When hungover, most people take an aspirin and stay in bed. Others choose to write a book about it.
That is not exactly how Lauren Shockey came up with the idea to write "Hangover Helper," a cookbook featuring recipes for hangover cures from around the globe. Instead, she was inspired after reading an article about haejangguk, Korean hangover soup, which is made differently all over South Korea.
Shockey said she found it interesting that Korean hangover food was so different from what Americans typically eat.
"We sort of associate eggs and pancakes and potatoes and kind of greasy, eggy, starchy things," Shockey said. "So that really just got me thinking, I wonder what people around the world eat when they’re hungover.”
Shockey herself knows a lot about food, having studied at what is now the International Culinary Center in New York City after completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago. She went on to spend an entire year learning to cook at high-end restaurants in New York, Vietnam, France and Israel, an experience which prompted her to write her first book, "Four Kitchens."
The experience gained from her culinary background allowed her to develop every recipe in "Hangover Helper" herself. Much of her insight on foreign hangover dishes came from foreign acquaintances, those who held some knowledge of the subject and even social media sites such as Reddit.
“I definitely reached out to basically anyone I’d ever met who lives in a foreign country or is from a foreign country,” Shockey said.
She said since there are really no experts on hangovers, she spoke with average people to gain a better sense of typical hangover foods across the globe.
After Shockey learned more about international hangover dishes, she said she was able to curate her own recipes based on her research. She said some were surprisingly difficult to create, such as the garlic soup.
“I think maybe just because it’s such a simple, homey recipe. That one actually took forever to develop," Shockey said. "I feel like my husband and I ate garlic soup for weeks on end.”
Besides developing the recipes for "Hangover Helper," Shockey said she enjoyed her experience collaborating with London-based illustrator Sophie Melissa, who created a full-page illustration for every recipe in the book based on photographs Shockey sent her. Melissa’s eye-catching work matches the cookbook's lighthearted topic.
“[Shockey] knew she wanted really bold colors, very bright and cheerful, and my work is really colorful,” Melissa said.
While the purpose of the cookbook is to cure readers' hangovers, Shockey herself has benefited from all of her research, she said.
“The very last recipe in the book is sort of my go-to when I personally am making hangover food. I really like to do a sandwich which has pepper bacon, shrimp, eggs, cilantro and sweet Thai chili sauce,” Shockey said.
"Hangover Helper" comes out Tuesday, Oct. 1 and will be available in hardcover on Amazon and at most major bookstores.