#879: Tastebuds of steel

After a really bad week of coughs and congestion, I’m back on track (more or less). Functioning on about five hours of sleep a day is not too out-of-the-ordinary for me, but five hours of sleep after belly-busting coughing is never nice. The only good thing about getting through the worst cold/cough of my life is that I’ve been able to gain some understanding and perspective about a few things:

1) Quite a lot of people don’t know how to cover a cough in public. Personally, I still prefer to cover with my hand or a tissue, rather than use the less-effective elbow cough. Yet, when it comes to hand-coughing, I see so many people who think that they should be turning their hand into a megaphone. Let’s get this right: it should be a cupping motion, not an open O-shaped hand-funnel to spread the germs.

2) After you’ve been coughing for close to a month, you become an expert at self-diagnosis. In this age of Google, it’s easy for anyone to believe that they know almost as much as their family doctor. Pneumonia, bronchitis, pulmonary edema? You now know the symptoms and warning signals by heart. It’s also nice when helpful friends pass on useful information like this Cough Decision Tree.

3) There is a definite scale for cough medicines, in terms of taste. (Effectiveness, I’m not too sure about, as they seemed to blend into a blurry cocktail after a while.) Here’s where they stand for me, from best to worst-tasting medicines and remedies:

4) Even if they take a bit more effort, home remedies probably do just as much good, and taste almost just as bad. (My brew described below ranks just a notch above the NeoCitran. Just a notch.) Which brings me to #880 . . .

So I’d been making and drinking almost daily this super-strong ginger-lemon-honey brew to try to battle my cough and congestion. It’s a recipe that I tweaked over a week, in order to maximize the taste (and benefits). The ginger is so strong and spicy that after every sip I take, I can’t stop myself from calling out loud, “Yow!” or snapping my tongue in reaction. It’s a drink that makes adults say, “Wowzers!” But to the Boy? Doesn’t make a dent in his tastebuds. Out of curiosity (and because his cough was minor), he asked me if he could taste it. After the first sip, he smiled and said, “Ahh. Yummy. May I have more?”

He’s got tastebuds of steel, and thankfully, an immune system that is a little stronger than mine.


Recipe for Cold-Buster Ginger-Lemon-Honey Brew

> 2 average-sized ginger roots
> approximately 8 cups water

Peel and thinly slice ginger, then boil and simmer on medium heat for approximately 45 minutes.

Reserve ginger water. Run ginger slices through a juicer, to extract all ginger juice. Discard the pulp.

Combine the ginger water with the extracted ginger juice to make a “tea”. Add the following, and adjust to taste:

> juice from half a lemon
> 1 tbsp. honey