Hair of the Dog, and Other Cures Tanya Steel, editor in chief of Epicurious dot com, talks about inventive ways to fight that New Year's Day hangover.
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Hair of the Dog, and Other Cures

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Hair of the Dog, and Other Cures

Hair of the Dog, and Other Cures

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JOE PALCA, host:

And if the dulcet tones of public radio aren't enough to ease your New Year's hangover, the foody Web site has another remedy. They've completed a list of culinary cures for the nagging headache and the woozy stomach and the swimming head.

Warning, this is not science.

Give us a call with your hangover cures. Our number is (800)989-8255, that's (800)989-TALK. Our e-mail address is

And here to share with us some of the cures, if you can call it that, for a hangover is Tanya Steele, the editor of Epicurious. She's with us by phone from her home in New York. Thanks for joining us.

Ms. TANYA STEELE ( Oh, my pleasure, Joe.

PALCA: So, how did you put this list together?

Ms. STEELE: Through a lot of experience, I tell you.

PALCA: This is all yours, then.

Ms. STEELE: Well, luckily it's not. I'm happy to say I haven't had a hangover in quite a while, but I do have a staff who is passionate about eating and drinking. And so we compiled a list of 17 homemade remedies and then we asked our users to compile their own lists of hangover remedies in our Epicurious recipe swap forum on the site.

And we've got over 40 so far. Very, very interesting ones that I've never heard of, like pickle juice and sauerkraut water, ooh.

PALCA: Well, wait a minute, are you supposed to take this in or just look at it?

Ms. STEELE: Or, yes, you drink, yup, the sauerkraut water. Apparently that really helps. Pickle juice apparently really helps. One that I really love is the prairie oyster which is an old-fashioned remedy, that people in America used to do and it sounds very Rocky Balboa to me. It's two raw eggs with a dash of Tabasco and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, so. Ooh.

PALCA: How many of these have you actually tested?

Ms. STEELE: Well, we've tested about over 20. So, we know, you know for me, my favorite has always been the English fry-ups, you know, the eggs and the sausage and the potatoes. And it turns out that there's a reason for that. The fat and the protein and the carbohydrates from such a meal actually helps to correct your blood sugar. And that's one of the most important things you need to do today for many of your listeners who probably do have hangovers. Correcting your blood sugar levels, evening them out with a meal is very, very helpful.

PALCA: Well, we'd like to ask our listeners if they've had any experiences that they care to share. Please, no illegal substances as a way of curing a hangover, but if you have a good idea that you'd like to share, call us at 800-989-8255 or send an e-mail to

And let's take a call now from Holly in Liberty, Missouri. Holly, welcome to the program.

HOLLY (Caller): Thank you very much.

PALCA: What's your technique?

HOLLY: A couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and hot water. Does that sound good?

PALCA: Well, why?

HOLLY: I don't know. Someone told me this when I was perhaps before the age of 21 and I tried it and it works like a charm. It tastes a little bit like miso soup.

PALCA: I mean, not, and you haven't just tried putting salt into a glass of warm water?

HOLLY: No, that's disgusting.

PALCA: Oh, all right. Well, since you put it that way. And I'm just curious, how long has it been since you've been forced to try this remedy?

HOLLY: Well, I stopped drinking three years ago. So that's probably the most Hassle-free way to handle such a thing.

PALCA: Well, I'm sure that there's health benefits to that as well, so probably - and it certainly cuts down on your soy sauce bill.

HOLLY: Yes, absolutely.

PALCA: All right. Well, Holly, thanks very much for that call.

Tanya, what did you think was the most modern of these cures, because there are always cures that seem, as you say, they go back into history? But are there any, you know, that are taking advantage of these new modern food products that we have access to?

Ms. STEELE: You know, that's a very interesting point. The answer in short is no. It seems like everyone has kind of reached back to something that you know, their grandmother did or something that they heard about when they were traveling in Hungary or some kind of strange, you know, amorphous story emerges. So it doesn't seem like people really take advantage of the modern cures. They do harken back to the old things.

Actually, New Orleans, one thing that, speaking of soup, that's very popular, is doing something that Holly was just talking about. There's something called the Crescent City cure, which is known as yaka mein or old sober. And in a lot of neighborhoods, actually, ones that have now been destroyed by Katrina, you could go into a bodega and ask for an old sober. And what it was, was spaghetti with some meat, usually beef or pork chops, and some boiled eggs. And there was often the amalgam of, again, the protein and the carbs and the fat really did help people feel better.

PALCA: Well, I'm prepared to share with America one of the things that I was told worked. I'm not prepared to swear that it does work, but I don't know if you've ever heard this, but there's a dish of a tripe stew. It's not the singing group but it's a stew called menudo. And supposedly -

Ms. STEELE: Yes.

PALCA: - you're supposed to eat that on New Year's Day because it will cure what ails you. I don't know, have you heard of that?

Ms. STEELE: Yes, I have. Actually, that's one of the remedies that we talk about on Epicurious. All those soups - the Mexican menudo and the Korean sul long tang, ramen, duck soup, you know, Vietnamese pho - all those soups really do help, because they're rehydrating us, because one of the problems that you have when you do have a hangover is you are very dehydrated. So, obviously, the best cure of all is drink a lot of water both before you go to bed and when you get up.

I think probably the most interesting remedy that one of our users has posted is burnt marshmallows.

PALCA: Burnt marshmallows.

Ms. STEELE: Yes. Apparently, she tried this on a camping trip and - after consuming a lot of tequila - and it really worked. And then she told a girlfriend, and her girlfriend did it. Now does it apparently often. And essentially what you're doing is you're charring the marshmallow, eating the charred bit. And if you continue to do that and if you eat up to two marshmallows, apparently, your hangover is done.

PALCA: Interesting. We're talking with Tanya Steele, editor of about hangover cures. Our number is 800-989-8255, if you care to share a hangover cure with us. And now we're entering today's lightning round where we're going to try and talk to as many people who have cures to share as we possibly can in the remaining four minutes and 52 seconds.

So we start with Mary Anne in Cleveland, Ohio. Mary Anne, what's your cure?

MARY ANNE (Caller): Hi. I don't know how scientific it is, but it seems to me that dehydration is the whole thing behind hangovers. And so what I do is drink a large amount of water right before I go to bed, causing me to have to urinate in the middle of the night, and then drink a big glass of water every time you wake up, hopefully visiting the bathroom a couple of times during the evening, during the night time, and then by morning, you feel fine. It's never failed me.

PALCA: Excellent. Well, Mary Anne, thanks for that. Let's try someone else. Here, we'll try Sean in Arkansas. Go ahead, Sean.

SEAN (Caller): Boy, just the thought of drinking all that water when you're drunk makes me feel sick.

PALCA: Well, there you go. So what's your solution? Forgive the pun.

SEAN: Pure oxygen. Now, where I live, there is no oxygen bars, but most major metropolitan areas, you can go in and pay for the privilege of breathing in some slightly diluted and flavored oxygen. But it really works.

PALCA: Okay. Oxygen. There's another thought. Let's go to Julia. Julia in Los Gatos, California. What's your cure?

JULIA (Caller): Oh, what you need is grease in your system.

PALCA: Oh, we did hear that, yes.

JULIA: Scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese Danish and black coffee - lots of it.

PALCA: So what you're saying is don't use a non-stick pan, put a lot of butter in the pan before you cook your eggs.

JULIA: Yes, yes. Your body needs grease.

PALCA: And black coffee, I should think grease - you know, or put a little heavy cream in there, that will help. Well, maybe not. Okay, Julia, thanks very much.

We have now a call from Joe. Joe in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Welcome to the program. What's your solution?

JOE (Caller): Hi, thanks for having me on the show. The one I swear by is children's Pedialyte. It's a chock-full of electrolytes, but there's no sugar and it's a fantastic hangover remedy.

PALCA: Okay, Joe, thank you for that.

JOE: I swear by it.

PALCA: All right, that's a good one. Tanya, did anybody recommend Pedialyte in Epicurious?

Ms. STEELE: Actually, yes. That is one of our ideas as well is things like that - the Gatorade, Smart Water, Vitamin Water, yeah. But Pedialyte is a fantastic one.

PALCA: Okay, well, here's another one that begins with P, from Jesse in San Francisco. What's your suggestion?

JESSE (Caller): Well, I agree that the Vitamin Water, especially there's one called Revive that I found really helpful. And there's, I also agree with, of course, drinking lots of water and the eating lots of oily and fatty foods, like I find pizza especially helpful.

PALCA: Any particular topping on that pizza or just any pizza?

JESSE: Well, just any pizza, and hopefully it's not leftover.

PALCA: Okay. Well, Jesse, thanks -

JESSE: And then it's not, maybe not legal everywhere, but it's legal where I live, and of course that's a joint afterwards.

PALCA: Well, don't go too far with that it's legal idea, because I'm not sure that's completely true. But anyway, Jesse, thanks for that call.

I think we have time for maybe two more. Let's go to Rob in Aiken, South Carolina.

ROB (Caller): Yeah. I found that, just like Julia said, a big greasy breakfast. I go to Waffle House and have the Waffle House special, get as much grease in my system as possible, two big glasses of orange juice, and then just go back to sleep.

PALCA: Good idea, Rob. Thank you for that. And we have one last one from Charmaine in Tucson, Arizona. Charmaine, go ahead.

Oh, sorry, I didn't press the button. Charmaine, go ahead.

CHARMAINE (Caller): Hey, it means I had a really fun time if I have a hangover, so I try to enjoy it.

PALCA: So hangover means you did all right, you think.

CHARMAINE: I had a really good evening, yes.

PALCA: Okay. Well, Charmaine, thanks very much for that. I appreciate it.

CHARMAINE: All right, bye-bye.

PALCA: So Tanya, what's the bottom line here?

Ms. STEELE: You know, it's interesting that none of the listeners talked about hair of the dog.

PALCA: Yeah. Well, quickly. Hair of the dog, meaning -

Ms. STEELE: Meaning, going to - having some kind of little, aperitif, something with you know, the dog that bit you. So you can have any kind of alcoholic drink, bloody Mary seemed to be very popular.

PALCA: I see, I see. But we are encouraging people to drink responsibly. Is that correct?

Ms. STEELE: Definitely, definitely.

PALCA: And certainly don't drive. All those good things.

Ms. STEELE: Never.

PALCA: All right. Well, Tanya Steele, thanks very much for joining us.

Ms. STEELE: Thank you, Joe.

PALCA: Tanya Steele is editor of Epicurious. She joined us from her home in New York. For more hangover remedies, you can go to the Web site, And here's a hangover cure, you can go listen to something else. This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Joe Palca.

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