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Recipes and Remedies to Tame a Spring Cold

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By Patricia Reilly, Epicurious

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What foods and drinks do you turn to when combating a cold? April is turning out to be the cruelest month in a while for sniffles and scratchy throats here in the office. No serious suffering, mind you, just low-grade discomfort, and perhaps worse in a bevy of food editors, the woolly deadening of the palate.

I have yet to find a chicken soup I truly love (so much for my soul). And having missed my annual ritual dram of Irish Coffee last month, I'm seriously considering compensating with a double Hot Toddy tonight. But first I'm going to take a tip from my colleagues, who kindly shared their time-tested cold remedies and personal picks for health-promoting foods:

Honey and more honey: "I believe pretty strongly in the power of raw local honey to fight colds. I can only speak anecdotally, of course, but it usually works for me," Lauren Salkeld advises. Kerry Acker and Esther Sung echo the benefits of the sweet amber stuff, especially in Ginger Tea--laced with loads of lemon juice chez Acker.

Ginger: Speaking of ginger, Siobhan Adcock relies on drinking "a good amount of ginger ale on ice.... The fizziness and the ginger soothe my stomach, the coolness feels good on a scratchy throat, and there's just enough sugar to give me a little energy boost without the crash or the dehydrating effects of caffeine."

Spicy soups and sauce: "For me, a bowl of pasta with a lot of garlicky tomato sauce--and, if I can stomach it, hot red pepper--seems to fix me up," says editorial production manager Michele Zotos. "I'm not sure if the ingredients have to do with it, or that it's something my mom would have cooked and I feel psychologically nurtured. If I'm badly congested and have a bad cough, I have miso soup and sushi with a lot of wasabi or whatever they are using that poses as wasabi, as long as it's hot." Acker concurs: "I'm all about hot and spicy soups, especially pho."

Tincture tip: "I swear by Quantum Cold & Flu tincture. I keep a bottle on me at all times," confides "Ask Kemp" Minifie. "The minute I notice the slightest tickle in my throat, a sneeze, or if I'm feeling particularly cold, I take it. I think it's telling that my daughters swear by it, too..... Some people find it too unpleasant a taste, but I've come to like it. You put two or three eyedroppers full of the stuff in a glass of water and drink it down."

Armed with all these suggestions, I think I'm feeling better--and hungrier--already. Ginger, honey, lemon, garlic, and hot peppers are all appealing ingredients. Do you know of other remedies and recipes that do the trick when you're under the weather?

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