While most people were focused on finding the perfect gift this holiday season, we were working on finding the answer to a much more pressing problem: how do I get rid of a hangover? Pose this question to a group of friends, and you will most likely accrue a diverse set of responses. Some say green juice, others say cheeseburger. Is there no middle ground?
The remedies we’ve been reading up on come from around the world and throughout history. The logic behind them is absolutely disputed, and we can offer no proof of their efficacy, save for our own experience. While some have stayed on as cures for our 21st century hangovers, others (wrapping your head in cabbage leaves, say) have been left behind for good reason.
Hangovers are a problem in every culture where drinking takes place, so naturally, the solutions are culturally diverse. But we noticed a few commonalities in the way humans tend to handle their next-day suffering. In Korea, haejangguk (which literally means “soup to chase a hangover”) is often made with congealed ox blood or blood sausage. Eastern Europeans favor a similar remedy of tripe soup. Personally, I have resorted to a breakfast instant ramen on more than one very hungover occasion.
Whatever the background, everyone seems to agree that hangover food is a very real and very necessary part of feeling better. The Germans even have a word for it—Katerfrühstück. It’s a meal that usually consists of rollmops (pickled herring rolled around a savory filling), pickled gherkins and other briny tasting foods, which sounds kind of similar to the saltiness of a pickle-garnished Bloody Mary. The takeaway: restoring your sodium levels is important.
We came up with a timeline of some of our favorite historical curatives, in case you want to party like it’s 1899.