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Handle that hangover

india Updated: Oct 24, 2010 01:45 IST

A new recipe book offers some creative hangover cures, but surely real drinkers don’t zest lemons on the morning after the night before. We hardened drinkers know how to handle a hangover. Groan, gulp down a pint of water, followed by tea or coffee, fruit juiceCoke, painkillers and possibly a bloody mary.

Then the solids: something hot, greasy and pork-based, ideally accompanied by fried eggs, fried bread, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes and chips.

Encouragingly, for the health-conscious, this liquid-painkiller-food approach isn’t too far from the UK health service’s advice to the hungover, although doctors prescribe vegetable broth over fry-ups and don’t approve of the hair of

the dog.


Yet now author Milton Crawford insists we raise our game. “A hangover,” he writes in

The Hungover Cookbook

(Square Peg),” is an opportunity to see and taste the world in a new way.”

There is a “subtle art of dealing with a hangover that goes far beyond the traditional British solution of chucking a full English breakfast at it”. He bases this improbable claim on PG Wodehouse’s 1949 novel

The Mating Season

, in which upper-class twit Bertie Wooster identifies six varieties of hangover:

the Broken Compass


the Sewing Machine


the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer and the Gremlin Boogie


For each one, Wooster has the same cure: his valet Jeeves’s liquid pick-me-up. Crawford, however, advocates a tailored response.

The Broken Compass

, (confusion, restlessness, fear and loathing) demands “spicy comfort food to re-ignite your passion for life”, such as devilled kidneys on toast.

The Sewing Machine

, (makes you feel as if you’re being stabbed in the head) calls for something “soothing and comforting”, such as the Elvis Presley peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich.

The Atomic

demands “hearty” recipes such as cardamom porridge with spicy apple sauce. The book is sure to sell, but is it any use? Personally, I’ve never had a hangover worthy of the name that would let me zest a lemon, as required for Crawford’s lemon and demerara sugar pancakes, or slice fish and coat the goujons with bread crumbs, as in his fishfinger sandwich. As for those six types of hangover... many of us get them all rolled into one.