Last Call: What weird things did your parents feed you when you were sick?

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When you feel like crap, everything tastes like crap too. When I get sick I’m one of those people who barely eats anything (I know it’s bad for me), but I try. The Kitchn tipped us off to a Reddit thread where users discuss the best and strangest things their parents fed them as kids whenever they got sick, and some of the answers are pretty wild.


The original poster said, “My mom always gave us white toast, topped with cottage cheese and strawberry jam when we’re [sic] were sick. I don’t remember eating this combo any other time. I gave it to my kids when they were sick too.” Honestly, that doesn’t sound terrible, though I’m not sure cottage cheese is the first thing I’d reach for if I weren’t feeling good.

Many people reported that the classic flat-soda remedy, specifically ginger ale or 7-Up, was something they were given when they weren’t feeling so hot. Obviously soup, too. One user alleged that they were given bourbon, lemon juice, and honey as cough syrup (they hated it), and for most other ailments they would receive an enema from grandma. What a dramatic turn of events! What’s even more interesting is that this was not the last time an enema was mentioned in someone’s comments. Another answer was tea made from herbs and tea bark, which seems like it would only make someone feel worse, but maybe that’s just me. What was the strangest thing your parents fed you when you were sick? I must know. I’m sure you have good stories. Hopefully no enemas.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.


My doctor told my parents to give me whiskey and honey cough medicine when I was a sickly child with bad asthma so I can attest that was a thing. Of course, this was back in the ‘70s and he was an old Pennsylvania Dutch doctor whose office was in his house, whose nurse wore white with a cap, and who still made occasional house calls. Once I got older I used store bought cough medicine for the longest time before coming to the conclusion that Doc Zimmerman’s medicine really does work best.