Hair of the dog

Hair of the dog

Hair of the dog Before stepping into 2013, all I think of is walking.


Always ahead… Without looking back, with decisive, straight steps…

Fast without haste…

In the cool heights of Scotland, when looking at the infinite green hills, all I had in mind was walking… The walking man with the walking cane, the black cylinder hat, the black high boots was the image that kept flashing back. His face not visible, the steps of the walking man echoed in my ears, while the smoky taste of whisky invaded my palate.

This was one of the most memorable journeys I had in 2012, most probably because it was related with booze.

2012 was supposed to be the doomed year. The long-awaited “apocalypse” did not happen, but for many, it proved to be the year of “Annus Horribilis.”

I keep hearing from so many people that they do not want to remember this year, myself being no exception. Of course one proven way to “not remember” is to drink. The only problem with excessive drinking is that one can only delete the day before, but not the whole previous year. There are always days when a bit of overdosing happens; Dec. 31 must be the sure winner. On the last day of the year, while stocking the booze for a good party, what seems to be a wise step is also stocking remedies for a possible hangover, especially after a doomed year like 2012.

Similia similibus curantur

An old anonymous quote is much repeated, especially on the last day of the year:

“Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow ye die...
or wish ye were dead.”

Every culture has found its own way of dealing with this wretched state of “wishing to be dead.” Prescriptions for a hangover are varied. One popular method is to have more alcohol the day after. The remedy drink called “hair of the dog” comes from the ancient belief of treating a dog bite by placing hair from the same dog on the wound.

In a dictionary of phrases from 1898, the explanation, not surprisingly, comes from the highlands:
“In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves.”

This idea of “like cures like,” or as it was known in the times of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, similia similibus curantur, somehow works, not in bites, but in hangovers. However, most prefer to stay away from alcohol the next day. The ultimate hangover cure, or better to say precaution, is işkembe çorbası, tripe soup, in Turkey. There is logic in hoping for a cure from tripe soup, in parallel to the “hair of the dog” concept. Tripe is the stomach after all, and it is supposed to be good for a messed-up stomach. Another Turkish dish that works well is mantı. The protein-carb combination of dumplings restores the miserable condition, with the garlic yogurt picking you up like magic.

As I write my advice on hangovers, I pour myself another drink.

I fondly remember my boozy journey, and a phrase I read on that journey strikes my mind:

“Don’t be afraid to take a big step,
You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.”

As the ice cubes melt away, I decide to move on and forget 2012, saying to myself,

“Keep walking, don’t look back!”

I do not look back.

Instead, I take a sip from my Double Black!

Bad memories slowly melt away...

I know life will eventually get better...

Bite of the week

Cork of the Week: The amazing şalgam suyu, fermented black carrot juice or an electrifying pickle juice is the answer. They are both really good hangover cures but they may not do wonders in your messed up stomach. Better still, stick to good natural mineral water to restore your lost body minerals. Uludağ brand is the finest in Turkey, like the Champagne of mineral waters, and the unmistakable cobalt blue bottle will continue to give you the luxurious feeling you deserve for a better year. While sipping Uludağ, watch Hangover II on DVD, if nothing works, that will make you feel better. There are always worse cases!

Fork of the Week: My suggestion would be to have a good, hearty, well-prepared mantı. It has all that is needed to revive a corpse. The carbs from the dough, the protein from the meat filling and the yogurt, the fat from the butter drizzle and all the restoring qualities of garlic will bring you back to life. To stock up on one of the best in Istanbul, buy them frozen by the kilo from Terrace Mantı in Fulya, Beşiktaş, or as a precaution go for a bowl tripe soup with a good dose of garlicky vinegar that opens one’s eyes. The best venue is a classic in Istanbul, Laleli Işkembe in Tarlabaşı.