why must I feel like that

It has arrived. My first winter cold. Pretty amazing that I've avoided disgusting germs so far this season given that I spend so much time with children and on public transportation. I'm grouchy, lethargic, and have aching muscles, but I'm still hungry. Rather than my usual one or two cups, I'm drinking hot tea throughout the day. Irish Breakfast in the morning, Orange Pekoe/Darjeeling/Cinnamon during the day, and Chamomile at night.

Feed a cold, grandmothers for generations have said. Eating is a remedy for pretty much every malady (excepting the stomach flu) as far as I'm concerned. This week I've fed my cold: fifteen cuts of meat at a Brazilian steakhouse, crepes, two kinds of meatballs, pub cheese, spicy salmon, dozens of holiday cookies, beef bourguignon, turkey three ways, udon, a clementine per day, shrimp linguine, dibs ice cream bites, bacon-wrapped dates, brussel sprouts, a bottle and a half of red wine, chicken skin, spanikopita, Life cereal, mashed potatoes, bok choy, and sushi. The cold is still going strong.

Nostalgic foods that have comforted me in the past usually do the trick when I'm really sick. Orange jello with suspended canned mandarin oranges. Cinnamon toast with a cup of constant comment red label tea on a saucer. Chicken and noodles - those big puffy dumplings - not canned condensed soup. Stuff my mom would bring me in bed. In college, I moved on to ethnic take-out in desperate times of illness far from home. Thai soups and Indian curries were standbys, but my go-to sinus headache cure was the Atomic Salsa from Ted's Cafe Escondido. The wait at any number of Ted's locations in the OKC area can easily top an hour or two, but Oklahomans are willing. They also have take-out, which was always my preferred method. Consistently, Ted's has awesome service. I arrived home once with the wrong take-out order. The manager delivered the correct order to my apartment (within 30 minutes), refunded my credit card charge, let me keep the incorrect order, and gave me a gift certificate. The food is decent, unpretentious, cheesy Tex-Mex. It might not be the best I've ever had, but it definitely gets the job done.

Ted's Cafe Escondido originally uploaded by DanHerron.

But the Atomic Salsa is perfect. Ted's, like any self-respecting Tex-Mex joint, gives you complimentary fresh tortillas, queso, and pickled jalapeno relish (aka escabeche) in addition to chips and salsa. You can also ask for additional salsas like a habanero version that I can't handle. The green Atomic is jalapeno based and has big chunks of avocado to balance the heat. It is the perfect mix of flavor and spice, opening your sinuses without burning your taste buds. I haven't had this salsa for at least five years, but with every cold and sinus headache I long for it.

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