[a medicinal cooking blog: using food as medicine to treat whatever may ail you]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If You Get Stuffed Too

Thanksgiving is going to swoosh in (at least for those of us here in the U.S.) and knock all our bellies out. Just a quick note, this posting will be relevant to anyone about to indulge in a culinary feast: it could be post Ramadan, post Lent, post any fasting-then-indulging moments. Not that Thanksgiving involves any preemptive fasting, it is mainly just indulging and yes..being thankful (that your belly doesn't implode!). I pondered what I could recommend for Thanksgiving besides try-not-to-eat-too-much, and I thought that medicinally speaking the key around this time is to treat indigestion and overindulgence for the most part. Well, luckily for all of us there are many traditions around the world that have already come up with some wonderful remedies. One of which is any anise or licorice based liquor : the German J├Ągermeister; the French Pastis; the Colombian Aguardiente; the Portugese Aguardente; the Chinese gan cao (licorice root) which is added to almost all herbal decoctions and tinctures; the Danish Gammel Dansk; the Greek Ouzo; the Italian Sambuca; the Turkish Raki; the European (originally Swiss) Absinthe; the Hungarian Unicum; and the Czech Becherovka. I wrote an extensive posting about medicinal wines and liquors in June which will help you to navigate how to make your own if you are interested, or you can simply go out and buy a nice bottle of Pernod and call it a day.

The idea behind drinking a digestif is quite simply that: digestion. It is actually meant to do what it is called! This may be obvious to many of you, and surprising to some. In any event, it does help and I do recommend it as a lovely medicinal and tasty addition to the dessert menu for Thanksgiving.

If you do not drink liquor or wine, then I would suggest you make a tea using licorice root with honey and drink that after dinner. In fact, it would be a lovely post-dinner tea to serve if you so wish and you can skip the liquor (though having the alcohol element in small doses increases blood flow and circulation). All you would do is buy some licorice root (you can buy this at any Chinese pharmacy if you have access to one) and boil it in water, approximately 1 piece of licorice root to 2 cups of water. Boil for 15 minutes. Another excellent digestion aid is ginger, which many people are using already. You can make a tincture out of it as seen below or you can also boil it into a tea with honey.

In the meantime, good luck with your turkeys and all the goodness and I will be back soon with some wonderful news on honey and all it's sweetness.


getstoried said...

what a great tip...now i have something fun to bring as a host gift for holiday meals instead of boring wine. Is it okay to drink as aperitif, meal, and digestif? i.e. drink all night long?

The Spice Doc said...

well if you want to use it as a digestive you'd keep it as a digestif :) - however, it is entirely up to you to make it a before/during/after drink! the more the merrier and digestier.