It was a night fuelled with copious jugs of liquid fun of all varieties. But after you kissed that stranger and lost your jacket, you have no recollection how you wobbled home. Wait a minute whose bed is this? None of that matters when you wake dribbling, feeling “like a pig has shat in your head,” to quote dear Withnail. You don’t have to be jumping naked on a car bonnet only “sort of drunk” to have a blinding hangover the next day. Sometimes all it takes is one over the limit and you awake with an ungrounded power cable running between your ears. On those occasions when you’ve pushed the booze boat out and got your drink on, the next day can feel like an exorcism. But with the bile, comes a new state of mind; a rare wisdom when we are able to take a blurry look at ourselves more objectively. If we do manage to muster some strength and our inner gyroscope doesn’t feel entirely like a jumbo jet in free fall, we will search for hydration and nourishment. The right recipe, however, depends on the type of hangover the victim is suffering from. PG Wodehouse wrote of six such morning-after aliments in his classic book the The Mating Season, just one in a series of stories about the adventures of loveable playboy-wastrel Bertie Wooster and his manservant Jeeves. Bertie’s hangovers are classified as the Broken Compass, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, and bile extracting Gremlin Boogie.
For those who have hidden their aching heads inside porcelain lavatory bowls, gone temporarily blind or crawled down the corridor like they’ve been severely beaten, The Hungoevr Cookbook by Milton Crawford is a remix and expansion on PG Wodehouse’s insightful classifications. It’s also a trusted guidebook when dealing with the sum of unpleasant psychological and physiological effects caused by the booze. The cookbook contains recipes, guides and tips from a man who describes himself as an “amateur chef, professional boozer, poet, traveler and essayist.” Crawford quite rightly suggests we consider a hangover as “an opportunity to see and taste the world in a new way.” I agree, but when you’re stuck under the covers with a bucket beside the bed and even the words “dry toast” bring you to a dry heave, it’s hard to feel anything but remorse. Nonetheless, Crawford has taken Wodehouse’s observations and made them the pillars of his toilet book thesis and recovery guide. The Broken Compass affects the psychological balance of its victim; characteristics include a lack of direction and decisiveness. To overcome this malaise , take action and air the brain with a good walk, and then eat some spicy food to jump-start the inner motor properly. Huevos Rancheros is a good choice and for those who have the bravery to take the moose by the horns, a Bloody Mary. Ingredients: 500ml good-quality tomato juice; 100ml vodka, 1 tbsp ketchup (as recommended by hangover aficionado Kinglsey Amis), 1 tsp lemon juice; 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce; splash of Tabasco; pinch of hot smoked paprika; celery salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The Comet envelops you in an outer galactic sphere of fuzziness, stardust and gases. You can operate quite well, but you’ve become disconnected from your normal bubble of existence and are floating around like a lost cosmonaut, your emotions on a razor’s edge, easily tipped either way. You require something to scythe its way through the pebbledash of your mind: something with bite. Lime Soda is Milton’s method. A popular refresher in India, it is the perfect hydrator. Just don’t waste your time with a small glass, get the biggest one you can find. Squeeze the juice of two limes into a pint glass, throw in a pinch of salt and top up with sparking mineral water and ice. For sustenance Milton suggests Stilton with pears on toast. Layer the slices of pear on the toast and crumble the Stilton over the top. Place under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and season with black pepper. Consume immediately with some complimentary chutney.
The Sewing Machine implies the feeling of being pierced with needles. This particularly strain of hangover is cruel and immediately requires extra strength Tylenol, or prescription painkillers if you have some knocking about. You could also do with something comforting to eat before you return to bed or couch. The Elvis Presley Peanut Butter Banana Bacon sandwich was good enough for the King after a bender and so this legendary sandwich should work wonders. Milton suggests spreading each slice of bread with the peanut butter, before laying on mashed banana and honey. Grill the bacon until crispy then place on top of the banana. Top off each sandwich with a second slice of bread and then fry each sandwich in lots of butter. If you start having one of these every weekend, then you’ve lost the point of the term ‘cure.’
The Atomic feels like you have been stripped of your inner organs. What you’ve been left with after peeling open your eyes is an enormous crater for a stomach; for that you could quite happily eat a horse’s head and drink all the water from its trough. Milton has obviously been here a few times, because he has perfected a recipe of chorizo and eggs. Fry as many slices of chorizo as you wish, adding fried onion and then tomatoes, before combining two beaten eggs and a handful of mint. Repeat as many times as necessary to fill that hole.
The Cement Mixer twists your innards in a most unpleasant and worrying fashion. For that something soothing and familiar is the call of the day. Start with tea and toast, served marmalade. Graze and read the weekend newspapers; don’t move until your confidence is fully restored.
The Gremlin Boogie is the monster of hangovers when every organ and vein feels like it’s filled with black sewage. You cannot move for fear of leakage and wish you could reverse time. You may feel like never eating again, but if a kind someone can help you out, you need something cleansing if you’re to climb out of your dark filthy hole. Try a melon, feta, mint and ham salad. Milton suggests putting the melon, feta, onion, mint in a bowl, add a light vinaigrette seasoning, then shred the ham over the top. If you can take any meat.
Part two tomorrow.