Recently I sent a message out to my friends on Facebook asking what they like to eat when they're not feeling well. The way I see it, there are three kinds of not feeling well. Headaches (I get the migraine kind), colds/sinus infections, and stomach issues are another. I guess just being down in the dumps or having the blues, as I often refer to it, is a fourth kind. So I'm adjusting my previous statement - there are four kinds of not feeling well.
When I have a headache, I'm often not hungry. The headache can lead into nausea, so situations one and three can morph from time to time. But typically in those cases, I end up just picking at food, not really eating anything of worth (and probably not anything that's actually too good for me). When it comes to stomach issues, Campbell's Chicken and Noodle (or Rice) Soup is a winner. Actually, Campbell's Alphabet Soup (I'm not sure what the official title is) with a splash of milk and some crushed up saltines wins in any situation, regardless of the ailment.
When feeling blue, the only solution is plain old comfort food. Down here in Austin, a great and cheap option is the "veggie" plate at Luby's. If you've ever seen King of the Hill when they go to a big cafeteria style restaurant with a bunch of blue-haired bitties...that's Luby's. It's extremely busy in the late afternoon....prime dinner time for the walker set. Their veggie plate includes three "vegetables" (which basically just means "non-meat"). I usually will choose two helpings of mac and cheese and one of fried okra (now you see why I put the word vegetables in quotes).
A small digression, I remember the first time I saw mac and cheese listed as a "vegetable" on a menu. There was this small Southern restaurant around the corner from my house in Park Slope, Brooklyn. This restaurant was as authentic as it could be in NYC, where the female chef walked around in her boots, played Lucinda Williams on the music system, and cooked some mean Southern comfort food. Delish. I believe it was there that I was first amused by a restaurant listing mac and cheese as a "vegetable." Sadly, that restaurant (as many in the high turnover neighborhood of Park Slope) didn't last, and I believe it has since been a wide variety of institutions including a sushi place, some sort of fusion restaurant, and a coffee bar.
But back to the "not feeling so hot" food parade. When I asked my friends what they recommend, there was an interesting array of responses. One friend suggested that hot Dr. Pepper with lemon is a great sore throat cure. (I can't believe I didn't try it a couple weeks ago when I had the worst sore throat. I'm sure there will be another opportunity.) There were the obligatory "chicken soup" responses, which, let's face it, is a good answer to just about any ill...book titles notwithstanding.
Now I've been sick for close to three weeks, so my culinary muscles are not so much looking for ways to flex. I have been leaning on cold fast food treats (frosties, ice cream sundae-type things, and so on). But tonight, I actually opened up a can or three. Back to my low-energy, no frills, feel better meal - a can of black beans, a can of corn niblets, and a can of tuna...plus a little House dressing (Good Seasons Italian Dressing) okay, a lot. Some Diet Coke and grapes, and a meal is made.
Wow...I sure am a gourmande.
4 hours ago