I hate to be the first one with the obvious posting, but it's true: Chicken soup is really the most comforting "flu food" When I make it, I use extra chicken parts and lots of fresh veggies. I make 2 pots and add potatoes to one which blurs the line between soup and stew. I refrige the 'stew' for use later in the week or the following week. once cool I skim most, but not all of, the fat. Depending on the person's ability to, 'hold food down' dictates whether or not I serve the soup with or without the chicken. If they are not nauseated, I also serve it with plain saltines or ritz crackers, and a cool, not cold ,mixture of ginger ale and cranberry juice. Of course, if the person is diabetic, I adjust accordingly.
I also think jello is a great flu food item It's a tasty way to increase fluid intake and gives some sugar for an energy surge.
I go with chicken soup, but with a few changes. Most of this depends on what I have on hand. I'm usually the one who is sick and I seldom have home made broth in the freezer these days, so I use the (no shuddering, I like it) egg and broth powder in Mrs. Grass original noodle soup mix. I don't use the noddles, just the broth mix. None of the others I've tried, not even the other flavors of Mrs. Grass have the same taste I like. So I use that as a starting poing. Add baby carrots (if I'm sick, I dn't feel ike doing a lot of prep), diced potatoes (I don't usually skin them, I just scrub them good), chopped celery, fresh parsley if I have it (for vitamin C), and lots and lots (really I mean lots, ten cloves or more) of garlic (to boost the immune system). I prefer to use chicken thighs in my soup to breast simply because it's so easy to over cook breast. I cut that up and put it in near the end of cooking time so that it isn't over cooked. Sometimes I will drop matzo balls on top of this.
Another alternative is the broth, garlic, parsley, matzo balls and shrimp. When I'm doing shrimp I don't usually add much veg.
The key here is the hot application of garlic. :) It helps sooth the throat, might boost the immune system, and the whole experience of soup, of course, is rehydrating and soothes mucus membranes as well. :)
All of the suggestions already given are excellent!! Lots of Vitamin C in the form of fruit juice and perhaps a chewable supplement. Also yogert! Yogert helps sooth the stomach and intestines.
When I don't feel well, I like a soft boiled (also poached, or a softly scrambled) egg with dry toast (maybe a little butter, if patient can tolerate). Chicken Soup is the majic elixir !
Can put some rice or a small pasta into it.....or beat up an egg with some flour and a pinch of salt to drizzle into the broth. (I used to do that for my children, they loved it.)
Jello with a goodly dab of unflavored yogert on top. When the patient is a bit better...baked custard, rice pudding or anything that is easy on the digestive system.
Don't forget Cream of Wheat! Cold vanilla ice cream also feels good on a sore throat!
I have also just discovered th wonders of pure pomegranate juice. Good for the intestines and slows down the "runs"....heh, heh, if you know what I mean!
For sniffles (head cold) really spicy Tom Yum. I am convinced the chilies kill it. And the spice also helps loosen up stuffy nose.
For nausea (and gas) strong ginger tea (boil sliced ginger until the water is dark brown. add sugar if you want). Ginger will take away nausea in seconds -- miracle root if you ask me. If it's really bad, just chew on raw ginger.
To prevent colds: garlic. It was just in the news too. So -- screw the apple a day and just eat Thai food. :)
I would generally say that if someone really has flu, they don't want to eat anything.
But - last year I was working in Chennai (Madras), and for my third and final week I had flu. Not a severe bout - just influenza-B - but enough to make me want to curl up and die.
I couldn't take a break, as I was working and having been sent halfway round the world by my company I felt I had to plough on.
I ate curry 3 times a day - dosai and chutney for breakfast, various items for lunch (including curry pizza), and curry for dinner washed down with a large G&T.
I managed to get through the week up to the very last day I was there - which I spent lying on my bed feeling like death.
Was it the curry or the G&T that got me through the week? Who knows. But if I get flu again (and I don't mean a cold, or what we call 'man flu' here in the UK) then I'll be eating dhal soup with LOTS of chilli.
We eat a good deal of smoked turkey breast ( 99 cent/lb frozen smoked by yours truly) I cut the meat off the bones quickly, leaving lots of meat on the bones) and throw the carass in the freezer.
Smoked Turkey soup with carrots, celery & rice (we don't even mention garlic and dill, they go without saying) will cure what ails you!
bean spout soup with lots of gochugaru.
Take some niboshi and boil them in some water with some minced garlic. Add bean spouts (mung bean), sliced green onion, and a spoonful of gochugaru. My mom used to make me this whenever I was sick. It's also mandatory to put a bowl of rice into the soup.
jook is also good with nothing added if you are feeling especially queasy
Recipes for the chicken version are simpler than the beef, but I prefer the full spice complement (five spice powder) from the latter. A tip posted elsewhere was to have some star anise soaking in dry sherry available - use the flavored sherry in the mix.
For a soothing hot drink, I go with a quality Hot apple cider.
When I, the main cook, was among the sick, I relied on iced cold Coca Cola, cups of tea, baked potatoes, and soft boiled eggs. And, we were darn glad to get that much!
When I, the main cook, was not stricken with the local epizootic, I served chicken broth, soft boiled eggs, dry toast and mashed potatoes. Not much difference...