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Top 4 foods to feed a sick person (and how to make it) 
16th-Mar-2011 11:55 pm
I have caught some sort of bug that included an OMG-my-head's-about-to-EXPLODE-in-pain and waves of nausea that felt worse than any boat trip of seasickness I had ever felt. And trust me when I say I've had some pre-tt-iiie bad seasick trips - the SO's company directors still remember me as the wife with the green face.

I initally tried to be a bit of a matyr and brave through a work day, but by lunchtime, I had to run - yes, RUN - to the bathroom and attempted (unsuccessfully) to dry heave whatever demon being was possessing me. Threatening to spew one's guts on a colleague is not a professional look, so high-tailing it home was the only option to save what little face I have.

However being an adult (and I say this with some amount of distain, since I am still a little sick and let's be honest, which sick person wouldn't kill to have their mother's nursing them back to health) with a gainfully employed husband meant having to take care of and comfort myself.

... besides, I'm not entirely sure the SO knows what to do with a sick me, besides leaving me alone to sleep.

So since flu season will be upon us in the southern hemisphere and in an attempt to educate the SO (and the many boyfriends/partners/husbands out there), who will one day have to nurse a sick woman (or child), this is what you can prepare for them. All recipes is for 1 large serve (since it's likely whoever's sick won't have much of an appetite), so if both of you are sick, double everything.

Whether you're Western and porridge means oatmeal, or you're Asian and porridge means watery rice or congee, porridge has to be on the top of the list of food for the sick.

Image and crock pot congee recipe by Shave Dice Sundays

Due to its liquid consistency, it goes down easy for anyone with a sore throat, easily digested and keeps tummies warm longer. Keep it plain for anyone with nausea, but as the invalid feels better, they are versatile enough for you to throw in other flavours.

Basic oatmeal recipe
  • 1 cup quick oats or rolled oats (take longer to cook)
  • 3 - 4 cups cold water (more if you like it creamy, less if you like it thick)

  1. Place ingredients in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn down to simmer.
  4. Cook until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes, stirring a few times.

Alternatively, substitute the water for milk. You can also zap this in a microwave on high for 1-2 mins for quick oats, 5mins for rolled oats. Flavour with cinnamon powder, dried fruit, honey or brown sugar.

Basic rice porridge (gruel) recipe
  • 1/2 cup rice (jasmine or pearl)
  • 3 cups water

  1. Wash the rice by putting it in a strainer. Run the water on the rice until the water becomes clear.
  2. Add the water and rice in a small saucepan and turn on medium heat. Wait until it boils and turn it down.
  3. Let simmer on low for 15 mins.

Alternatively, substitute the water for any kind of stock for extra flavour. Serve with soy sauce, pickled vegetables, eggs (hard boiled, scrambled), pork mince, shitake mushrooms, slices of any white fish, bamboo shoots... just about anything savoury will work.

Basic congree recipe
Making congee is essentially the same as rice porridge, boiled longer. What you're looking for is a thick sludge consistency. Boil for 30 mins.

“Soup is cuisine's kindest course.
It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation;
after a weary day it promotes sociability,
as the five o'clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

Ah, soup. Just about everyone knows chicken soup as one of the best foods for someone ill, but really, any kind of soup can do: beef, vegetable, tomato, hot and sour, chicken noodle.

However, if like me, you're all alone, soup is hardly one of the easiest things to make from scratch. Unless you get it out of a Campbells can, which is great, but we probably want to avoid too much sodium when we're sick and in need of fluids.

So the next time you're making a batch of chicken/beef stock, keep simmering it till it's reduced significantly and freeze it. Wait till the stock is cool before pouring it into ice trays, muffin trays or even ziplock bags (removing as much air as possible) and sticking them in the freezer. Frozen stock will keep for about 2 months.

When needed, pop out as much stock as you need into a pot, pour in water, chop up whatever vegetables (potato, carrot, beans, frozen veg) and protein (leftover roast chicken, steak, tofu) you have in the fridge, bring to a boil and simmer for 25-30 mins before serving.

Photography by Ben Dearnley. Chicken noodle soup recipe by Delicious

Basic chicken soup recipe
  • 200gm of chicken (breast, thigh, drumstick, whatever you got)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 peppercorns (black or green)
  • 2 cups of water (remember the stock? Use that if you've got it)

  1. Combine everything in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, before reducing heat to low and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
  2. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a clean work surface and cut the chicken meat from the bones. Discard bones. Finely chop the chicken meat and add to the soup.
  3. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Your stomach is feeling queasy and your appetite has gone into hiding. Bread is about as plain and as simple as you can get. It is usually recommended that the sick nibble on dry toast to absorb excess stomach acids.

Obviously if you're a coeliac, regular wheat based bread is out of the question. Nonetheless, gluten free breads and crackers will offer the same effect.

There are dozens of recipes for making bread, but when you're sick, a regular loaf from a supermarket will most likely do.

It's a no brainer. Fruit are loaded with vitamins, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants, and they don't require any cooking. When you're sick, doctors advise you consume protein. But a diet heavy in protein requires the balance of fruit and vegetables.

For a quick fruit salad, cut up any fruit into bite sized chunks (or use a melon baller if you're feeling fancy) and pour in a can of tinned fruit. The sugars in the syrup will help prevent fruit like apple and pear from browning, and aids in the preservation.

So those are my top 4 foods to feed any invalid. Do you have anything in particular you must eat when you're sick or feed to someone who's sick?
17th-Mar-2011 11:40 am (UTC)
Agreed! My sickness/healing foods are congee (with kecap manis and fish sauce and lots of shallots!) and chicken noodle soup (wontons ;D)! Hot tea and watery fruits.
17th-Mar-2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Agreed on the congee. It is one of the easiest and most versatile things to eat when you're sick and your tastebuds aren't really working.

Wontons from scratch when you're sick might be asking for too much though. Especially from a non-cooking partner. (^_^;)
17th-Mar-2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
Augh! Thank-you so much Mel! I'm pretty terribly sick at the moment...it must be going around, or something? But this is a great help. I think I'm on the road to recovery, but porridge is always such a comfort food for me when I'm sick XD; I'm glad to know it's doing some good!
17th-Mar-2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Yah, I think it's going around, cuz my colleagues at work have been feeling the same. Not pretty at all. I've had to try and sleep as much of this off as possible, but my body feels sluggish and not at all human.

Hope you feel better soon, sweetie! Comfort nutritious food for the sick FTW!
17th-Mar-2011 12:48 pm (UTC)
I like noodles in my chicken soup. How much would be enough in this recipe you think? :) I've always wanted to try making chicken noodle soup from scratch.
17th-Mar-2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
Depending on how hungry you are, a few recipes say 200gm of pasta is enough for 6 people, but I can easily eat 200gm on my own if the soup isn't too heavy.

I reckon throw in a handful of pasta per person for the soup will be enough, especially if you don't throw in other vegs like celery, sweet potato, etc.
17th-Mar-2011 01:10 pm (UTC)
I generally crave milk and icecream (which does nothing for the sinuses except clog them up) or orange juice (which is generally way too acidic).

Toast is my stomach upset food though.
17th-Mar-2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
Orange juice and ice cream, I can understand. But milk?

Do you usually have your toast plain or slathered with a jam?
18th-Mar-2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
I know. But I love milk. I always have.

Toast is normally covered with a light layer of butter. But if I am feeling up to it, I sometimes go with scrambled eggs on my toast.
15th-Sep-2012 08:50 am (UTC) - jean
i like it really
6th-Nov-2018 02:33 am (UTC)
For some reason irs orange sherbet ice cream since i was little. Eating it aleayd made me feel better. Probably just the coldness and the ease of it going down the throat.
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