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Feel-Better Foods from Around the World

It doesn’t matter what country you’re in; if you’re sick, you’re probably getting some really amazing soup (or some fantastic soupy porridge). Much like holiday food, the food we want when we’re sick tends to be intensely personal, steeped in tradition, passed down through generations, and reflective of our family’s cultural and geographical history. We asked four chefs—from four very different backgrounds—to share the recipe they crave most when they’re under the weather.

Feel-Better Foods from Around the World

Melissa Hemsley

One half of the Hemsley Sisters, and author of EAT HAPPY: 30-Minute Feel Good Food

Salmon Sinigang

“Sick day or not, I’m all about feel-good, comforting, and uplifting food. This salmon sinigang is lip-smackingly good, tangy, and nourishing. My Filipino Mum, Evangelina, is fiercely loving, thrifty, and no-nonsense. I grew up on brothy soups and stews, so when I got sick, the answer was always, ‘more soup!’ She always says, ‘If you’ve got garlic, onion, and ginger, you can make anything taste delicious.’”

Feel-Better Foods from Around the World
Feel-Better Foods from Around the World

Susie Theodorou

Cookbook author and food stylist

Avgolemono

“Avgolemono is the classic Greek soup, made in every Greek household. My mother and grandmothers made it for us all the time, especially when we didn’t feel well in the winter—or the summer. Once when I was twelve, on holiday in Cyprus, my paternal grandmother made it for me—but to make me feel even better, she added the chicken’s head, right in my bowl! (Being a London city kid, this did not go over too well—I didn’t have chicken again for 18 years.) Now I love it with the chicken in the velvety-smooth, lemony rice soup.”

Feel-Better Foods from Around the World
Feel-Better Foods from Around the World

Naoko Takei Moore

Author of Donabe and owner of Toiro Kitchen in Los Angeles

Egg & Tofu Porridge

“When I was young, my mom used to make this simple egg-and-tofu porridge whenever I got sick. (I actually looked forward to it when I was sick.) The only seasoning added is sea salt, and it’s so gentle on your stomach. It’s also great for breakfast.”

Feel-Better Foods from Around the World
Feel-Better Foods from Around the World

Yasmin Khan

Author of Saffron Tales and the soon-to-be-released Zaitoun

Pomegranate Soup

“Whenever I am ill, I crave this replenishing and soothing pomegranate soup. It’s from Northern Iran, where my mom’s family comes from. In ancient Iran, pomegranates were a symbol of eternal life, and in Persian mythology, the hero-warrior Isfandiyar is said to have eaten the seeds before going into battle to make him invincible. Packed with mung beans, beets, fresh herbs, and the sweet-sharp tang of pomegranate molasses, this a soup which elevates your spirit, and makes you feel strong—ready for whatever life throws at you. It’s just what I need when I’m feeling under the weather.”

Feel-Better Foods from Around the World
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