Day 11: Olives and Onions and Shots–Oh My!


Dear all,

yes, today my post is coming awfully late, I know and while I would like to blame it on the slower internet connection at my new notebook location, I will just go ahead and blame it on the fact that I am sick. Well, quite honestly, I have been sick for the last three days and it has not kept me from writing, but I still think I should be allowed to use that excuse at least once. Otherwise, what’s the use of getting sick (apart from the sudden ability to turn Kleenex into apple turnovers–ok, sorry for that)?

Today I was told that my regimen consisting of coffee, pizza and Nyquil might not be the best way to go. As an alternative, I was told, I should try either rubbing warm olive oil on my chest, or covering it with thinly sliced onions. This then got me thinking: Germany cannot possibly be the only country with completely weird folklore-remedies. I do remember my grandmother giving me cola with Maggi when I had a stomach ache, my grandfather universally suggesting to take a shot against pretty much every kind of ailment (“I have a stomach ache.” “Take a shot.”–“I have a headache.” “Take a shot.”–“I have a hangover.” “Take a shot.”–“I’m too tired to drive.” “Take a shot.”) and my mother rubbing some kinda clay-goo-vinegar mixture on my knee when I tore a ligament.

My question for you is thus: a) what other weird, but apparently effective, folklore-cold remedies do you have for me and b) what are the weirdest remedies in general you are aware of? I promise to announce the weirdest one, try it out and then  describe the effects in detail on this blog.

Now I will try to get some more writing done. Haven’t really been too productive in regards to writing my dissertation over the last few days. Might have to take a shot.

P.S.: the picture of Papa Smurf does not really have anything to do with this, but it makes me feel better.



  1. Hola chico!
    Really hope you feel better soon. I came across a phenomenon in Germany before but here in Seville it is the same. For every kind of disease people tell you to take a paracetamol, like it is the new miracle drug. Few weeks ago I had a suppurative frontal sinusitis (hope my dictionary gave me the correct translation here) and guess what was the advice.
    But if you just have a cold I saw on german TV once to cut onions and put brown sugar over it. After a few hours drink the juice that emerges. I don´t know if it helps finally but all I can tell you is that it really tastes good – and after all it can´t harm you. Maybe you can combine the juice with the shot to recieve the ultimate remedy!

  2. Hola Chica! Hope you are well in Sevilla, but I assume that at least in relation to the weather that should not be a problem.

    “Suppurative Frontal Sinusitis”–wow! I assume that’s a fancy way of saying “whole lotta snot.” I like the “frontal” part. Meaning there is also, say, “lateral” sinusitis? Does that then mean that there is so much snot that it comes out of your ears?

    Ok, lame joke after a horrible night’s sleep. But seriously: thank you for your suggestion. I am starting to realize the implications of my promise to try the winning suggestion, however. Should not have said that. Damn that last sinus-ache shot! I am thus hoping that yours will not be the last suggestion (sorry, but that one sounds pretty gross). Doesn’t anyone want to suggest something like curing appendicitis by letting a litter of kittens play on your stomach? THAT I would do and it seems a lot better than drinking candied onion juice. What’s up with all that onion-hype anyway? What is so fancy about the onion? Whence all its healing powers? And why did nature make it into something that makes you very healthy but ultimately lonely? Aah, nature’s contradictions. Much like capitalism. But then again anything takes me back to rants about capitalism.

    In any case: Clau, any other, less nauseating suggestions?

  3. Hope you get to feeling better soon! I don’t know about colds, but a wierd folk remedy for hands that smell like onions (unless I have this backwards) is to put mustard on them, which will remove the smell.

    True, your hands might then smell like mustard, but that’s not the point–and as it sounds like you’re going to be handling a lot of onions…

  4. So what do I have to rub on my hands to make them stop smelling like mustard? Actually, I do not mind the mustard smell. What I mind more is that bright yellow color that stays on your hands for two days after you’ve had a Chicago-style Vienna Beef extravaganza.
    I also heard that rubbing something made out of solid stainless steel takes the onion smell away. Or is that garlic? I do not have anything made from solid stainless steel, though, well, apart from my special copy of Adam Smith’s _The Wealth of Nations_, that is.

  5. Nice one! I have just returned from carnival, trying to keep up my blogging regime, but I am myself one of those people who belive that a shot is an appropriate medicine for almost any ailment, certainly for anything that has got to do with nose and throat 🙂 Grappa or Wodka is the best, in my view…

  6. in the uk we do ‘hot toddies’ – do you have that in the states as well? not sure if they actually speed up your healing process but they defintely make you have a good time whilst healing:
    2-3 shots of good whisky (scotch or irish will do, but under no circumstances american);
    juice of one lemon;
    two spoonful of sugar.

    heat up and drink – repeat a few times a day, go to bed (it is paramount to have it hot)

    bon voyage!!!

    (and funnily enough I also have a stinking cold, far far away from you, and it’s 35 degrees here.)

  7. actually, sorry, that should have been 2 spoonfuls of honey – obviously.

  8. Ha! See, that one I would actually try. You are certain I do not need to add onions to that?

    How did you manage to catch a cold, by the way?? Or is this just a traditional thing, you know, Western European visitors bringing Africans and South Americans bacteria and viruses as a gift?

    Hmm… not sure if this is funny-ha, ha, of funny-tee, hee (or maybe not funny at all–see the problematic disjoint between the capacity for humor in my conscious vs. my unconscious described in today’s post).

  9. @Natascha: Thank you for the toddy recipe. Might I humbly suggest that if forced (at gunpoint?) to use an American whiskey, one head to Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey–8yrs old. Smooth as can be.

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