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Music – “Goodbye Booze” from Classic Country: Hello Hangover by Jim Eanes. Released: 2013
A true teetotaler has never suffered from the “hooch headache” and the accompanying various unpleasant bodily insults from too much booze. There is something to be said from abstaining from a knock-em-down-drag-em-out night of alcohol ingestion. In my early adult years, I had one dreadful-never-to-be-repeated experience one New Year’s Eve. Somehow, through the pain and other assorted assaults to my body, I survived and vowed to never do it again. Some lessons are learned the hard way.
In my cookbook collection, I have a number of books on wine, beer and other alcoholic stimulants. Alcohol being pervasive in so many cultures around the world, I figured that most people would have some form of hangover “cures” and started doing some research. What I found was both amazing and entertaining, and sometimes downright bizarre! They run the gamut, from Deep Fried Canaries, to Tripe Soup, to Sour Pickle Juice and everything in between. I should caution that none of the information has been verified and must be taken with a grain of salt (if that helps alleviate your pain!)
We’ve all heard the saying, “When in Rome….”, but in ancient Rome, a little too much wine at a bacchanalian festival might cause a wee bit of pain. Their solution was a repast of deep fried canary. It isn’t clear if the bird was skinned or eaten feathers and beak intact. But first you have to catch a canary.
“The hair of the dog that bit you” is an old colloquial English expression, stemming from having imbibed a bit more alcohol than intended. The notion is that more of the same beverage will remedy the aftereffects. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, since you are just adding fuel to the fire in a way, but it’s the basis of many a hangover cure.
It is said that Japanese over indulgers favour eating “umeboshi”, a dried plum or apricot. Steeping it in green tea apparently takes away some of the sourness. In Germany, be prepared for a plate of rollmops (raw pickled herring wrapped around pieces of onion and gherkins) the morning after your indulgence. Nothing like a hangover breakfast.
Supposedly, tripe soup is the remedy for hangovers in Turkey and can be taken as a preventative if you intend to party to the wee hours of the morning. This may also be a popular cure in Mexico and Romania. Too much vodka while vacationing in Poland? Quaff down a couple of cups of sour pickle brine!
How about a nice big “Bacon Butty” (sandwich) to squelch the pain if you had too many pints of ale, while in London? Rumour has it that the bacon actually helps by providing amino acids to the body, which counteract the effects of too much alcohol.
Or fancy a “Highland Fling” of buttermilk, corn flour, salt and pepper to negate the effects of too much good whiskey in Scotland?
Do soused New Zealanders really fancy mince and cheese pie with chocolate milk to minimize the pain of an all-nighter? Did the Celts really bury the booze ridden sufferer in wet sand up to his or her armpits? Perhaps when the tide came in, the frigid waters were literally a slap in the face and brought one to one’s senses and out from under the alcoholic stupor.
Does clotted cream, cream liqueur, and spiced and dark rums sound like just the beverage you’d want to encounter following an alcoholic binge? Some stories suggest this is the appropriate tonic in Namibia.
So, what do people in the good ol’ USA do after a night of overindulgence. Well, just about anything, if you search the internet. Raw eggs with Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper down the gullet are a common theme. How about a nice plate of Eggs Benedict? According to the story, in the late 19th century, a well-to-do socialite partied a little too much one evening and the next morning, asked the chef of the Waldorf-Astoria restaurant to put together ham, poached egg, and Hollandaise sauce on top of an English Muffin.
We don’t know if it really helped his hangover, but he must have been responsible for the birth of an American brunch institution: Eggs Benedict.
Rumour also has it that in the wild west, cowboys, hung over from a little too much whiskey would brew up a nasty concoction of “pellet tea”, which is pretty simple to make. Just boil up some water and throw in some rabbit pellets (read: “poop”). Slurp to your heart’s content, or as long as your stomach doesn’t rebel.
In “Bar & Party Guide”, published in 1972 by Sirkay Publishing Co. of Los Angeles, there is a page of “Hangover Cures” near the end of the book. The writers conclude:
“No curse visited by the gods upon suffering mankind is near so fearsome as the hangover, that morning after feeling that there are a group of little fiends in your head banging away with jackhammers and other tools of torture at the inside of your skull and entire quadron of assorted bugs in your stomach doing slow rolls around your intestines”
Their hangover cures include the inevitable “hair of the dog”, such as vodka and tomato juice with spices, or a mix of cognac, rum and milk or tequila with cold beer. Does the thought of a blend of whiskey, raw egg and Tabasco appeal to you? How about a triad of brandy, dry vermouth and pernod?
Being Canadian, I’ve heard of a lot of the remedies mentioned here, but according to at least one website, drunk Canadians prefer to indulge in “poutine” the morning after a Labatt’s blowout: French fries with Canadian cheese curds, smothered in gravy. “Poutine” is a French Canadian favourite, but this is the first time I’ve heard of it as a hangover cure. Whatever.
No matter where you are on the globe, you’re bound to find booze somewhere or somehow. It’s hard to know how some of these hangover “remedies“” were born, whether out of desperation or something tried and true. In my estimation, the only remedy for the price of too much imbibing is a dark room, absolute quiet and time! Also, make up a good story to tell your boss why you’re calling in sick on January 1st, even though he won’t believe you.
Bar and Party Guide (Sirkay Publishing, 1972)