Gogol Mogol

My grandma, Harriet, explained to me the Russian/Ukrainian home cold remedy Gogol Mogol. Because our family originated in Russia and Ukraine, this tradition had been passed down to my grandma. However, she didn’t find it effective so she didn’t use it on my mother, and therefore the tradition wasn’t carried on and I didn’t know about Gogol Mogol until she told me.

One makes Gogol Mogol by mixing up an egg yolk and a teaspoon of honey or sugar, and pouring it into a half cup of milk that’s been heated with butter. Sometimes people would add rum or a dash of some other type of alcohol, though I have no idea how that would aid the cold-curing process.

Ostensibly, gogol mogol is supposed to ease a sore throat and help cure cold-related insomnia. My grandma, in telling me about it, couldn’t stress enough that she thought the whole idea was ridiculous, which is a pretty common reaction to a lot of home remedies. I feel like the concept of home remedies in general is treated with skepticism, because people are nervous to trust anything that isn’t approved by the FDA or prescribed by a doctor. However, some people swear by home remedies, especially in other countries, and contrarily, fear and distrust doctors and modern medicine.

My grandma didn’t pass on the tradition, which highlights an important aspect of folklore. If a community or a person fails to carry on the tradition or pass on the piece of lore, it can very easily disappear. I was shocked that I’d never heard about gogol mogol before if it played such a role in my grandma’s childhood. I don’t plan on rekindling the tradition personally, because I agree with her in that it sounds unlikely that gogol mogol could realistically have that many healing properties.