Random Appetites: Hangover Cures

Ah, yes, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Had a little too much fun at a party or just a night with friends at home and you find yourself a little green around the gills the next day. I know I’ve been there, but thankfully it’s a rare visit.

Now, most of us know that the biggies that cause that icky morning-after feeling are dehydration and stomach acid (oh, wait, you didn’t? now you do). Which is why the guidelines for staying safe are to drink a glass of water for every cocktail or beer you consume and then an extra glass or two before you turn in for the night (morning). That (and a couple of aspirin or ibuprofen before bed) will do a lot to prevent that splitting headache and squinting at the light the next time your eyes open.

The other issue, the sour stomach of too much sugar sent down the pipe (again, alcohol is sugar, folks, all breaks down to the same carbs, carbs, carbs in the final equation), can be both more or less difficult to manage, depending on your point of view.

A lot of party-goers know that a stop by the local all-night drive through (or stumble-to, judging by my last such experience) will make one feel better. The reason this works is that the fat helps coat your stomach and protect it from some of that excess acid that gets churned up trying to deal with the excess sugars in your system. Plus the protein from a burger or chicken finger will give your body something else to work on in the interim.

When I was in culinary school the subject of drinking came up (go figure). You know why so many chef’s drink? It’s because you stare at food for hours and hours, late into the wee hours, and need to do something else when it’s all over (or to get through, depends on the chef); at least that was our chef’s position on the matter. As such, chef’s have a great wealth of ideas on how to get rid of (or prevent) a hangover. This was my favorite.

Hangover Sandwich

2 slices of good bread
Butter
Mayo
Smoked salmon
Bacon
Horseradish or mustard (optional)

Spread the butter on both sides of the bread and saute in a hot pan until golden, essentially making two large, French-style as opposed to salad style, croûtons. Spread some mayo on one side of each crouton and layer on the smoked salmon and bacon. You can add horseradish sauce or mustard to taste, it’s up to you, but the butter, salmon and bacon really are the key parts due to the fat and protein gains. Eat up!

I’ve never actually had to make use of that recipe, but it’s nice to know I’ve got it in reserve.

There other prevailing theory on hangover cures seems to revolve around the idea of “hair of the dog” in one way or another.

First off is just to get up and keep drinking. Not necessarily a lot, just enough to take the edge off; a good time for a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Speaking of Bloody Mary’s, it occurs to me to wonder about adding more acid to an already roiling stomach. Aside from the nutrients and vitamins in the tomato juice (or o.j., for that matter), adding more acid is the hair of the dog, as well, just a different breed. But I still think water is the best thing to drink after a late night with one (or three) too many.

Another popular remedy that I hadn’t considered before is eating spicy food. Now, I don’t know about you but I’m not really down for Mexican or Thai when I’m feeling green, but some friends swear that the spices help to “sweat out” the toxins and speed the recovery process. I’ll leave that to them, frankly, and just try not to over-indulge in the first place.

* * *

The holidays are rapidly approaching and, with them, holiday parties galore. We here at Random Acts… support responsible behavior and knowing your own limits. Please be safe, designate a driver and all of that, and try to have the kind of fun that you’ll enjoy thinking about in the morning, not just wondering where you left your pants.

Random Appetites: Drinking Songs

Continuing along the somewhat reaching path of writing-related food and alcohol (no, I don’t blame you if you didn’t catch the theme), today let’s investigate some songs that center around or are sung while enjoying various libations.

Now, it’s totally a coincidence (no, really, it is) that as I compose this post I’m just returning home from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. Before I continue I just want to say that if you live in a place they are coming to and enjoy live music, laser light shows, pyrotechnics and some frickin’ sweet rock and roll/classical/Christmas music fusion then do yourself a favor and get tickets NOW! How is this not off-topic? Well, they have a song that, while not directly about drinking, takes place in a bar (Old City Bar (LP Version), from Christmas Eve and Other Stories). So there.

The next tune that comes to mind when I hear “drinking songs” is Alcohol by the Barenaked Ladies. Just a nice, fun, kicky song about booze to sing along with on those nights when you’re driving home (preferably not having been drinking) from somewhere way too late at night and you’re trying to stay awake long enough to get home. Oh, wait, maybe that’s just me…

Quick on it’s heels, though, is a song that has topped at least one top ## list of drinking songs and who can’t help but sing along with Thorogood’s last call lamentations? One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer by George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

Now, I have a teensy bit of a confession to make: I’ve never actually participating in a true, honest-to-goodness, stein-swaying drinking song breaking out in a bar. I suppose I should try our local Irish pubs a bit more often and see if it ever really happens. BUT! I have been to more than one Bardic Circle and The Wild Rover seems to be a popular sing-a-long of just that sort. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard it before, after the first chorus you’ll catch on easily enough.

Random Appetites: Foodie Movies

So last week we talked about writers and booze, this week we’ll switch to movies and food!

Some of my favorite movies are ones that use food as a central theme. The first that comes to mind is Like Water for Chocolate which, despite the need to “read” the movie (subtitles make it difficult to have movies in the background), is a wonderful story about passion. Even though it’s fictional, it’s still one of the best examples I’ve seen about the power of emotions and how they can affect food. Seriously, two people cooking the same dish from the same recipe with the same ingredients in the same kitchen can produce two different results; the reason being the intent or involvement of the cook.

Okay, okay, metaphysics aside, a more recent favorite in the same cuisine region is Tortilla Soup starring Hector Elizondo and a host of other true talents. Supposedly a Latino-version of Eat Drink Man Woman (I wouldn’t know firsthand, having not seen that one yet, but it’s on the list) it’s a fabulous look at family dynamics both around the dinner table and elsewhere.

Speaking of the dinner table, Soul Food is another feel-good family-dinner movie that I find myself stopping to watch whenever it comes on.

Since I’m me and I love to throw parties with themes and we almost always end up watching movies, I’d pick a couple of the above and serve food based on the movie’s regions or even dishes served therein. But that’s just me ;-)

For dessert I suggest, what else: Chocolat. I actually didn’t think I’d like this one too much but I’ve seen it several times now and my fondness for it grows with repetition. I think it might have been, at least in part, that I didn’t watch it closely enough the first couple of times and so missed a lot. This is what happens when I put movies on for background “noise” while I’m working on other things. (I call it the 007-syndrome, since I tend to do the same with Bond movies even though I know better.)

Now, there is one foodie movie I would not suggest–at least not to the faint of heart. When I was in Culinary School, my favorite chef recommended I watch a movie called The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, which was described to me as British farce. Um, yeah… That movie is absolutely twisted and I would NOT suggest theming a dinner party to match. At least not to those with weak stomachs and a failing sense of humor. I would not call this one a comedy and was thrust thoroughly into a mood. My boyfriend at the time tried to cheer me up with Popeye but I could not be brought out of the depths that movie inspired. (Not that Robin Williams aping about as a spinach-swilling sailor is my cup of tea, but you gotta give him credit for trying!) If you _do_ want British farce and food, however, give Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe a try, if you can find it.

Random Appetites: Literary Libations

This is the first November in a number of years where I am not struggling for word count each evening or spending every Saturday at one local Library or another hosting write-ins, otherwise known as participating in (and acting as Municipal Liaison for) NaNoWriMo. I must say, the freedom is glorious.

Granted, I haven’t abandoned my literary pursuits, I’ve merely refined them a bit. But I feel tremendous sympathy for those who _are_ participating this year, which brings us to today’s Random Appetites.

It is a long-standing stereotype that writers are also drinkers: the more “important” the work, the more heavy the drink. Or so it would seem. I actually avoid alcohol if I’m trying to get something done, but will occasionally imbibe when a deadline is met.

One of my favorite books on writers and cocktails (and I think I’ve linked to it before) is Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers. Including quotes, brief biographies, excerpts and recipes it really is a must for the enthusiast of both writers and mixologists.

Speaking of writers, those who know me will not be surprised to find that I adore what I know of Dorothy Parker, she of the razor sharp wit and a healthy dose of snark. My fondness for her work grew when I found this little gem:

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect quote for me?
For more writing and drinking mixtures, check out this recent posts at Book Examiner: Pairing books with cocktails and happy writing, reading and imbibing!