“Whenever anyone in our household would get sick, it didn’t really matter what kind of sickness you had, or at least that’s what I remember, but whenever you got sick you were immediately put on a diet of chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers, and ginger ale.”
I collected this piece of folklore during an interview at the informant’s house. My informant is an African American who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. My informant also said that this remedy was used for anything from a fever and a stomach ache to chicken pox and the measles.
It is not uncommon in American folklore for chicken soup to be the go-to meal when someone, in particular a child, is sick. Ginger ale is also common to use to help with stomach issues like indigestion. So, both of these foods are widespread in their use as a folk remedy for illnesses. Saltine crackers are also a folk remedy to deal with an upset stomach. All of these foods are meant to help with common illnesses by using food easily accessible instead of buying western medicine which in the case of children, especially young children, these foods may be preferable to giving them over-the-counter drugs. It also may just be less expensive to give them these comfort foods when they are ill.