tom yum goongI had something else planned for my post today, but the truth is that I am completely under the weather. As in having to rest between the kitchen and the bedroom, as in bundled in blankets and fleeces and warm socks. What are your magic remedies when you’re not feeling great? Here are some of mine:

Dr. Mathra’s Totally Hot Toddy. Ever since I got my hands on this recipe, it has been my go-to hot toddy drink when I’m under the weather. A pinch of red chili flakes is a great addition.

Tom Yum Goong from Thai House Express on Geary at Larkin. This hot and sour soup warms me up and helps clear up any congestion. If I don’t have the energy to pick up, I order from Chai Yo on Polk street.

Pho from Mai’s on Clement. There’s better pho in town, but this small restaurant is a comfortable spot to slurp some pho when you’re under the weather.

Parmesan toast with tomatoes. This is one of my tribe’s comfort foods. I’ve been eating it since I was a kid.

In an ideal world, I would have the energy to whip up my own lentil soup or chicken soup or spicy tomato sauce, but when all I can think about is going back to bed, these quick food options provide comfort and sustenance.

What do you do when you’re under the weather?

Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold 19 August,2008Jennifer Maiser

  • I am a big fan of making a vat of chicken soup…I have a quick and easy way to do it that is not as labor intensive as making your own stock from scratch…I simply buy a whole chicken and about 5-6 boxes of organic chix stock (I like the whole foods 365 brand). I saute chopped onions, carrots and celery in olive oil in a stock pot, throw in the whole chix…add some sprigs of thyme, some parsley..let the veggies carmelize a bit and start to add the stock…once all the liquid is added I just cook it until the chix starts to fall off the bone…I remove the skin and bones and let it cook some more until it tastes great. I usually add some pepper but the stock typically has enough salt in it. I then cook noodles or rice separately and pour the soup over the carbs in a bowl. This soup will last a couple of days and is a surefire cure.

  • Denise Lincoln

    I crave Picante’s chicken tortilla soup when I’m sick and make my husband drive all the way to Berkeley to get it. There’s something about the mild chile sauce in the chicken broth that clears my head. I also like to make a homemade tomato soup, if I have the energy, and eat it with grilled cheese. Yum.

  • We’re fans of the curative toddy here, too — we go for Cameron’s patented Two-Hat Cure

    I like to eat plain egg-fried rice when I am sick, or (if the ailment’s not digestive) maybe some hot-and-sour soup.

  • Good for you for posting when you’re feeling so lousy. Hot and sour soup is one of my go-to cures as well. Either that or a *really* hot curry. Something to get all the bad stuff flowing out.

    And yes, my husband’s hot toddies are the bomb.

  • I like chicken soup. I always keep a couple of cans stocked. And if my bronchials are all congested, I love this peppery couscous broth – it has cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, bell peppers, and tomatoes. The cayenne pepper really helps the congestion.

  • tcduong

    Definitely pho. Although as a DC transplant, I don’t know here to go in Oakland. My other curative is jook, Asian rice porridge. It’s best for stomach ailments because it won’t upset your stomach.

  • Okay, neighbor. Chai Yo? Hooray! I have two friends to whom I give the greeting, “Chai Yo!” whenever I see them. Complete with an arm wave reminiscent of the good luck cats that decorate the place. I miss the old decor– especially the tablecloths-under-glass which alternated cartoon cows chomping hay with the phrase “Milky Time!”

    I hope you’re feeling better now…


Jennifer Maiser

“My passion for food began young.”

I am the editor of the influential website which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers.

I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003.

I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, which was released in February 2010.

I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what’s in season and chatting with farmers.

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