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Best foods for colds

It's cold/flu season once again. What do you count on to help you feel better when the sniffles hit?

For me, I love a bowl of pho. Pho Tai, if I have an appetite, or Pho Ga if beef seems too heavy.

If I'm contagious and can't leave the house, I tend to make more of a Thai style chicken noodle soup, with rice noodles, cilantro, lemongrass, chili sauce and garlic.

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  1. I always have some homemade chicken stock in the freezer for some quick chicken noodle. I also like to make miso soup when i need fluids. If i have a raging illness, i make a tea of 5cups water, 1 head of garlic minced.... bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. To the cooled garlic tea I add 1/2 cup cider vinegar and a 1/4 cup honey. This "tea" i sip throughout the day. Another favorite of mine is a garlic and thyme soup that uses bread as a thickener.

    1. I'm a non tradicion sick food guy. For colds I like Tex Mex enchiladas, beef or chicken covered in hot sauce. Last year when I had swine flu I had good Texas BBQ one day and pizza another, both with enough for plenty of leftovers.

      1. I like to have anything hot--in temperature and flavor. I agree that miso soup is great for a cold, as is cider vinegar. But I like to eat pretty much anything spicy, with garlic if appropriate, and drink hot liquids. And fresh citrus.

        1. Prevention magazine had a whole issue devoted to this some years back.

          They recommended a broth - chicken stock, an ENTIRE minced clove of garlic, and a sprinkle of chile seeds, simmered together for a few minutes and sipped every couple of hours.


          lots of echinacea tea laced with honey and lemon for the sore throat.

          It did chase off a couple of colds - but I half think it's because between all that garlic and the chile, it gives you such dragon breath nothing can survive!

          3 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842

            And goodness knows you wouldn't have to worry about GIVING your cold to anyone, unless your cold germs can jump 20 feet.

            1. re: sunshine842

              SS842, do you mean clove or bulb? A clove ain't much, I put 3 cloves in my ecumenical Jewish Trinity Penicilan, but a bulb will keep the werewplves away for the rest of your life.
              Gimme spice, get the nose runnin'.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                1 clove per MUG of broth. That's a lot of garlic in an 8-oz package.

            2. Tom Yum or Hot and Sour soup are the winners in my house...

              1 Reply
              1. re: jeanmarieok

                Probably tastes better than the Prevention recipe, while still delivering chicken broth, chili, and garlic in large concentrations!

              2. Grits with a healthy handful of Mexican cheese melted into it and topped with a medium-hot salsa.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mandycat

                  That sounds great, cold or no cold. I'll have to give it a try.

                2. Fresh garlic, chopped...let it "air" for a few minutes...scoop onto teaspoon, deposit on back of tongue and wash down, one very very quick gulp, with a glug of water; believe me, I had to practice to get this technique down pat. Has great antibiotic properties.
                  Also, I love chicken soup for a cold...and GINGER TEA...hot and brothy...smash up some fresh ginger slices (bruise them up with back of a knife handle)...bring to boil with water...let it simmer for a few minutes...strain and enjoy with fresh lemon and/or honey; truth be told, I often just eat the ginger slices after they are cooked and steeped. Some people on this board can eat it *RAW*....haven't gotten there yet. <snerk>

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Val

                    I make the ginger tea but to it I add lots of fresh lemon, a chopped up hot pepper and strain.
                    then I add a good slug of honey and a good slug of brandy, Drink it hot and fast and go to bed.

                    1. re: Fiona

                      I do something similar but with garlic. Chop up garlic, put it in a mug, pour hot water, squeeze some lemon and honey, and drink it. Go to bed wrapped up, and sweat it out. You will reek of garlic, but I promise that you'll feel soooo much better the next day. Have to say that I have never been able to drink the whole thing though.

                  2. Jalapeno potato chips and Bombay martinis (up). Seriously.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tim irvine

                      Potato chips are great for mild sore throats .The salt reduces the swelling.

                    2. Beef consomme' and TheraFlu.

                      Taken separately.

                      1. Omg, I thought that exact thing after just reading your topic line. Funny!
                        Even more so considering I'm not usually a soup type of girl.

                        1. I'm not a licorice fan AT ALL, but there's a mint-licorice (menthe-reglisse) tea here that rocks for sore throats -- one sip of it, and the pain vanishes. (you're not better, but at least it doesn't hurt!)

                          1. I don't know if I found a miracle cure, but I came down with the worst cold the beginning of the week, then after drinking a cup of honey liqueur and eating close to a quarter jar of some delicious honey from Germany....the cold disappeared! I could actually taste my Thanksgiving dinner.

                            1. For folks that live in the icy far north where birches grow, make chaga tea. From a ubiquitious black fungus that grows on birches chaga has lots of medicinal properties. It has been used my my Russian family for generations. Alexander Solzhenitsyn claimed that chaga cured his stomach cance.

                              3 Replies
                                1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Chicken broth (strong and salty) with a good spoonful of hot lime pickle stirred in. Yeah, baby. You'll have a sense of smell by dinnertime.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    For those of us unfamiliar with lime pickle, can it be found in Asian market, is that right? Is it a condiment of some kind? Vaguely remember a chow discussion about it a while ago...thanks!

                                    1. re: Val

                                      Eastern Indian market. But, you might be able to find it in an Asian mkt.

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        check...we only have Asian market here...Eastern Europe yes, but Eastern Indian, nope! Thank you, mc! ♥♥

                                  2. i would go for the hot chicken soup with substantial noodles in it. This gives soft nourishment plus some decongesting qualities. It is interesting that practically everyone has recommended aromatic soups with a lot of sinus-clearing capsaicin. It also like hot mint tea for its sinus clearing qualities.

                                    1. Menudo, good for everything! (Pho too!)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                        A big slurpable bowl of Pho is SO where it's at....luckily we have a GREAT selection of choices locally. Extra basil, please! And a slug of that there chili oil!

                                        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                          If I eat menudo when I have a cold, will I get hangover too? Power of suggestion.

                                        2. I make about 1/2 cup of strong tea, to which I add: 3 or 4 cloves, a stick of cinnamon, fresh squeezed lemon juice, lots of honey and a couple of shots of rum or brandy.

                                          1. A hot toddy is great for a cold, especially if you have a sore throat. Hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. The combination is great for soothing your throat and generally making you feel a lot less cruddy.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: gilintx

                                              I make this as well but usually with vodka.....

                                            2. Guinness Stout, poutine, Xanax and lots of old movies..

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. When I have a cold, I don't crave chicken noodle soup, but crave Chinese hot and sour soup . So comforting!

                                                1. The aforementioned chicken soup. I also like tea with honey and ginger.

                                                  My great grandmother used to swear by blackberry brandy. I'm not sure if it helped the symptoms or just made them less noticeable.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                                    That's what we always use - a shot of blackberry brandy. I got the suggestion from an old boss of mine (and yes - he went out and bought the brandy!). One shot every hour - it does indeed help!

                                                    1. re: JerryMe

                                                      I use blackberry brandy for upset stomachs, it seems to work very well. Must be my nervous stomach! (I was actually diagnosed as such, back in the 80s, before they started naming all the various issues).

                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                        heh -- my dad used to give us a spoonful of blackberry brandy when we had a cough.

                                                        To this day, I can't drink blackberry brandy, because it's cough medicine in my mind.

                                                    2. Hearty borscht w/ lots of garlic and good corn rye bread!

                                                      1. Miso soup is another good one for when you're under the weather.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                          For each small bowl of miso soup, beat one egg in a cup, then pour it into the hot soup. Sort of egg-drop miso soup, it is wonderful when you have a cold. Japanese people also put a beaten egg into hot sake, called "tamago-zake" and it is said to be great for a cold.

                                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                            miso soup is great even if you aren't "under the weather" so very healthy!

                                                          2. Plain old Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup with saltine crackers does it for me. Its quick and easy to prepare and readily available. I stay away from the kitchen when I'm feeling bad. My friend Old Crow keeps me company at times.

                                                            1. Soup - hot and sour or homemade chicken soup.

                                                              1. Bottle of Nyquil, a hot toddy and some serious home made Chicken soup!