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How to Feed a Cold : The Incredible Guggle Muggle


It was an annual ritual--the preparation of the Guggle Muggle.

Every winter, if I didn't happen to have a cold, one of my two brothers was sure to have one, and this was heralded by my mother's perennial question: "How's your throat?" If the kid glugged instead of responding in words, Mom headed for the kitchen to make the Guggle Muggle.

For those colds that didn't cause a sore throat, there was chicken soup. This was not canned chicken soup. It was the kind of soup Mom made by dumping into a pot all those parts of the chicken that didn't cost anything at Mrs. Adelman's chicken store across from our house in Brooklyn, including the feet.

Especially the feet, smashed with a cleaver to release the secret ingredients that cured colds. Mom used to pour boiling water over them to remove the outer skin before dumping it all--including the gizzard and the heart--into the pot, with celery and carrots and other stuff. The liver was turned into chopped liver that was as pro-cholesterol as anything we ate. Except gribenes.

Gribenes is the Yiddish word for fried chicken skin--or Jewish "pork rinds," the purest form of instant heart attack. When the chicken was being prepared for the stew pot, some of the skin was removed and the fat rendered until the chicken skin got crisp. Then Mom would add raw onions, chopped, and cook it until the onions were brown.

As for the Guggle Muggle, apparently it's an old Russian term ( gogol-mogol ), but my parents have never been able to figure out what it means. Or even whether it means anything. What we did know, at least what had been passed down to us by oral tradition, was that it cured the sore throat.

"The Guggle Muggle?" asked my mother the other day. "Oh, that's simple. What you do is take the yolk of an egg and beat it as well as you can with a teaspoonful of sugar. Then you get a cup of milk or a little bit more and you heat it until it's almost boiling, and then you add it to the egg and mix it and drink it.

"It's a sore-throat remedy, and it makes your cold feel better too. I think it's just as good as chicken soup. And besides, it tasted good."

At least it was cholesterol-compatible.

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