                                                                        Jell-o
                                                                                                                                                                                        Campbell's chicken noodle soup

                                                                                                                                                                                        I like the idea of miso soup--my teenage son recently said he would like some of that next time he gets a cold or sore throat.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Any combination of strong salty chicken broth with starch sounds wonderful--noodles, rice, etc. Congee would hit the spot, as many posters have already said.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My mom would make pastina (little teeny pastas) with garlic, egg and parmesan.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Imagine my surprise when, back in the '80's, it was on the menu of a very trendy
                                                                                                                                                                                          breakfast restaurant here in Los Angeles under the name "Pasta al a Mama".

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I wasn't really allowed to be sick when I was young - my mom was a nurse who had to deal with a lot of hypochondriacs so she never coddled us too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I do remember staying home from school when I was about 10 when I had pneumonia and eating frozen green grapes. They were so soothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Adding to the list of foods administered when sick ..... Mother made a soup with sliced onions, simmered in milk with lots of butter melted into the mix and ground pepper. That was for colds, plus frequent glasses of OJ. For an upset stomach she made a very light homemade chicken broth. Jello was for fevers. But always lots of water. Curiously, when I feel ill these days, I can't eat much at all... just tea and a bit of toast, usually.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. In our house, if you were in the bed, flat Coke but no eating (no crumbs) and if you were out of the bed, oatmeal or dry toast.
                                                                                                                                                                                                In Italy I have been given dark chocolate and watered down orange juice with sugar. As a mother myself now I am a compulsive feeder as soon as food can stay down when illness takes over. I believe in homeade broth, ginger tea made from fresh ginger simmered with water, and cinnamon toast with no more than a scratch of butter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                fayefood.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Tomato sandwiches with lots of best foods mayo on rye with Lay's potato chips scrunched in the sandwich with lots of salt and pepper...
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My mother made hot milk with white rice, butter and brown sugar. My grandmother made farina and whipped an egg into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. "Cracker-Mush" - Graham crackers boards in a bowl with milk eaten like cereal and, if you got better - you got to eat Ritz crackers with peanut better and jelly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. my mum always gave us juice of half a lemon, tablespoon of honey and a shot of rye whiskey in a mug with boiling water.... the canadian cough syrup.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jessi20

                                                                                                                                                                                                          How interesting, my mom made me hot lemonade with a shot of whatever booze in it...it was fantastic, it was soothing and probably put me to sleep...I'm surprised to see several other people here have had various versions of the same. I have tried to give this to my husband when he was sick but he was not having it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: prunefeet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The other night, I woke up with a migraine, so I took some Aleve but it wouldn't stay down. When I was telling my Mom the next day, she said "You should have just drank a big glass of whiskey, that kills any bugs you have". Hey, Mom, it was 3 in the morning and I just woke up! but she insisted next time I remember to do as she says. I love my Mom! And I do remember, one time when I had a really high fever in the middle of the night, I was probably 10 years old or so, she made me the most delicious, refreshing glass of fresh lemonade, that I can still taste in my mind: it actually cured me on the spot, and I just realized why!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I always lost my appetite when I was sick. I remember drinking lots of the cloudy, dark apple juice and eating toast until I felt better. If I'd been sick for a few days and lost any weight, my mom would make me extra thick chocolate malted milkshakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. my dad was a doctor and for some reason took it as an insult if we got sick, but after that innitial reaction he would make a really good chicken soup and mum would finish it with lots of lemon juice parsley and risoni
                                                                                                                                                                                                            also we would always get toast with either vegimite or heaps of avacodo( a little wierd) and mum would always cut us up lots of fruit and dry toast if we wanted, also she would serve us some of the boiloed plain chicken from the soup on the side.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            i remeber thinking the best part was the hot water lemon and heaps of honey we always got mmmm.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            there was a lot more i am forgetting but thats a good start ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. To cure colds, it was a glass of hot milk with honey and garlic...What can I say, I still have nightmares about it :-)))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              She also made us a wonderful soup called"rosol" -basically half and half chicken and beef boullion, served with homemade egg pasta. Now that was good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. spinach pastina with cottage cheese, or plain pastina with butter and salt. Same thing I served my daughter when she got sick, cooking it in chicken stock instead of water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Pastina!! I love making it now when I don't feel well, it reminds me of my beautiful Mom and how much she loved her kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember dry toast, tea, and saltine crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also remember Progresso Chickarina Soup (lately it's been hard to find in my soup aisle!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And that packet of soup I'd have to make I was sick, she wasn't home and when we didn't have anything else- it had a huge golden lump in the box that melted into the water to create the broth- what WAS that soup?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mrs. Grass? It's been around for years and years. Still is!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Grass? Seems familiar. If it has the big glob of golden 'stuff'- then that's it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lipton Chicken Noodle is what it sounds like to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Costco was giving out samples of Progresso chickarina today; don't know if that helps you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Cup O'Noodles. Occasionally Campbell's chicken noodle, but Cup O'Noodles was obviously the favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Depended on what we were sick with. I remember hot tea and toast. Sometimes tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. (We never had American cheese. Only cheddar was used in grilled cheese sandwiches.) Sometimes poached eggs and toast points. All of that food is comforting to me now when I am sick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Given that I'm lying in bed with a horrible chest cold & coughing up a lung at the moment, this one is especially nostalgic and timely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For anything with a sore throat and a cough:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            #1: Ice cream. Mint chocolate chip, usually. She called it "The Ice Cream Cure," and it always, always made me feel better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            #2: For me, it was homemade cornstarch pudding, either chocolate or vanilla, by request. My brother always got baked custard instead - he preferred it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            #3: Either lemonade or grape juice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For an upset stomach, we got ginger ale and stoned wheat crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My father, who only cooked breakfasts, used to feed me when I was sick. I'm afraid to try it now - I don't want my cozy memory to go away.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He poached an egg in about a cup of milk, poured it over a piece of buttered toast in a soup bowl, and topped it with salt and pepper. He called it Milktoast. I have no idea where he got it from, but it really was warm and soft and comforting.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We used to have Milk Toast, but it was something my Mom made, rather than my father. I think this dish is left over from the Depression. Our version did not have a poached egg. It was buttered toast, topped with warmed milk, salt and pepper. We also had a version called Milk Noodles. Hot buttered egg noodles, topped with the warm milk, salt and pepper. Both of these were eaten from a bowl as they had a fair amount of milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. chicken broth with breadcrumb and egg dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. the flu, I was given flat 7up till I could keep liquids down, the things like jello, and anything liquid w/out milk in it. for a cold she used to make me chili heavy on the beans or if I wasnt hungry just some hot lemon honey water, maybe with some chamomele tea mixed in, and vapo-rub for my chest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My boer mother always gave us toast with butter and bovril or marmite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I still eat that when I am sick, sometimes Peck's anchovette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Either Heinz Cream of Chicken or Heinz Oxtail Soup. With a glass of Lucozade - which in those days you could only buy in the Pharmacy!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And Arctic Roll (ice cream wrapped in sponge cake) if we were really lucky!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Pop Tarts.Well she did toast them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I remember Campbell's Chicken and Stars soup, jell-0, seven-up and gingerale, applesauce, crumbled browned hamburger, toast strips w/ softboiled egg, scrambled eggs, canned fruit, rice pudding (or tapioca), apple juice, grape juice, diced chicken breast, rice soup (just chicken and rice and diced veggies.), popsicles, sometimes yogurt, although she kept milk products to a minimum. I actually preferred sickroom food to her usual fare, which tended toward the spicy and healthy and strange and very, very adventurous.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uh, mom the uncook just asked me to please remind y'all that she made a very outstanding tofu-rice pudding and sometimes forced it upon us. (Also known as "offering.") It was supposed to make us all well, but sometimes we had to pretend we already felt ever so much better......couldn't take even a bite!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. giggle noodle soup - by Lipton (no longer available) she would make me giggle too. I still crave it when I'm sick, ramen noodles are my sub today

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Since my main ailment was usually tonsillitis, I got ginger ale and canned chicken noodle soup made with milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Saltine crackers and milk. Sometimes with butter. Eat quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Cinnamon toast. Buttery. Crispy. Comforting. If my dad was taking care of me, he would make mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And while it wasn't home-made, sometimes a carvel vanilla shake would come my way for a snack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Talking about strange things for a Jewish mom to serve her sick kids...you would think chicken soup, wouldn't you? Not my mom! She would always give us Gerber's bean & bacon baby food, with a few slices of liverwurst!! It tasted great, we loved it, and to this day that combination sounds like the ultimate comfort combo to me. Don't even know if Gerber's still makes that product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Egg drop soup. My mom made the best egg drop soup I have ever tasted, with mushrooms in it. It was the most comforting food to eat when sick.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AnnaBaptist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You might like the egg drop soup recipe on the Simply Recipes website. Made with mushrooms and fresh ginger - great comfort food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. i'm laying here in bed sick with a throat cold right now and making a grocery list out some of these awesome nostalgic responces... I'm going to make that burbon lemon rok candy thing and give it out o my family in tincture bottles when I get better (we've all been passing around colds lately)... My mom always gave us Mrs. Grass' too... Flat soda (usually sprite or gingerale), scrambled eggs, toast, and fudgecicles as a treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Nothing at all, actually. I only remember being sick twice in my childhood, and couldn't keep anything down anyway.....ginger ale and dry toast maybe.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. bumping this thread because it made me miss my mom big time, and I've also got flu issues right now. I remember soft boiled eggs, toast, apples, bananas, white rice, and ginger ale. she was Bolivian, where did she learn this from??? I wish she were still here, because even in my 40s she would still call with that worried tone in her voice because one of her babies was sick. never too old for comfort.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I remember having the flu once, and my Mom gave me some lemonade that instantly made me feel better and go back to sleep. After reading this thread, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something a little harder in that glass along with the lemons!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am so lucky I still have her to advise what to do when I'm sick, 82 years old and going strong. Although with her, it often involves whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                coll, you have no idea how much I miss mine. Would you give yours a big hug from me. You are so fortunate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you, I wish she lived closer but still. I lost my father in his 50s, so this is my payback I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I lost my Dad when I was 10 and my Mom the year I turned 33. We have a big family so I was raised well. I married young and married into a large family. But I didn't experience having older parents and now that my own kids ARE, it's kind of a strange journey...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Big families are the best! Although I was the oldest so I had to do some subbing and pinch hitting myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh I hear ya! Dh and I are both the oldest sibs in our own families too. But, we're all fairly close in age. Our own kids on the other hand were born two and two (not twins just far apart) reflective of diff points in our busy careers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mom (& Da) would have adored them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Us too. Are you of Irish descent by any chance ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've been doing Throwback Thursday on Facebook lately with our old slides and am getting SO nostalgic. Wish everyone could have lived forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No Irish; love the Irish people. My people are from Russia and Ethiopia. Hill's Italian; his people come from Sardinia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. My mom always gave me Lipton chicken noodle or Campbell Chicken Noodle O's and Ginger Ale. My daughter likes cheese toast and Chicken Noodle O's. That's the only time she eats canned soup. I tend to beef ramen, spicy fideo soup, or a very simple miso soup.