Today is New Year’s day, the 1st of January, the first day of the new decade, 2020 and on this momentous day how will most of us be feeling?
The after-effects of last night, New Year’s Eve, are still upon us – headache, nausea, body ache etc. – and many of us will be willing to do whatever it takes to cure the raging hangover. To save you the trouble, I have found and tested hangover cures from around the world so you know which ones are best for you. I will be taking you from America to Tunisia as we explore the good, the bad and the ugly in an attempt to clear our head from last night’s chaos.
One way or another, we will be welcoming in 2020 without a headache…
1. Raw Eggs – America
Drinking raw eggs to cure a hangover, and to help build muscle, has become a recurring trope in TV and Film, as seen in blockbusters Rocky and Back to the Future. However, just drinking raw eggs was not how this hangover cure originally started. Originating from the USA, this cure was once called the Prairie Oyster and was often made with the yolk alone, not the white included. Salt, pepper, vinegar and/or hot sauce and Worcester sauce would then be added and the concoction would be drunk in one go. However, the idea of eggs helping hangovers can be dated back to as far as the 1800s. In The Natural History of Pliny Vol.5, Pliny (the Elder) claims that: ‘the eggs of an owlet administrated to drunkards […] are productive of a distaste for that liquor’.
If you ask me, I would prefer the liquor over the egg any day.
2. Katerfruhstuck and Roll Mops – Germany
Katerfrühstück, or ka-ta-froo-sh-tuk, is the German’s take on hangover cures and, unsurprisingly, it is the embodiment of tough love. Meaning “hangover breakfast”, Katerfrühstück contains rollmops which are made of pickled herring and a savoury filling, such as gherkin or green olive. The herring is wrapped around the filling, stuck together with a cocktail stick and sometimes accompanied by onion or on bread. Rollmops, in particular, eating pickled herring, dates back to Medieval Northern Europe but grew in popularity during the Biedermeier period of the early 19th Century (1815-1848). During this time, a long-range rail network was developed allowing the herring to be transported from the North Baltic seas to the centre of Germany. Now easily accessible, pickled herring and Rollmops have become a popular snack but not in this household!
3. Umeboshi – Japan
Umeboshi, or preserved plums, come from Japan and, although apparently cure hangovers, are a popular ingredient in everyday Japanese cuisine, such as Onigiri (rice balls), and are sometimes served as a side dish. The ume, or plums, are more closely related to apricots and are a strain of plums unique to Japan. They are harvested around June, when they ripen, and are then packed into barrels with salt where they are kept for a minimum of two weeks. For a hangover cure, it is recommended to eat one before you sleep, with plenty of water. It will ferment in your stomach and aid in the digestion of alcohol however, just because the Japanese like them, it won’t mean you will. Umeboshi are extremely sour, salty and bitter with a citric acid content so high that they were notorious for eating through aluminum lunchboxes in the 1960s.
4. Green Tea – China
Green Tea is the oldest hangover cure that I am aware of, dating back to ancient Chinese history. Although it has proven to have been popular in 12th Century China, during the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), Green Tea is believed to have been present as far back as 200 to 250CE. Allegedly, Green Tea was mentioned for its health benefits in Shennong Ben Cao Jing – a Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants at the time. Although the book is no longer available, it is said to have been comprised of three volumes with over 365 entries. Over the years, Green Tea has obtained an almost mythical status with people helps cure cancer, Alzheimers and fat loss. According to Healthline.com, it is the healthiest beverage in the world. For the best taste, it is recommended to use loose leaf green tea rather than tea bags.
5. Shakshuka – Tunisia
Shakshuka, also known as Shakshouka, is a beautiful hangover cure from Tunisia and is Arabic for ‘mixed up’ and ‘stick together’. This dish has been around for centuries and consists of eggs poached in a spicy tomato stew. Over the years, many variations have been created such as the addition of lamb mince from Turkey or a spicy, vegetarian alternative for the Jewish Communities in the Ottoman Maghreb. Experimentation is encouraged with this hangover cure and, although tomatoes are the main base of this meal, other ingredients such as peppers, red onion, mince, eggplant, paprika, cayenne and greek yogurt can be added. Once you have cooked your concoction, poach the eggs in the mixture and serve. In Israel, they really mix things up by scrambling the eggs afterwards!
6. Full English Breakfast – The United Kingdom
In the UK, after a heavy night on the town, we drown our sorrows with tea and a Full-English breakfast. Typically, this consists of toast with sausages, bacon and eggs with the addition of beans, hash browns, fried tomato and/or mushrooms. It can be dated back to the 1300s when the Gentry, the cultural heirs to the Anglo-Saxons, started the tradition before it was then adopted by the Victorians and the Edwardians. But why so much fatty food? Consuming alcohol produces something called Galanin which craves and encourages the consumption of fatty foods. This substance quickly breaks down the alcohol in your system and the fats, proteins and carbs soak up the remaining Jager Bomb from the night before – making this cure one of the best. For vegetarian alternatives, why not try garlic roasted mushrooms, green beans and asparagus, homemade potato rostis or fried halloumi.
Just as effective but without the guilt.
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