HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 !!!!!

Nonchalant Mom hopes that your holiday season has been fun. We had some friend's visiting
and family. We did our usual celebration for Xmas eve (the Swedish tradition), which meant a special meal, lots of champagne, toasts, and then a visit from Santa for the kids (our good sport of a friend Johnnie takes on the role complete with full outfit and some stamping and bell ringing on our roof, then he descends and walks near to the house so the kids can freak out and leaves a bag of gifts for all). On Xmas day (more of the Anglo-American tradition) we had stockings for the kids and a few more gifts - then food and drink again!

By New Years Eve, when younger, you might be ready for more partying! But, with kids, you know very well that you'll probably be in bed much sooner than the midnight countdown. As far as we are concerned in our house, that's fine by us. We had our revelry before. What we usually do for the kids, who could care less except for the part about banging pots and pans, is celebrate the countdown on TV from somewhere like London - which gives us 5 hours head start. The kids are in bed at a decent hour and we follow not long after. Party on people!!!!

But, for those of you who are more brave (or insane), or more inclined to imbibe right on through the night, we did a little searching around the world and came up with a few very interesting Hangover remedies - just in case you need to get down to your local market and get the necessary ingredients.... some of which, we remind you, might get you arrested in the United States!

We use to think that our hangover remedy (remedy in general) was a little strange to the unaccustomed. It involved a hot cup of Kukicha Tea and then an umeboshi plum dropped in the tea and stirred up.... and voila! soon enough, you felt better. That was/is our little nod to the Japanese tradition apparently. Some friends winced at us... but it usually did the trick. When we lived in NYC as free and single people, there is the memory of a special drink at Balthazar - we think it was called a Ramos Fizz, but heck, we had hangovers...who can remember anything!

There are the standard remedies like Green Tea (China), a Bloody Mary (USA), or more alcohol (Netherlands and Russia). Or, you can have a remedy that is not at all surprising, given the country of origin, like eating shrimp (Mexico), or strong coffee (Italy), or pickle juice (Poland), herring (like Germany or Sweden), or 'vegemite/marmite' (Australia or the UK).

But, how about some remedies that might take a stronger stomach - or keep you from drinking in the first place! There is a soup made from tripe, otherwise known as a cow's stomach lining (originating apparently from some South American countries - and Romania). How about 'Haejangguk' which is a soup made from such things as cow bones, pork spines, some coagulated ox blood, and vegetables - presumeably to take your mind off the other ingredients (from Korea)!!! Another one includes eating red meat and bananas (Germany again). Another has something to do with ingesting charcoal (Morocco and older English). If you can't stand taking anything else into your system after a night of intoxication, then perhaps the voodoo ritual of sticking a number of pins into the cork of the bottle you drank last night might help (Haiti). But, our favorite disgusting remedy is the simplest of all. It involves taking a lemon half and rubbing it under your arm pit after, and only after, a night of over drinking (Puerto Rico).

How true any of these are, or how effective, is anyones guess. Who can say for sure since so many factors go into the careful science of our manufactured misery!!! Most professionals still insist that water, aspirin, and vitamins are the best source of relief. But, if that doesn't interest you, or you still wish to persist, then how about some supposedly ancient remedies. Apparently, the ancient Romans used to rely on a remedy that consisted of deep fried canaries, and in some cases, the use of raw owl eggs. If that is not shocking enough, there was a concoction used by the ancient Mongolians which included in the recipe a couple of pickled sheep eyeballs in tomato sauce. The ancient Assyrians took the prize for somehow figuring out that a remedy involving crushed swallow's beaks mixed with myrrh would do the trick. But, maybe they only thought it did the trick since they washed the mixture down with more wine.....!

Whatever you do - we hope your New Year 2009 is a wonderful and fulfilling one. Just be careful!