- By FP Editors
"First you take a drink," wrote American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, "then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." That final ‘taking’ is less obliquely described as a ‘hangover,’ and it’s a bugbear which revelers the world over have long sought to slay. Chinese poet and inveterate alcoholic Li Bai preferred the hair of the proverbial dog: His 8th century Tang-dynasty poem Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day describes how Li emerged from a sloshed slumber to find wine nearby; so he filled his cup, and "wildly singing I waited for the moon to rise/when my song was over, all my senses had gone." The fruitless search for a hangover cure, or at least a serviceable placebo, borders on universal. Below are some of the most interesting — we won’t say most effective — sourced from the FP
China: Chinese often turn to herbal teas to ameliorate a hangover. But researchers at the country’s prestigious Sun Yat-Sen University in the southern city of Guangzhou have studied the effects of 57 popular liquid remedies, and they aren’t impressed. In a report published Sept. 2013, they claim that only two of the dozens analyzed are "suitable for drinking by humans who consume alcohol excessively." One is a Chinese brand of soda water, the other: humble Sprite.
Germany: The first meal of the day after a night of heavy drinking is called Katerfrühstück, and Germans think it does the trick. Katerfrühstück usually comprises marinated herring, pickled cucumber, or food with a sour smack.
Korea: Sulguk is a specially-formulated genus of guk , or soup, which literally means "soup to chase a hangover." It usually contains dried cabbage, other vegetables, and ox blood.
Philippines: The ostensibly hangover-busting balut is no ordinary egg; those making first contact with the Filipino street food, a duck embryo that’s been boiled alive, are advised to swallow the thing whole rather than hazard a chew.
Russia and Poland: Russians and Poles both drink pickle or sauerkraut juice on those miserable mornings, although some of Poland’s more daring revelers imbibe soured milk instead.
United States: As with so many matters of culture and cuisine, U.S. citizens are eclectic, generally willing to borrow whatever works. One southern mainstay: Chicken tenders, biscuits, spicy fries, and water at chain restaurant Bojangles. Such traditions may eventually have to make way for UCLA researchers, who claim in a paper published Feb. 17 to have found the particular enzymes that break down alcohol. All that’s left is to find a way to turn them into a pill.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |
Isaac Stone Fish is associate editor at Foreign Policy. Previously a Beijing correspondent for Newsweek, he wrote stories on such subjects as the Dalai Lama’s effect on international trade, China’s love affair with rogue states, and crystal meth in North Korea. His articles have also appeared in the International Herald Tribune, the Economist, and the Los Angeles Times.| Feature |