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Flu Tea Recipe for A Sick Food Lover

Kauai-grown variegated Eureka lemons. Daniel Lane photo
Kauai ginger being harvested. Daniel Lane photo

Kauai ginger being harvested. Daniel Lane photo

I never thought a love for food would make me sick. Truthfully, it wasn’t food that made me ill, it was the lengths I went through in the name of good food. After trying several remedies, my recipe for a simple tea was most effective at providing relief. The warm water, combined with honey, ginger and lemon, calmed my lungs and soothed my throat. I’m still sick but the good news is that yesterday, my agent Andy Ross started shopping my cookbook to publishers. Wish me luck! Anyway, I’ve included my flu tea recipe in this post, but first I’d like to share a little about my foodie travels.

I went to Kentucky in early March for the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference. There were about 850 attendees including food writers, magazine editors, publishers, photographers, and cookbook authors as well as food tour operators, recipe developers, food stylists, people on boards for commissions such as potatoes, figs, lentils and winegrapes. I met the public relations manager for King Arthur Flour and the culinary specialist for Guittard Chocolate Company. 

The first day started with a fried chicken food tour, which was organized by Dana McMahan, a local food writer. She brought along Emelyn Rude, author of “Tastes Like Chicken,” who shared facts as we rode from stop to stop in a limo/truck with bucket seats and a crackling fire on three TVs. Afterwards, we all got a free autographed copy of her book.

Enjoying an Old Fashioned during the fired chicken tour.

Enjoying an Old Fashioned during the fired chicken tour.

Emelyn told us that Harland Sanders sold his secret recipe door to door, and in 1952 at age 62, he licensed his recipe to a store in Utah, which became the first Kentucky Fried Chicken. At our first stop, we tasted quarters of chicken brined in buttermilk, fried in a batter with 25 spices and drizzled with maple syrup that was infused with seven types of chili peppers. Then, we ate the biggest chicken wings I’ve ever seen, which were kind of bland, but served with intensely flavored “poor people” deep-fried cornbread made with water and bacon fat. At our third stop, I had my all-time favorite Old Fashioned that was as sweet as southern tea and made with Kentucky bourbon, and served alongside another quarter chicken that was brined, smoked, braised then deep-fried, and served with cauliflower grits. Finally, we had “hot chicken,” deep-fried and crusty, laced with seven levels of chili-infused heat, with shots of Kentucky bourbon and pot-liquor chasers (mind-blowing!).

"Hot chicken," deep-fried and crusty, laced with seven levels of chili-infused heat, with shots of Kentucky bourbon and pot-liquor chasers. Marta Lane photo

“Hot chicken,” deep-fried and crusty, laced with seven levels of chili-infused heat, with shots of Kentucky bourbon and pot-liquor chasers. Marta Lane photo

The next two days were filed with workshops such as “Using Our Culinary Expertise for Good,” “How to Write Cookbooks and Stories,” “How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation in Your Writing,” “Epigenetics, Nutrigenetics and the Infamous Microbiome,” “Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food,” and more. In all, I attended 15 workshops about food and writing. We had bountiful breakfasts and keynote speakers talked about the culture of place in Southern cuisine, as well as technology and food. Lunch included a bevy of ways to serve lentils and dinners included a community cook in where we made potstickers, brisket and collards. The awards ceremony was held at the beautiful Louisville Palace Theater  and hosted by Carla Hall, a Top Chef contestant and host of The Chew. Afterwards, ten varieties of Hot Browns were served by ten restaurants that had tables at The Brown Hotel, where the dish originated. Incase you don’t know, a Hot Brown is an open-face turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes and a rich mornay sauce. 

Carla Hall hosts the 2017 IACP Awards. Marta Lane photo

Carla Hall hosts the 2017 IACP Awards. Marta Lane photo

If you devour food writing like I do, some of the 2017 IACP winners include:

  • Narrative Food Writing With or Without Recipes
    Daniel Duane
    “My Dinners With Harold”
    The California Sunday Magazine December 1, 2016
  • Culinary Travel Writing
    Kim Cross
    “The Crossing” Cooking Light November 2016
  • Personal Essays/Memoir Writing
    Carol Penn-Romine
    Best Food Writing 2016 November 8, 2016
  • Food-Focused Column
    Francis Lam
    “From Grandmother’s House to Hers; Shamelessly French; Korean Comfort Food; Casa Calamari “
    The New York Times Magazine
    April 10, May 8, August 21, December 4, 2016
  • Best Commercial Food Photograph
    Steve Legato
    “Stoccafisso” December 2016
  • Best Cookbook – Chefs & Restaurants (and best overall)
    Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South
    Author: Vivian Howard
    Editor: Michael Szczerban
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Best Cookbook – Culinary Travel
    Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan
    Author: Naomi Duguid
    Editor: Ann Bramson
    Publisher: Artisan Books
  • Best Cookbook – Single Subject
    The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    Author: Cara Mangini
    Editor: Kylie Foxx McDonald
    Publisher: Workman Publishing Co., Inc

You can read the complete list of 2017 IACP winners here.

Kauai-grown variegated Eureka lemons. Daniel Lane photo

Kauai-grown variegated Eureka lemons. Daniel Lane photo

It took 17 hours to get to Kentucky from Kauai. There were three days of workshops, networking and events that ran from 7 a.m. until at least 11 p.m., and 17 hours back home. I returned Monday night and Dan and I had two full tours on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Universe was looking out for me on Thursday, because we didn’t have a tour and that’s when my body decided to collapse. Despite making sure I drank plenty of water, washing my hands every time I went to the bathroom (which was a lot due to all the water I drank) and plenty of sleep, I got the flu many of my friends have been moaning about. That was 17 days ago.

Kauai Honey, Ginger and Lemon Tea. Marta Lane photo

Kauai Honey, Ginger and Lemon Tea. Marta Lane photo

The first five days, I couldn’t move from our ched (a name I’ve given our Tempur-pedic bed that folds at the foot and back, which looks like a couch in the daytime and a bed at night. We live in a 450 square-foot ohana, or mother-in-law studio, where our living room also happens to be our bedroom). Two days in, Dan got the evil bug, and we both moaned on the ched, took naps, ate soup and avocado toast and drank lots of cold-pressed juice. Dan’s cold-press juice recipe includes oranges, Swiss chard, ginger, turmeric, cilantro, parsley, carrots and cucumber–all from Kealia Farm Market.

The healthy food didn’t seem to be making a dent and we were too tired to cook. So one day we made a quick run to the convenience store and bought potato chips, onion dip and ice cream, and devoured those for dinner.

Last Monday, we dragged our sick selves to the Kealia Farm Market to buy more produce for our juices. Mike, a beekeeper and owner of My Kauai Honey, noticed that I had a pretty severe wheeze when I spoke (which is the only thing that’s really wrong with me now, that and being super tired). He suggested I take an eye dropper full of his propolis every three hours and guaranteed I’d be well in 24 hours.

I’m still wheezing when I talk, which usually ends up in coughing spasms, and Dan feels lightheaded all the time. Besides lots of naps, the best remedy I’ve found is this tea with some of Mike’s raw honey, and lemon and ginger from the Kealia Farm market. I let the ginger and lemon steep for a long time to extract their beneficial nutrients and flavors, and add honey at the end, when the tea has cooled a bit, so as not to destroy the honey’s health-giving properties. If you’ve got the crud, please share your favorite remedy in the comments.

Lemon, Ginger and Honey Tea
Makes 4 cups
4 cups of boiling water
3-inch chunk of ginger, cleaned and smashed
½ lemon, cut in two wedges
2 tablespoons of honey
Place ginger in a 4-cup Pyrex measure and pour boiling water over it. Place lemon wedges over a small metal strainer and squeeze so juice spills into ginger water. Let the strainer catch seeds, then discard and add lemon wedges to hot water. Let the whole thing steep for 10 minutes and strain. I served ours in pint-sized Hydro Flask “glasses” then added 1 tablespoon of honey to each.

All images copyright 2016 Daniel Lane/Pono Photo. For more information, visit