USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘hangover cure’
Folk medicine
Foodways

Papa Soup: Colombian Comfort Soup

Recipe:

  1. Long onions scallions
  2. Potatoes sliced in cubes
  3. Eggs
  4. Hot water

Boil potatoes add scallions mix eggs in add salt to taste.

Background:

“I learned this recipe from my grandmother. I was born in Colombia and raised by my grandmother there for the first several years of my life. She would make this for me when I was sick. It is also supposed to be a good hangover cure, but I was never hungover. I make it for my kids now whenever they are sick.”

The informant is 55, from Medellin, Colombia. She now resides in Southern California.

My Analysis:

This is a very simple recipe with nearly no instructions. It is easy to make, so easy that a sick person could probably cook it for themselves. The fact that my informant’s grandmother would make it for her and she now makes it for her family members when they get sick shows that the people who make this recipe value service. Even if it is not a grand gesture, this simple soup makes a meaningful gift to friends and family when they are ill.

Folk medicine
general

Folk Remedy

“Everybody has their own cure for a hangover, but I swear by mine: cranberry juice like Oceanspray because the sugar made it easier to drink and a plain bagel- not toasted.”

Paula was born in Northridge, California and has three older sisters. She learned of this hangover remedy from her eldest sister, Susan, who had learned it from their mother. Paula and her sisters grew up in a household that avoided taking medication whenever it wasn’t absolutely necessary. So on the occasion that the girls had a hangover while still living at home, they always drank “an ice cold glass of cranberry juice” and ate a plain bagel. The logic was “that if we drank something sugary we would have a better chance of finishing it and it would better hydrate us. The bagel was to absorb the alcohol.” Now she still follows the same remedy, but for different reasons, when she needs it and she also passed it along to her children. Paula now explained that she still drinks cranberry juice because although it does hydrate her, the sugar also balances out her blood sugar. As for the bagel she explained, “I think my mother was just trying to get us to eat something, she always thought it was best to start out the day with something light. But I do feel like a bagel actually does serve as a great remedy for a hangover!”

Folk Medicine is a universal thing because everyone gets sick with the same illnesses and tries to find their own relief. Though certain parts of the world may grow a certain plant that is unavailable elsewhere and so their remedy is isolated, the idea that people search for remedies is a frequent thing. Who doesn’t have a hangover remedy? The notion that everyone creates their own concoction for a hangover is a powerful notion, it says a lot about people’s constant and persistent drive to find cures and better our lives. It’s a great accomplishment to say that everyone has a remedy because it diffuses power equally. People trust their friends and family and when it is possible to utilize those sources for a health concern rather than a multi-billion dollar corporation it is a nice change from the normal top-down system. The notion of folk medicine truly emphasizes how folklore is a horizontal method of communication.

Foodways

Remedy – Mexican

Menudo Mornings

Each holiday my family gets together and drinks too much tequila. According to Mexican tradition, menudo is the best hangover cure. Each holiday it is a different sibling’s turn to make the pot of menudo for the rest of the family.

Julie’s family is of Mexican decent, and many of them only recently came to America.  Since much of her family grew up in Mexico, they like to incorporate Mexican tradition into their American traditions.  Menudo Mornings occur the morning after each major holiday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc. The holiday it’s self is usually celebrated in an American fashion, but Menudo Mornings is Julie’s family’s way of incorporating their Mexican heritage.

Menudo Mornings itself is not a Mexican tradition, but involves many aspects of Mexican culture, and has become a tradition of Julie’s family.  By bringing Mexican culture into American traditions, it is a ways to establish and preserve their identity as Mexican.  The tradition begins with drinking tequila for each holiday.  Many people drink on holidays, but tequila is a Mexican drink, so they are only drinking from their culture.  The second half of the tradition is eating menudo the next morning.  Menudo is a Mexican dish and it is Mexican tradition to eat menudo to cure a hang over.

They involve the whole family in this tradition.  The children who are not hung over because they are too young to drink still get involved the next morning.  The children help whoever has the duty of making the menudo.  They also take part in eating it even though they are not hung over.  This allows every member of the family to take part in the Mexican tradition and establish their identity as a Mexican.

Folk medicine
Homeopathic

Folk Medicine – American

When you have had a long night of drinking and wake up with a massive hangover and feel like crap the only cure is to have a drink of whatever kicked your ass the night before.

According to Bryan the remedy to any hangover is basically to drink whatever caused the hangover in the first place. If, for example, a person spent the night doing tequila shots then the only way to feel any better is to have a tequila shot when you wake up in the morning. Bryan swears by this remedy and says it has worked for him several times in the past.

The first time he learned about this hangover cure was shortly after he started drinking. His first hangover was pretty rough and his older brother told him to drink whatever he had the night before. Bryan says that he did not feel better immediately but after a few hours he started to feel better. On subsequent experiences with the remedy he says he began feeling better sooner and sooner.

I have encountered many hangover remedies including: hot toddy, bloody Mary, tap water, hamburgers. Bryan has tried almost all of these and has had the most success with drinking whatever he had the night before. The only pitfall he admitted to running into using this remedy is when he drinks so much that he has no idea what he actually drank the night before. In these cases he says that it just does not work. He believes himself to be a bad guesser and when he has to guess what he drank the night before because he forgot he says he usually gets it wrong and the remedy does not work.

I think the remedy works on a psychological level in that it makes one feel better about the chances of getting over a hangover more quickly. On a physical level, I am not so sure it provides anything beneficial to an already injured body. That does not mean that it is not effective. An illness is more than physical. Although modern western medicine treats every illness with some sort of cure to the body, the mind itself also contributes to wellness and recovery from illness. If more benefit can be gained from being in a better psychological state of mind as opposed to being more hydrated or medicated then it might be better to think drinking the cause of your hangover for breakfast will cure you.

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