cold season

I encountered 28 students in classes and lessons yesterday. Without actually having kept a tally, I would guess that 23 of them had a cold of some kind.

I know I can’t catch it that quickly, but Only Daughter was “catching” a cold last Friday, and by the end of the day last night it was quite clear that I had been contaminated. I’m sure this was helped along by things like the fact that I’m such a terrible mom I forget to give a sick child their own glass in the bathroom, and by habits of hers like eating Black Forest ham® right out of the bag in between sneezing and coughing all over herself (isn’t that charming).

ANYWAY, I promptly made my cold remedy, and Husband and I both drank some last night, and this morning I barely feel anything at all. I mean in terms of cold symptoms. (I did have a second, enhanced, dose, with a healthy splooch of Southern Comfort in it, so I have improved significantly more than my teetotalling (ha!) husband, but am not, despite previous implications, numb.)

Here’s the recipe:

Put 6-8 c. of water in a large saucepan. (depending on how sick you feel, you might want to make the larger amount)


6-8 thin (butnottoothin) slices of lemon (throw in the slice from the end too; most of the good stuff in a lemon is in the peel* anyway)

a 1″ chunk of fresh ginger, sliced (you want at least 2 T. worth of ginger)

4-6 pieces of stick cinnamon, broken into bits (I beat mine into slivers by balancing the cinnamon stick across the top of a small mortar and poking/pounding it with the pestle; it’s very cathartic, and not too much work to collect the shards from all over your kitchen)

7-10 whole cloves

1 T. whole coriander seeds

(I’ve made this, in emergencies, with powdered ginger and ground coriander, but it gets kind of sludgy — okay if you don’t mind “drinking” it with a spoon; and I don’t think it works as well. Keep these ingredients on hand throughout the winter; I cut the ginger into chunks and store them in a plastic bowl in my freezer and buy the cinnamon sticks in big bags from somewhere like Penzey’s Spices.)

Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a REALLY low simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve. Drink 1/2 – 1 c. hot every 2 hours with a nice squeeze of honey. (Whiskey doesn’t hurt either.) DON’T DECIDE TO BLAST YOUR COLD WITH AN HERBAL REMEDY ATOMIC BOMB AND DRINK IT ALL AT ONCE. You will have a stomach ache like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not telling how I know this.

Make this and start drinking it at the first sign of an oncoming cold — you know that throat tickle, fuzzy-head, nose-just-starting-to-drip time. If you do, you can often beat it completely within 24 hours. If you make it later, it helps a little, but your cold will still run a fairly normal course.

*Is that how you spell peel? English is such a weird language. Which reminds me: Should I be concerned that I was helping Only Daughter with her spelling homework yesterday and didn’t recognize the word “kneed” as an actual word? And why are they called knees, anyway? And who thought of knitting?

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