What to Eat in New York When You’re Sick


Salt Boy has laryngitis. Which probably means I’ll have it soon. I’m laying in a big batch of soup and sorbet, just in case. I’ve put a lot of thought into mitigating the symptoms of cold and flu season, since I basically get everyone’s colds. Here’s the game plan.

Step 1: Embrace Delivery Culture

I’ve been known to order california and cucumber rolls just so I can ingest them with too much wasabi dissolved in the soy sauce. Plus it often comes with Miso Soup. There’s a place across the street from our apartment that will hand you a quart vat of chinese noodle soup with bok choi, roasted pork and wontons. The Thai places will often sell you Tom Kha (spelling may vary), a soup made with chicken, coconut milk, lemongrass and galangal, which is rich, tangy and creamy but contains no dairy (important when phlemmy).

Step 2: Things to Make at Home

The Ginger Chicken Soup

Go to Trader Joe’s. Buy mirepoix, garlic, lemons, boxed organic stock x2, ground ginger from the spice aisle, noodles, and a pack of chicken breast. Or have forethought and have this in the house already at time of illness.

Pro tip: Trader Joe’s will sell you a cheater quart container of already-diced mirepoix. It is made for “I’m sick and I need soup.” We pop one of these in the freezer once a month or so and it holds up remarkably well for soup purposes. You could do the same with minced garlic, fresh lemon juice and chicken breast if you take your sick-preparation really seriously.

Sautee mirepoix plus at least 4 cloves of minced/crushed garlic in a pot with olive oil. Deglaze with 2 units of stock. Add bay leaf, at least 2 lemons worth of juice, and at least 2 tablespoons of POWDERED ginger. Adjust with salt and pepper. If you like, add noodles. Also if you like, sous vide some chicken breast and add the shredded chicken breast to the bowl at time of service.

Influenza Sorbet 

(Lazily adapted from Jeni’s Splendid. She has a delightful cookbook out now.)

I should remember to make a quart of this every November, and then it’s just there when the inevitable virus strikes.

Combine 2 cups orange juice, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 tsp powdered ginger, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 4 tbps bourbon, 1/4 tsp xanthan gum in a bowl. Stick blender into submission (until everything seems combined). Chill for 2 hours. Spin in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you have no ice cream maker, make granita: pour the mixture into a wide baking dish and put it in the freezer. Set a timer for 30 minutes and scrape with a fork every time the timer goes off. Stop when it reaches a consistency that you like. Alternately, freeze in ice cube trays and then pulverize in a food processor. Pack it back in a freezer-compatible container and freeze. Administer medicinally when “needed.”