You may think it odd that I, the only sober member of The Takeout staff, should be the one to review a cookbook called Hangover Helper. However, I believe that I—a person who had for many year done a lot of “research” on hangovers—am actually the perfect person to review such a book! I have experienced hangovers that lasted multiple days, that were so intense that I can still remember them in excruciating, vivid detail. I can call up the full sensory memory of the most brutal hangover you can possible imagine on cue. It’s a horrible superpower, but it helps keep me sober, and it helps me review delightful little cookbooks about hangover food.
At first, you may not think you need such a book in your life. Truly, there are only so many ways to prepare eggs, bacon grease, and melted cheese with a Gatorade chaser. But people all over the world are just as good as Americans at getting completely and utterly shitfaced, and the international recipes assembled by author Lauren Shockey contain the most important elements of hangover food: they are simple enough to prepare in a state of near-incapacitatation, and they will (based on anecdotal evidence) make you feel like your organs aren’t liquefying. Most importantly, they’re delicious enough to make you actually want to eat, despite your body telling you that you’ll never be able to ingest solid foods again.
There are some predictable recipes in here—you can’t write a hangover cookbook without mentioning the healing powers of chilaquiles or a full English breakfast—but there are also recipes that are 100% brand-new to me: a Japanese soup based on rice and green tea, a simple Malaysian toast that may become my new favorite breakfast, a Bolivian pork stew that will probably be in heavy dinnertime rotation as the weather gets colder. There are a few recipes that may seem aspirational to novice cooks, but for the most part these are recipes that can be made by everyone—even those who may need to take periodic breaks just to lay on the kitchen floor in a fetal position.
I don’t miss a damn thing about drinking, and I definitely don’t miss the hangovers. But for those of you who still have them, this book should help you bounce back. And for the rest of us, Shockey has given us a whole new world of delicious breakfasts to enjoy.