Hangover Helpers: How to Start the Year Off Less Miserable

With a new book and local remedies, we’ve got you covered

Chicken tortilla soup at Tamale House East
Chicken tortilla soup at Tamale House East (Photo by John Anderson)

If there's one holiday best-known for overindulgence, it's New Year's Eve, and that means for many, the first day of the new year is often rife with the physical manifestations of bad decisions. If you, unlike us, fall into the "got my life together, thanks" camp, rest assured these recipes are still applicable – and appealing – ways to explore global cuisine.

With all-encompassing hangover coverage including global drinking stats, "how to avoid a hangover in the first place," and five chapters of recipes, Hangover Helper: Delicious Cures From Around the World (Hardie Grant Publishing, 174 pp., $19.99) offers a uniquely digestible swatch of solutions that actually work – and many dishes are easily replicated or found in Austin. Author Lauren Shockey writes, "Before our ancestors planted food, discovered fire or even communicated in a spoken language, early humans were consuming alcohol. ... And as long as we've been getting drunk, we've been getting hangovers. And as long as we've been getting hangovers, we've been searching for effective – and enticing – remedies."

The oldest record of a culinary hangover relief dates back to the 10th century, and some other early "cures" suggest wearing special wreaths, eating fried canaries, and washing one's, ahem, parts, in vinegar. Better options include eating eggs (full of cysteine, an amino acid that breaks down toxic acetaldehyde), so Shockey includes recipes like full English breakfast, Argentinian easy chilaquiles, and Israeli shakshuka. Carbs are also helpful – try the ginger and spring onion congee, a tasty breeze to whip up, or go really basic with sausage rolls, which you could prepare in mere minutes with your choice of meat and a roll of refrigerated dough. And, of course, there are classic American pizza bagels: Try Rosen's version, served open-faced with mozzarella, cherry toms, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze for $7, available at Rosen's/Tiny House collab inside We Work on Barton Springs.

Perhaps my favorite remedy is savory soup, and this cute little book – complete with charming illustrations – suggests Japanese green tea and rice soup (ochazuke) and tarator, Albanian chilled cucumber soup that takes a handful of minutes to prepare (aside from chill time). Yaka mein, or "Old Sober," is a Chinese-Creole beef noodle soup popular in the Big Easy. Locally, Happy Buddha served the dish but closed earlier this year, so you'll have to prepare the stew yourself (with Shockey's recipe) or find a substitute. We suggest Julie's Noodles' beef stewed rice noodles (8557 Research #110; www.juliesnoodles.com). Our personal favorite hangover (and anytime) soup is chicken tortilla – Tamale House East (1707 E. Sixth) boasts a beautiful broth and serves theirs with sliced avocado and Spanish rice.

Another, more direct remedy Shockey suggests is the IV drip, which has become increasingly popular in wellness- (and wildness)-minded cities like ours. Alive + Well in Bee Cave (www.aliveandwellaustin.com) is a one-stop shop when it comes to feeling better with a compounding pharmacy, yoga/meditation studio, three-wave infrared sauna, Ionic foot bath, float tank, IV drip therapy, and more all under one roof. Drip Drip IV Therapy offers banana bags administered by medical professionals, with vitamin concoctions for issues like detox, immunity, energy, libido, and, you guessed it, hangovers. The wellness gurus also feature Elle's Cafe & Coffee (www.ellescafecoffee.com), with health-conscious but still delicious and hangover-helpful gluten-free dishes like avocado toast, patatas bravas hash, and a granola waffle.

Whatever celebratory poison you pick ought to be imbibed safely, but a tiny amount of remedy pre-planning will really pay off. Happy New Year, Austin!

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