Cold comfort food

What's on your shopping list when you have a cold

Image credit: chicken noodle soup by stu_spivack on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

You know the feeling. You’re minding your own business, when all of a sudden you realize your throat is a little scratchy. Not longer after this realization, you remember you have been a little sneezier than usual in the cubicle farm. Then you know. You are the next victim of the plague that’s been going around the office: You have a cold.

You know what’s going to happen next. Within the next 24 hours you’re going to feel awful. In 24 hours your two best friends are going to be a box of facial tissues and a container to throw the used ones away in. So, you start the list of things you’re going to get at the store on the way home: facial tissues, decongestant, pain reliever, saline nasal spray.

You also know that you’re probably not going to be able to leave the house for several days and you’re not going to want to do much cooking. What do you add to your list?

Well a few days ago when I got that old familiar feeling, here was the list I made:

  • Chicken noodle soup. In a can. Anyone who claims they take chicken carcasses they keep in their freezer for just such an occasion and make a fresh batch of chicken broth for soup is a damn liar because everyone knows you don’t have the energy to comb your hair when you’re sick, let alone do culinary wrangling. (Or that person is Martha Stewart, and what she really means when she says she makes from scratch chicken soup when she’s sick is, “I have my staff make me a fresh batch of chicken soup when I’m sick.”)
  • Jell-O. Ready to eat in those cute little cups. Preferably something in the red flavor category. (Feverish side note: I remember my mom making us drink warm Jell-O water when we were sick on the advice of our pediatrician. Anyone else do that? No, just us? Moving on…)
  • Mashed potatoes. Instant. Warm, salty and sore-throat soothing. Bonus: This meal takes less than five minutes from dinner to nap.
  • Mac ‘n’ cheese. In a microwavable cup with a dried cheese packet inside. For when you’ve reached the next step in the recovery process and you need to chew your food or you’ll go crazy (but nothing too hard because your throat is still too ouchy).

What about you? What are your go-to sick time foods? I’m on the mend but I’m open to expanding my simple carb repertoire for the next time around!