Seasons change. Sometimes when they do I get sick. It happened this year; Monday afternoon I was stricken with a chest cold and fever. The worst part of it was over by Thursday morning. Like all New Yorkers, I have my stand by cure-all that I go to and suggest you try as well.
Back in my freelance days, when staying in bed to heal rather than going to work was not an option, this was suggested to me by an old experienced pro. It has served me well, not so much as a cure as a way to keep myself moving through a cold that would otherwise have been debilitating.
The first ingredient is a quart of Hot and Sour soup from the cheapest Chinese restaurant in your neighborhood. Really cheap, the storefront with an high counter made of Formica about 8 feet from the glass door. There should be one table snugged up against the wall farthest from the door. The table should have one ok chair, one uncomfortable chair, and one piece of furniture hardly discernable as a chair except for the bright brass-toned screw that used to hold the front left corner of the textured red vinyl pad to the frame that now just gouges the outside of your thigh while you precariously try to balance on the three remaining points of contact.
This table should only be used for waiting by the people who have walked in without calling in their order ahead, although if you get sick often enough you will probably have seen one person eating at it at least once. Most likely, what they will have been having is the fried chicken special which has been cleavered into eight pieces where there are usually four and is somehow served with fries for about $5.45, even in this day and age.
Another clear identifier that you are in the right place to procure your primary cure ingredient is the 2-foot square, backlit, bright yellow sign with garishly colored pictures of select menu items, like beef and broccoli, fried dumplings and General Tso's chicken. The perfect place will only be wide enough for about 6-8 of these signs over the counter horizontally but in strip malls, usually close to bowling alleys, I have seen stores big enough to hold about 12 across.
If these signs have many pieces of masking tape layered over the prices in enough different colors of marker that you can still tell through minimal visual excavation that at some point the sweet and sour shrimp was something like X.35 even though now it is X.95, all the better.
If all these indicators exist and you are still not convinced, you can rest assured if the menu is a white piece of paper bigger then anything you have ever seen in Kinko's, with about 250 items on the front printed in red and black with a serial number at the top that corresponds to a perforated section at the bottom. This will be stapled to the top of your brown bag when you leave and the remaining larger portion of the broad sheet will be handed to you with circles around every word you said while at the counter.
Once you've found your place, the next step is easy. Order a large Hot and Sour soup extra hot. It doesn't really matter if they think you mean picante or calliente. If they repeat "extra hot" when you order, you will end up with the right thing. Take this home stapled safely in its bag (if you don't have a bottle of Nyquil, pick one up on the way, it has to be the green one), put on your pajamas and turn down the covers on your bed. Once that is done, drink the broth of your Hot and Sour soup. Drink from the edge of its container. Do so as fast as you can, not so fast that you get the hiccups, but efficiently. There is no reason to eat the solids. Once you have taken all the broth in, take two large gulps of the Nyquil (throw the shot glass out, your proper dose depends on your ability to choke the green monster down from the bottle). Now immediately get in bed, under the covers, and wait for the Nyquil to knock you out.
When you awake you will be aware that you sweat while you slept, and you will be much more able to face the day ahead.