Like nearly every college-educated American, I waited tables in college. It was dull, drab, dirty work. I took the breakfast shift out of a misguided desire to share my summer nights with my then-boyfriend (trust me, fending off drunk patrons in the wee hours would have been time better spent). As I dished two over medium/bacon extra crisp/dry wheat toast to my wizened old regulars, I despaired about all the worthwhile things I could have been doing instead - sunning myself on the beach, reading hundreds of novels, shopping at the mall. What was this waitressing thing doing for me anyway?
Well, folks, I have to credit waitressing with teaching me one of the most valuable lessons of my life.
I had gotten to work at 7 am one day, as usual, but I was in pain. I had crawled out of bed that morning, in all likelihood still reeking of beer, and brushed my teeth and hair and gotten dressed - not easy to do when you're curled up on the floor in the fetal position. To drive I had to straighten up a bit, but thankfully the restaurant was less than a mile from the house. I hung my head out the window like a dog when nausea threatened, but luckily it was all talk, no action.
Wendy, one of the other waitresses, saw instantly what ailed me. "You're hungover," she chirped (Wendy was perpetually cheerful. Sometimes, an annoying thing that early in the day.) She marched me behind the bar, filled a glass with club soda, threw in a dash of Angostura bitters and a straw and made me drink it down.
Within 15 minutes my tummy trouble was gone. I can't say the same for the headache and wobbly knees, but that was nothing a dose of Advil couldn't cure. I sailed through service, delivering eggs and waffles with a smile, and - most important - made it back out again that night.
Ever since that miraculous day, I've had a bottle of bitters stashed in my fridge. Try it. It's only a couple of bucks. What have you got to lose?
Wendy's Hangover Cure
4 oz. club soda, sparkling water, or tonic water
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
spritz of lime
1. Combine in a glass or, if you have one, a sippy cup. Stir. Make yourself drink it all.