For a long time, I thought I didn’t get hangovers. According to pop culture, hangovers were a splitting headache, an endless stream of vomit, a state of being so despondent that a quick but brutal death would be better than another five minutes of this hell on earth—unless, of course, you ate pancakes. Or any of the "12 Best Foods Sure to Cure Your Hangover (You Won’t Believe Number 6!)" articles. Well, I don’t believe any of it, because while now I’m experienced enough to know I do get hangovers (which, for me, are just a day of useless blah where I’ve both slept too much and not enough), I’ve also figured out that there’s not a single breakfast that makes it go away.
If you ask people for what they do to cure their hangovers, after suggesting the usual water and ibuprofen, they’ll then vehemently recommend you eat. Avocado toast, waffles, greasy bacon and eggs, the options are as diverse as they are consistent. But, as is also the case whenever my roommates buy candy corn, I have eaten all of it, and I have not felt any better.
What I’ve felt is lied to. Eating breakfast the morning after drinking has made me feel “good” in the sense that food is what sustains human life, but never has it eliminated the past eight hours I spent dehydrating my body and filling it with the cheapest alcohol on the menu. A Sunday brunch is alluring for its Instagram aesthetic, but afterwards I’m full, still hungover, and now outside.
This leads me to only one conclusion: We’re using hangovers as an excuse to eat food that might be otherwise deemed too indulgent. “Normally I wouldn’t eat home fries, chocolate chip pancakes, sausages, and grits,” we say to the waiter, who does not care. “But, well, I’m hungover.”
Home fries, chocolate chip pancakes, sausages, and grits are delicious, so why are we only eating them when we aren’t at full capacity to enjoy them? If you’re ordering food with the tentative knowledge that you might later barf it up, then you’re eating it with that same unease as well. Save that delicious, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth breakfast goodness for the mornings when your heart and soul can absorb it. When the going gets tough, you’re better off eating saltines and peanut butter on the couch, because that hangover’s not going away regardless.
The only true hangover cure is time, and maybe a giant bottle of water. Personally, I’ve never experienced freedom from a hangover until the morning after the morning after, when I wake up, stretch my legs, and think, “You know what? Now would be a great time for waffles.”