by Carol Blymire on September 28, 2011

in Cooking

Oh boy, do I hope you all have not been hit with whatever this virus is that seems to be going around.

I’m on Day 4 of it, and AM NOT HANDLING THIS WELL AT ALL.  I am a terrible patient, and am even more cranky than my usual cranktastic self when I’m sick.  Bleh.  This is not fun.

And you know what makes it worse?  That I can’t eat my regular, familiar, make-me-feel-better comfort foods.

– Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup with Saltines

– Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

– Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

– Elbow macaroni with butter

Yes, yes, I know there are gluten-free alternatives, but THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AND I WANT MY OLD FOOD BACK… WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH…..


When you’re sick, what food makes you feel better?  What do you miss, if you’re a no-gluten guy or gal?  What have you found in its place?  Help me out here… I need some inspiration.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Victoria September 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Imagine Food’s Creamy Tomato soup is alarmingly like Campbell’s, both straight-up and when used in recipes –

I was so happy to find it. Tomato soup (especially in recipes) is one of those things that is not easy to sub on a gluten-free diet. Very nice for those “MOMMY I WANT SOUP! Oh crap… she’s not here and I can’t eat that kind anymore” moments.

Rather than mac & cheese, I usually go for a cheesey risotto. I’ve developed a deep love for my rice cooker (and it makes a decent risotto when you just dump in 3 parts liquid to 1 part short grain rice and let it go on it’s own, even better if you also use some shallot and toast your rice a bit). For cheese goodness as easy (and frankly better) as the box mac & cheese, shred some good cheddar or cheese of choice in there. My husband still prefers the mac & cheese, but I’ll make myself that risotto instead.

I’m currently home with why my doc today called “a little bit of flu, or a little bit of food poisoning, or guess what, you might have become lactose intolerant too!” and I did have enough energy to pull a chicken carcas out of the freezer, empty my sad looking veg into a pot and start some chicken stock.

Although right now, all I can think about is risotto.


2 Bren September 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Awwwww! I FEEL for you! I just had the flu and one day I was almost pitching a full blown temper tantrum because I couldn’t have my beloved beef barley soup with – yes, me too – buttered saltines. I was MAD! Unfortunately, ALL my comfort foods are gluten-y and I am coming to grips with the idea that I just have to deal. That said, when I DO feel down about what I can’t have and I don’t feel well (or just don’t feel like “dealing”) I will spoil myself with something like a bigass baked potato covered with cheese and bacon and a sprinkling of scallion – and a half a stick of butter! – or a huge GF brownie with either peanut butter swirls or marshmallows and peanuts or toffee bits or – like Victoria! – a huge bowl of microwave risotto (seriously, it’s to DIE for!) with WHATEVER I WANT on top.

I don’t ALWAYS get a “fix” but usually the stuff I do have tastes yummy enough to distract my inner three year old long enough for my stomach to tell my brain to tell said three year old that everyone’s happy, so be quiet and go color.


3 Bunnee September 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Oh, a transcontinental virus – I’ve got it, too, and I’m in the other Washington. I pretty much like the same things you do (or did) but I’ve lost most of my appetite. I had a chicken pot pie last night which I usually love, but it didn’t taste too good. Tonight chicken paprikash (my considerably easier and probably not the least bit authentic version), with lots of spicy smoked paprika. And there is the lentil soup – lentils, onions, carrots, tomatoes in chicken broth with some gruyere melted into it – my go-to meal when I don’t feel like shopping.

Feel better soon and drink lots of liquids!


4 Megan September 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Irish soda bread.
In the past, when I’ve been sick, I would force myself into the kitchen and make a loaf to go with my ginger ale and the stack of old movies I’ve always meant to watch, and eat it for a day or two while periodically passing out.
The last time I was sick, I made a gluten-free version that I wasn’t particularly careful with (meaning, my flour options were low and I didn’t think when I did the conversion).
I didn’t eat that sick. Loaf was bad. :(
I’ll be better prepared next time!


5 Victoria September 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm

The Irish Soda Bread recipe in the Culinary Institute of America’s Gluten-Free baking book is pretty good. Mine spread more than I would have like (next time I might make it in a pie plate to try and stop the spreading) but the stuff tasted just like gluten-y soda bread.


6 Megan October 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

I have heard of this book, but have not picked up a copy. This may propel me to do so. Thank you!


7 Krissy (Make it Naked) September 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

that sucks. i was sick for weeks last winter and all i ate was ochazuke. steep green tea in broth and pour it over cooked brown rice, with edamame and ginger. spice it up with sriracha – clears the sinuses. its on the menu at Teaism. not sure if its GF there. i posted about it last winter during my sick time. but you dont need to do all that when you feel like crap. green tea broth cures. feel better!

Holy moley, that sounds really good! —–CB


8 Derek September 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

When I’m sick, I usually feel better and kill time by reading about people cooking dishes from Alinea, but I guess that’s not very helpful advice right now. :-P Actually, I’m a big fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream. I find the mintiness refreshing even when I’m sick. Is your stomach up for dairy? I truly hope you feel better soon. :-)

Smartypants….. —–CB


9 Erica September 29, 2011 at 7:56 am

Lentil soup with spinach and lemon. I know this sounds kind of batty, but back home (in Pittsburgh – PA shout out!), there’s a stellar place called Aladdin’s and their lentil soup is ah-mazing. I would take a bath in that stuff. No joke. Whenever I make my own lentil soup, I throw in a generous amount of lemon and it makes me feel much happier about life in general.

(PS: sorry about your Tetris-life. *hug* You make things good by you. We’ll be cheering you on from the other side of the internet all the way to January.)


10 Pam S. September 29, 2011 at 9:18 am

One of my favorite things to eat in the past was also tomato soup and grilled cheese. Soup is still a great thing when sick and I believe there are some healing properties in chicken broth. :)
I usually make an asian inspired soup by just heating up chicken broth and throw in whatever veggies you have such as mushrooms, zucchini, bok choy, and green onions. Add some soy sauce, fresh ginger and sriracha if you want it. You could even add rice noodles if that is your thing.


11 Crystal September 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Our household’s go-to meal when we’re sick is chicken broth with spinach, rice or soup-appropriate gluten free pasta (I use the ditalini from Le Veneziane), an egg swirled in, and a little cayenne.

Feel better!


12 terri September 30, 2011 at 1:25 am

I am finishing up a cold and I DID have grilled cheese and tomoto soup. Canyon Bakehouse makes some kick-ass GF bread ( I got mine at Central Market) and I paired it with Imagine (no dairy or gluten) tomato soup. It was almost heaven.


13 Charlie September 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

In my former gluten-rich life, Saltines offered a tiny atoll in an otherwise dim sea of misery. Mind you, they had zero value during healthy times, but on a sick day… that’s all I wanted. Alas, there is no substitute — nut/rice cracker planks provide no such comfort for the virus-trodden.


14 Marja October 3, 2011 at 1:00 am

Pho! With lots of ginger and star anise. Incredibly comforting and easy to make when you are feeling crummy.


15 mindy October 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Aw man, being sick SUCKS at the best of times, but when dealing with gluten free issues, that’s just adding insult to injury. Before going gf I got sick ALL the time. Every virus that crossed my path made me very ill and then I got a sinus infection. I haven’t had a cold for two and a half years now.

With that said, sometimes I just want comfort food, and with all my food intolerances (dairy, soy, grains, tree nuts, etc, etc), my options are limited. Before I had to go dairy free, stovetop mac and cheese by Alton Brown was even BETTER than the Kraft stuff! The corn/quinoa blended pasta works best (can’t remember the brand but it’s got a turquoise blue box and they do have elbow pasta).

These days, dried fruits are my candy of choice, but in a moment of weakness I’ll take a dark chocolate bar or truffle chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s. The ultimate on a hot summer day is chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (yes, such a thing exists: So Delicious coconut milk ice cream) or vanilla coconut milk ice cream by Coconut Bliss with maple syrup on top. MMMMM!


16 mantonat October 5, 2011 at 1:39 am

I never really liked Campbell’s soups when I was a kid, but the bowl always came with a grilled cheese sandwich or fish sticks. Now I can find or make better soups and I honestly really enjoy a gooey grilled cheese with Udi’s GF bread. Something about the texture when grilled with lots of butter is just as satisfying as wheat bread. I’ve also seen some GF fish sticks at Whole Foods recently but haven’t tried them – didn’t notice the brand name.


17 Laura October 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm

That’s so weird–I never miss gluten except when I’m sick. And then same thing, I want Kraft mac and cheese and (get this) minute rice cooked with (gluten-filled) cream of chicken soup. Yuck! I haven’t had those foods in 25 years.


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