sick food

I wish I meant “sick” here like a really excited teenager eating Five Guys, but I don’t. I mean sick, sick.

No one’s gotten too sick so far (knock, knock), but there’s been a lot of medium sick going on around here. 99 degree fevers. Sore throats that turn into belly aches and then just go ahead and get better on their own. One puke and then total restoration to health. I’m grateful, but I know that sickness is hitting a lot of people hard these days, so I thought we’d do a little sick food roundup of the things that make us feel better.

Of course I’m no doctor, but I’m a mom and I’ve got that going for me. So here we go.

1. Congee. You could make it fancy, like this, or go super basic, like the pot above that’s on my stove right now. That one is just one cup of white rice and 10 cups of water, brought to a boil, covered, and simmered for about 90 minutes. It warms the belly, and is pretty much good nourishment for any of the 77 bugs going around right now. It’s nice to have a big plain pot of it, and then those who are sick can have it straight up with a touch of butter, and those who want something more exciting can add whatever they like. (Chicken! Kimchi! Poached egg! Hot sauce!)

2. Peach Pit Tea. The cure-all. Throw in a finger of ginger if the tummy bug is the disease of choice. Of course, you had to have saved your peach pits to be ready for this. There’s always next year.

3. Maple Custard. Goes down easy, gives a bit of protein and strength, and makes kids happy when you give it to them in a little mason jar.

4. Chicken Soup with Dumplings. Don’t make this if you’re the sick one! It involves far too much chopping and stirring. But if you are well, and especially if the bug in your household is a respiratory/ cold type of nasty, this is your soup that will keep you healthy and make the sick ones happy.

5. Garlic Lemonade. Preventative as well as extra soothing for the congested/ respiratory ailers. Don’t be put off by the name–it’s quite yummy.

6. Fruit Tapioca. Equally good for the hot and feverish, sore throat sufferers, and tummy bug victims. Again, happiness in a mason jar.

7. Naked Crackers. If there’s a tummy bug that requires saltines, this is an excellent and more delicious substitute.

Sending lots of wishes for good health out to you. xo




  1. says

    Love it! We’ve had the real deal sick around here–fevers, runny noses, head aches, belly aches, you name it. I made a version of congee last night–homemade chicken stock, a little shaved carrot, some dried ginger, garlic, and arborio rice simmered within an inch of it’s life. I also make a cold-kicker tea: hot water, a half inch grated ginger, juice from one lemon, honey and a splash of whiskey for the grown-ups.

    I’m super intrigued by the peach pit tea!

    • alana says

      Ha- yes- I left out whiskey! A good hot toddy definitely belongs on this list. And do try the peach pit tea if you come into a wealth of peaches next summer! Totally wonderful.

  2. Amy J. says

    We’re in the throes of the respiratory, sore throat, sinus bug here and it doesn’t want to go 7 for me and my daughter had it too…ugh! I’ve been drinking lots of tea with honey, homemade chicken broth & anything else I can think of that will help. Will try some of these too. Thanks!

    • alana says

      Oh, Amy- I’m sorry to hear it. Try the garlic lemonade–it’s pretty magical! Sending lots of healthy wishes your way…

  3. narf7 says

    The more I hear about how EVERYONE is coming down with this flu, the more I know that Australia is going to be knocked out by it in our comming winter. It hones its claws on you guys (and Europe…it’s all over the place there as well apparently…this is a flu doozie year!) and then comes over here cruising for a bruising with enormous steroid pumped biceps…sigh…lucky I am drinking all of those green smoothies! (I bet the superbug doesn’t like spinach 😉 )

    • alana says

      We’ll do our best to put this bug in it’s place before it gets to you! But in the mean time, the green smoothies sound like an excellent idea. :)

    • Susan says

      I don’t like the looks of your dry summer for us here in the USA – last summer was bad enough in Colorado…maybe both your flu season and our summer won’t be as bad as we fear!

  4. says

    Do I ever wish I’d had the Garlic Lemonade last week! Gave myself a gawd-awful sinus mess by breathing in too much basement dust, trying to clean-up for planting the seedlings in a few weeks…Noted for next time. Will also save the peach pits!
    Hope everyone is well, and the really ugly bugs pass your house by completely.

    • alana says

      Oh, yes- try the garlic lemonade! It’s so good- we even drink it sometimes when we’re NOT sick. And I’ve done the very same thing with basement dust- that’s the worst! Nice though, to think of those seedlings coming in so soon…

  5. says

    This post came at the most perfect time… So far, warding off the plague that has been hitting everyone around here has been mostly successful. I’m looking forward to trying a few of these recipes, regardless. : )

    • alana says

      Garlic lemonade is pretty great for prevention– I always get a pot going when everyone around us starts falling. I hope the plague stays away from you guys- good luck!

  6. Lisa Moran says

    so sorry your family is sick! No fun! Quick question for you: could I make the custard in the jars from my yogurt maker? Would they do ok in the oven? I’m anxious to give that custard a try.
    Sending well-wishes your way.

    • alana says

      Thank you, Lisa! Everyone seems on the mend today, so I’ll be thankful for the day! Eurocuisine doesn’t recommend those cups for the oven, so I’d look for something else. Do you have little ramekins? Even some bowls are oven safe– usually they’ll say so on the bottom.

      • Lisa Moran says

        Thanks for the info! Glad I asked before I put them in the oven. Will get those little mason jars—they are adorable!!

  7. Monica says

    Hi, I just bought your cookbook, and I LOVE IT! I was always a homemade cook, but your recipes have inspired me to try new homemade things (ie, just made the toaster pastries this morning for breakfast- YUMMM!)! All of your recipes I’ve tried so far have been perfect; thank you so much for writing it (I love the stories that go with each recipe)!!

  8. says

    Garlic lemonade sounds amazing! I feel like I’ve been warding something off for a few weeks now. I’ve never heard of peach pit tea–I’m going to save my pits this summer for sure!

  9. Kimberly says

    So sorry to hear you are all sick :-(( It really is going around. We’re in Rochester, NY and everyone is sick. I’m sold on the maple custard :-) Question though, I’ve only got 1% milk in the fridge. Will that work, or not really? Thanks in advance!

  10. Susan says

    WOW! Tried and true “folk remedies”…I can’t wait to try some – hopefully I’ll remember them when my family isn’t feeling well.
    Hope all are better at your house!

  11. Erin says

    i can’t remember exactly when in the last year, but i read about peach pit tea here and made sure to save some pits, just in case. so far none of us have been sick until the last couple days when the baby developed an earache :(

  12. says

    I think we are the only home in Michigan who has not been invaded by noro-virus this season (knock on wood). I’m totally that lady that won’t let you in my house if you think you are getting sick or if you say “I’m on the upswing.” NOT in my house!!

    However, being healthy did not stop me from making maple custard this weekend, and it was amazing. I can only imagine how comforting it must be when you are sick! Thank you!!

  13. says

    Oh I’m excited to try the Garlic Lemonade. I’m currently enamored with Rosemary Gladstar’s Onion Honey sryup which you can add garlic to, but anything zesty sweet is a-okay in my book!

  14. Ruth says

    I have been reading your blog for a short while now and LOVE what you share about yourself and your cooking. Thank you!
    I printed your fruit tapioca recipe when I first came across it, but just made it now that your post reminded me of it. Next thing you know the little one came down with his second stomach bug of 2013 and so I made the first congee of my life today! Soooo yummy and warming. The little one didn’t like it (a texture thing maybe) but us grown ups – hmmmmmm! We added olive oil sauteed garlic and leftover edamame for lunch and chicken and veggies for dinner. And we didn’t catch it from him.
    I’ll have to save the peach pits this summer, I had never heard of peach pit tea!
    Thank you for this awesome and generous compile and I hope everyone in your house is getting better!

  15. says

    Hi Alana,

    I just wanted to let you know that the link to “Garlic Lemonade” in your recipe index takes you to a different recipe. The link in this posts brings you to the right place though.

    And it is tasty! Also doing good things for the nasty cough that has settled into my chest. Thanks for that.

  16. says

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