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The Texanist: Is Menudo Really a Hangover Cure?

Menudo for the crudo.

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Illustration by Tim Bower

Q: Is it true that menudo will cure a hangover?

Brenda Spearman, Fort Worth

A: Menudo for the crudo, as the saying goes. Crudo being Mexican slang for “hangover,” and “menudo” being a spicy Mexican beef tripe and hominy stew that’s rich in peppers, garlic, and other assorted spices, often garnished with chile powder, oregano leaves, cilantro, chopped onions, lime wedges, and sliced radish, and served with fresh, warm tortillas. A labor-intensive staple of Mexican-American homes and Tex-Mex eateries’ weekend menus, Menudo has long been touted as a cure for the whahappenlastnights. And it’s not just menudo, either. Tripe soups the world over are believed to possess such therapeutic qualities. The Greeks, the Turks, and many Eastern Europeans, to name just a few, all believe in the powers of cow stomach stews for the remnant wooziness that can follow a saucy spree.

But does this piquant potion actually cure the aftereffects of a boozy bender? People insist that it does. The Texanist even read recently that menudo is George Strait’s go-to counteractant for occasional crapulence. And he’s part owner of a tequila company. However, the Texanist can find no solid scientific evidence proving the theory out. But neither can he find any documentation disproving it, either.

Still, you’ve found your way to a man of a certain age who has a fair amount of life experience under his belt. (Read: alcoholic drinks under his belt. And, if we’re going to be completely honest, over his belt, too.) “Expertise” might not be the correct word here, but suffice it to say, the Texanist knows of what he speaks when it comes to hangovers. The Texanist has taken the booze train to Guzzle Town on numerous occasions, and he has brought that place’s most popular souvenir home with him more than once. Remember the days of “Drink and Drown” happy hours? Twofer Tuesdays? Thirsty Thursdays? Nickel shots? Who could forget those glory days? Who could remember those days? Sheesh! The Texanist is lucky to be alive.

And if there’s one thing the Texanist has to show for those glory days (and nights) it is this: (spoiler alert) there exists no single surefire cure for the boogie-woogie flu. How does he know this, you ask? Because the Texanist has, at one time or another, pretty much tried them all. Menudo? Check. Prickly pear? Check. Ginseng? Check. Raw eggs? Check. Enchiladas? Check. Migas, smoothies, corn dogs, milkshakes? Check, check, check, and check. Fried chicken? Check. (Note: The fried chicken almost worked one time when the Texanist was visiting Memphis, Tennessee, for bachelor party.) Swimming? Check. Tomato juice? Check. Spicy tomato juice with vodka? Check. There is something to be said for a little hair of the dog, but a hangover cure it is not. Oatmeal with black olives? Check. The Texanist could go on, but he’s got a happy hour to get to.

The thing is, there’s only one 100-percent effective way to get around the good lord’s revenge. And the Texanist thinks you probably know exactly what it is. If you can’t or don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime. But you came here with a question about menudo, not a buzzkilling lecture on abstinence.

So, does menudo cure hangovers? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Not completely, anyway. But you’ll be happy to hear that all of the anecdotal evidence the Texanist has collected over the years suggests that a big steaming bowl of menudo sure doesn’t hurt. After all, the one thing a hangover calls for is a good dose of comfort, pure and simple. And menudo is Mexican-style comfort food par excellence. Give it a try.

The Texanist hopes this helps.

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  • Matt Schaffer

    I have only found one hangover cure, and it is indeed sure-fire. Literally. You take a black powder firearm (much louder than smokeless powder), put the action next to your skull, and – pointing said piece in a safe direction – pull the trigger. When you regain consciousness and pick yourself up off the ground (seriously, only a few seconds), you’ll feel fine, absolutely no cranial or gastrointestinal side effects. Total cure.

  • Jeronimo Dan

    The hair of the dog, but sooner, or later you have to man up and take on the carnage.

  • Katy del Moxie

    When I was young and worked at 7-11, 20 years ago, I met a young man who hated his Mexican roots. It was at a time when I was exploring my Japanese ones and I think he had a special ire for me because of it (since I just look white and he thought I should have just been happy passing for white and said as much to me). When one of our coworkers brought in Menudo that her father had made at home, I was happy to try a big steaming to go container of it. The man waited until my mouth was full of tasty goodness before he gleefully told me what kind of meat was in the stew. I continued chewing, swallowed, and told him that it was excellent cow stomach and he couldn’t gross me out since I had eaten much weirder Japanese food. Never broke eye content. Didn’t let it stop me from enjoying the homemade menudo. Didn’t improve what he thought of me, but I was forever endeared to the middle aged Hispanic ladies I worked with who thought it was hilarious. Their opinions were much more valued since, as a poor college student, the amount of homemade Mexican food that was given to me after that was a life saver.

  • Jesús B Ochoa

    the ama did a study (complete with before and after pix of stomach linings) back in the sixties (i think, or thereabouts) that concluded the capstaicin (sp?) in chiles did in fact cure the stomach after heavy drinking.

    • rickthenailer

      That can explain why very hot chilaquiles are another classic dish for the day after heavy drinking.