A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Look Back at Today's Meals

Despite the date shown on this post, I'm writing about Tuesday's meals.  Tuesday morning I woke up feeling a little under the weather and went downhill from there into full-blown cold mode, so my culinary plans for the day got derailed.  I started a big cooking project (see my next post), but my symptoms were calling out for very different foods than what was in my pot — what do YOU crave when you're sick? — so I stopped short of the final baking process and just covered my creation with aluminum foil and stuck it in the fridge for when I'm feeling better (let's hope today).

When I'm sick, I find often that my symptoms recede while I am in the act of eating, so I tend to graze throughout the day.  Maybe it's just the distraction of my attention from my pathetic state, or maybe the food going through my sore throat massages it in a helpful way, but I definitely ascribe to the feed-a-cold theory.  When sick, I tend to crave what I think of as "sharp" foods in preference to "round" foods.  Sharp foods are acidic, spicy, salty, highly flavored, astringent, juicy.  Round foods are creamy, rich, heavier.  The quintessential sharp food for me is grapefruit, ice cold.  A very round food is chocolate pudding.

So at breakfast, I skipped the round-ish yogurt and had my fruit and nuts plain.  I also brewed a pot of Japanese green (Sencha) tea, which can be enjoyed in a sharp state — i.e., without milk.  (I never put sugar in my tea or coffee.  Well, maybe once a year, but I usually find it cloying.)

For lunch I inexplicably reverted to round mode and made a peanut butter and cheese sandwich, toasting the sourdough bread with the mild Buttercup cheese before slathering on the peanut butter and pouring myself a glass of milk.  My lifelong obsession with peanut butter overrides my eating-while-sick philosophy!

All afternoon long I kept returning to the kitchen for snacks: the second (stale but still tasty) half of a soft pretzel, a clementine, another clementine, a bite or two of a leftover cabbage dish I'd made using lots of mustard seeds and other Indian spices.  Then, around dinnertime, I realized that I was not at all in the mood for the cheese-y pasta and eggplant dish I'd prepared and that was awaiting its final baking in the convection oven, so I  went online (you HAVE to try seamlessweb.com!) and ordered a bunch of super-sharp Korean food from our wonderful local take-out place, Kofoo.  (KOrean FOOd.  Get it?  It took me a long time, and a good look at their new logo, which makes it super obvious with ghost letters.)

So for dinner I doused my germs with tons of hot, sour kimchee and a spicy soup with veggies and lots of deliciously gooey rice cake disks, some shrimp and water chestnut shumai dumplings (Peter's favorite KOrean FOOd), and bulgogi kimbob (like sushi in construction, sliced rolls of seaweed-wrapped rice and ingredients, but cooked beef in this case).   Anyone want to smell my breath?

In the evening, I self-medicated my worsening cough with some bourbon over ice.  A little alcohol, I've noticed, dulls the severity — at least the perceived severity — of cold symptoms.  It's probably not doing a lot for my immune system, however.

I hope anyone who reads this is feeling hale, but, if not, grab yourself some kimchee and a pair of chopsticks.


  1. I absolutely crave marinara with lots of garlic when I feel my defenses weakening. Another sure thing is a big bowl of Vietnamese Pho with extra sliced jalapenos. Definitely the sharp stuff! I consciously avoid dairy if I think I'm getting a head cold as well. I think that a toddy at the right time can definitely kick a cold in the pants too!

  2. @LAP: I was just recently introduced to Pho by a very dear friend visiting from Seattle. (Hi, Toni! Love you!) I agree that this would be the ideal restorative meal when I am down with cold. Pass the hot sauce!

  3. Wonderful! This is like reading Pioneer Woman blog's cooking page. :o)

  4. @doris: Wow, that's high praise! I had never read that blog before, but she's brilliant...and hilarious. Thank you.

  5. Just found your blog (referred by Peter), you make me more interested in what I am eating, not always a good thing (I have some junk in the trunk). Anyway Szechwan Hot and Sour soup is the food I always want when I have a cold. Sooths the throat and clears the sinuses. Give it a try.

  6. HI Elle. I will remember your recommendation the next time I'm feeling under the weather. We have a fantastic Szechuan restaurant right across the street, where people line up outside in all kinds of weather waiting for a table. (The service is surly bordering on abusive, so you know the food must be excellent to warrant the crowds.) Luckily for sick shut-ins, they also deliver!