Moving on from cooking basics, now we move onto their complementing art of beverages.
24 The Preparation of Drinks
Drinks are of two kinds, distilled or not. The latter may be fermented or not. Unfermented drinks are made by squeezing mudga beans [Phaseolus mungo], mango, or mulberry fruit, and adding sugar or tamarind fruit. Fermented drinks are made with palm wine [toddy], or wild fig wine [mahua]. When distilled, a liqueur is obtained that may be mild, medium or strong.
There’s almost as much to discuss about cocktails as there is for food, but since this is the day after a holiday and some may have attended a Halloween party or two last night, perhaps we should start at the end, so to speak, and talk about what to do if you’ve over-done it.
A hangover is brought on by 2 things: dehydration and excess stomach acid. In an ideal world we’d all be responsible and drink a glass of water (or two!) between cocktails to stay hydrated, not to mention a bottle of water and 2 aspirin before bed. But we don’t live in that ideal world and sometimes we get a little carried away and the next morning–whether it comes at 8 am or 2 pm–can be a bit of a bear.
(the following comes from a November, 2008, post from my Nibbles column at Random Acts Comics)
The other issue, the sour stomach of too much sugar sent down the pipe (again, alcohol is sugar, folks, all breaks down to the same carbs, carbs, carbs in the final equation), can be both more or less difficult to manage, depending on your point of view.
A lot of party-goers know that a stop by the local all-night drive through (or stumble-to, judging by my last such experience) will make one feel better. The reason this works is that the fat helps coat your stomach and protect it from some of that excess acid that gets churned up trying to deal with the excess sugars in your system. Plus the protein from a burger or chicken finger will give your body something else to work on in the interim.
When I was in culinary school the subject of drinking came up (go figure). You know why so many chef’s drink? It’s because you stare at food for hours and hours, late into the wee hours, and need to do something else when it’s all over (or to get through, depends on the chef); at least that was our chef’s position on the matter. As such, chef’s have a great wealth of ideas on how to get rid of (or prevent) a hangover. This was my favorite.
2 slices of good bread
Horseradish or mustard (optional)
Spread the butter on both sides of the bread and saute in a hot pan until golden, essentially making two large, French-style as opposed to salad style, croÃ»tons. Spread some mayo on one side of each crouton and layer on the smoked salmon and bacon. You can add horseradish sauce or mustard to taste, it’s up to you, but the butter, salmon and bacon really are the key parts due to the fat and protein gains. Eat up!
I’ve never actually had to make use of that recipe, but it’s nice to know I’ve got it in reserve.
There other prevailing theory on hangover cures seems to revolve around the idea of “hair of the dog” in one way or another.
First off is just to get up and keep drinking. Not necessarily a lot, just enough to take the edge off; a good time for a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Speaking of Bloody Mary’s, it occurs to me to wonder about adding more acid to an already roiling stomach. Aside from the nutrients and vitamins in the tomato juice (or o.j., for that matter), adding more acid is the hair of the dog, as well, just a different breed. But I still think water is the best thing to drink after a late night with one (or three) too many.
Another popular remedy that I hadn’t considered before is eating spicy food. Now, I don’t know about you but I’m not really down for Mexican or Thai when I’m feeling green, but some friends swear that the spices help to “sweat out” the toxins and speed the recovery process. I’ll leave that to them, frankly, and just try not to over-indulge in the first place.
Now that we’ve covered how to prevent and “treat” a hangover, next week we’ll talk about making the drinks that got us there!