This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
The role-play scenario here is this: you have a hangover. You have to get to a certain level of drinking to achieve a hangover. There are those weird outlier hangovers – you know those odd times when you have two pints after work, and you go home while the sun is still up, and feel mostly sober and cook and prepare a meal, and get to bed in good time, full skincare routine, glass of water, and then wake up like you’ve been hit by a truck? – but those are the anomalies we are choosing to ignore.
I'm talking a hangover–hangover: the one where you started on the beers and then moved on to more beers, you started on the strong ABV and kept getting stronger, then right at that tipping point in the night – the moment where you know it is your final chance to escape safely and mostly intact, or when you choose to turn and plunge the knife of yourself into this evening, spiralling into the chaos – instead of getting the night bus you instead got an entire tray of shots, and then more beers, then a weird bit where the pub you were in was closing but a mate knew a pub nearby that was open later, and that nearby turned out to be an entire 15-minute walk away because you were all pissed and walking in circles, and so you nipped into an interstitial off license on the way and got a can (Desperados, for some reason: something came over you???) to sustain your buzz unto the next pub, which was open yes, but with all the lights up and all the staff visibly cleaning, and so you ordered two pints each because it was last orders and decked them all, and nobody has eaten anything but let’s go round to his place because it’s nearby, and obviously you tote with you the iconic blue bag of cans, and maybe you bought a bag of Minstrels and some crisps with you to pad out the excess of alcohol you were drinking and maybe you didn’t, but nonetheless the tunes were on and you were feeling pretty good so you went: can, can, can, weird vodka mixer with some supermarket own-brand and a little bit of his housemate's Ribena, can, can, fall asleep on the sofa a little bit, rouse yourself briefly and insist you are OK, fall asleep on the sofa for a little bit more, have to get shaken awake and asked to leave, £25 Uber home, in at 4AM up at 8AM.
That is the scenario we are living, here. You can choose yourself whether you did this on a Thursday for a horrid Friday work hangover, or a Friday for a horrid Saturday home hangover. But either way you need to, now, eat. Here’s what you’re going to eat:
ENTIRE TRAY OF CHICKEN OR CHICKEN-EQUIVALENT NUGS
Starting with the most solid, stand-up, absolute class act hangover breakfast there is: nuggets, an entire tray thereof, cooked at slightly-too-high a temperature straight from the freezer into the oven, eaten in silence with ketchup on the sofa. A soldier you can go into war with.
For weird lads who have strict gym routines or are training for a half-marathon. Not for real people. Not for normal people. No.
FIVE-PACK OF DONUTS
All of the seven deadly sins can be covered by a go-to hangover snack: pride (a beer the second you wake up), greed (entire Domino's Meal Deal for one), lust (effervescent antacid + a lurid wank), envy (big scroll through Instagram wellness bloggers and sober Facebook friends doing rock-climbing followed by going out for a wholesome brunch that somehow ends up costing you £30), wrath (vindaloo), sloth (two sofa naps sandwiched around a chocolate milkshake and a bacon sandwich someone else made for you).
Entire five-thing of supermarket donuts (custard flavour the best, but raspberry at a push) is gluttony, that's the joke. You feel better, sure, but you’re undoubtedly going to hell.
WHOLE THING OF TESCO TRIPLE-CHOC SUPERMARKET COOKIES
Same way Ray Mears takes a whole crate of Kendell's mint cake out with him when he goes Big Lad Camping, I take an entire supermarket thing of fresh-baked triple chocolate cookies on the bus with me when I’ve really overdone it on a school night, and that works just as well on cross-city trains over the weekend or if I have to come home after a large one in some distant northern town. The fresh-baked triple chocolate cookie pack is portable, consistent and – if you don’t manage to eat all four in one horrible sitting, like a dog – they work well the next day or later for dinner, if your hangover is one that lingers. It’s survival food, is what I’m saying, and anyone who opts for it over more traditional hangover snacks is someone who says: yes, I need to wallow on a sofa right now, but instead I’m soldiering on. I’m brave.
Drinking one of these on a hangover is similar to having a very long, hot shower on one: it feels like you are being good to yourself in a very spiritual way, like being reborn, baptised, made anew, only actually all you’re doing is drinking a Mars milkshake through a sports cap
Actual Brunch – actual, go-out-and-go-to-the-brunch-place-brunch – never actually makes you feel better, because right now what you need is trash food and like three separate blankets over the cold parts (but not the hot parts) of your body, and what you don’t need is to have to get properly dressed to go to an avo-toast place where for some reason there are three or four toddlers, always, running feral, little organic-carrot-juice toddlers that are somehow worse and more annoying than just a common-or-garden chips-and-a-slap toddler, and you have to endure all this? And pay through the nose for it? And you can’t even watch Netflix in silence while you do it? No. The brunch goer is a mistake maker. The hangover bruncher should never be trusted.
Sometimes your body wants something cold, too cold, pathologically cold, and sometimes – when it is 8AM and you are staring into the freezer section wondering if it's too early for a Cornetto – sometimes you should tell your body: no
CHEESE + HAM TOASTIE OR ANY SORT OF CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST CARB LIKE A CROISSANT OR WHATEVER
A good, middle-of-the-road hangover fixer. Real eighth-in-the-table sort of hangover breakfast. Congratulations, you’re Everton.
THEM BALZEN BISCUITS OR ANY SORT OF BISCUITS, A WHOLE THING OF MARYLAND COOKIES FOR INSTANCE IS VERY GOOD
You want what you want and what you want is: punishment
########### ENTERING ############# THE ######## PIZZA ZONE #############
COLD PIZZA FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE EATEN COLD, IDEALLY WHILE HALF-HANGING OUT OF BED TO REACH OVER TO WHERE YOU THREW IT (THE PIZZA) LAST NIGHT, SO IT’S LIKE HALF ON YOUR JEANS STILL FROM WHEN YOU GOT IN AND JUST PULLED THEM OFF IN ONE DRUNKEN MOTION
This is the best way to eat pizza, and I include "going to Italy and getting a pizza there" in that.
A NORMAL DOMINO’S PIZZA
A ludicrous king! You absurd prince! An entire Domino’s! Ordered the second the website clicks over from "closed" to "open"! A whole Meal Deal just for you! You wonderful, decadent idiot! Enjoy your chicken poppers, you fantastic fool!
AN INSANE DOMINO’S PIZZA
Sometimes your hangover does something deranged to you and you order a custom pizza with, like, roast chicken and pepperoni and jalapenos and sweetcorn, and half tomato sauce, half BBQ sauce, something crazed like that, and good on you, to be honest. You followed your heart and your heart said: I can’t tell if we’re hungover or pregnant.
COLD PIZZA FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE HEATED UP IN SOME OBSCENE WAY, LIKE FRIED IN A PAN OR WEDGED SOMEHOW INTO A TOASTER
Spiritually as close to getting drunk as you’re gonna get this early in the morning: you know what you’re doing is wrong, but it feels good at the time.
ANY NON-DOMINO'S PIZZA
############# NOW EXITING ############ THE PIZZA ZONE ##################
BEANS ON TOAST
You were a child when you first mastered beans on toast, weren’t you, mighty white bread w/ a scraping of margarine, slop of beans on top, grated cheese, tray in front of the television, the comfort food your mother made you turned into the perfect after-school snack you could just about make yourself, you felt so grown up, you—
And you’re a student now, and you oscillate between the same three meals – spaghetti bolognese, "pasta w/ cheese" and beans on toast – and you’ve got these sort of advanced techniques you think are quite complex and cheffy: a knob of butter in the beans as you slowly warm them up! A dash of Worcestershire sauce and some Tabasco! But ultimately you are wrong about that, you are fooling yourself; learn to put together an arrabbiata you slob—
And now you are an adult, i.e. your mum no longer phones you to check that you are eating enough vegetables. You are self-sufficient and have been cooking for yourself for years – you can prepare like ten actual meals without checking the cooking instructions throughout, but here, in this foetal curl of a hangover, you find yourself crawling back to old dependable: a single tin of beans, warmed in a small pan, exceptionally cheap white bread toast, butter, cheese, eaten off your lap in front of your television. You’re a fucking child, mate. Grow up.
ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE BOWL OF COCO POPS
Coco Pops are the absolute G.O.A.T. Saturday morning hangover remedy, served w/ ice cold milk and ideally some sort of gentle brunch-n-banter TV show, and ideally you should pour so many Coco Pops into the bowl that it sort of overflows from the top of it onto the kitchen counter a bit, and you should also take the box through to the living room – or, if you’re real, to bed – as well as the milk so you can keep topping up appropriately until you’ve decked about 80 percent of a box all to yourself without moving. This is the level of decadence I imagine fat French kings used to live in constantly. The Coco Pop hangover eater is someone of taste, heritage, class. Honestly: I think at minimum you deserve an M.B.E.
A WHOLE EASTER EGG THAT YOU PUNCHED TO DUST
I like seasonal hangover snack choices, because it shows you can move with the times. Is there anything better than a Christmas–New Year hangover when you just sit flopped on a sofa eating a small plate of Quality St and Christmas snacks off a plate perched on your stomach? Is there anything nicer than having a whole cling-filmed thing of BBQ food to yourself on a July morning after you got Slightly Too Into Pimm's? And, crucially, is there anything better than having an entire Easter Egg – which you have punched a hole in, but done it weakly, so it’s not collapsed but now instead just has a large hole in – to yourself, on whatever fucking weekend Easter falls on? No there is not. The agile brain, unafraid of change. The innovator. The maverick.
FISH FINGER SANDWICH
Listen, a fish finger sandwich on white buttered bread w/ ketchup is an almost perfect hangover cure, both in taste and texture and ease of preparation, and because of that I cannot endorse it 100 percent. I feel like a fish finger sandwich is one of those hangover cures that, secretly, personal trainers and nutritionists use: "It's actually very good for you," some clean-eating, drunk-once-a-year HIIT-fucker is saying. "You’ve got protein from the fish, a high-glycemic carb in the form of the bread, and healthy fats in the butter." They eat theirs while jogging on a crosstrainer and Facetiming Joe Wicks. No, sorry: hangover snacks should be about retribution, not salvation.
JUST A BIG FUCKING THING OF £4 BREAD AND A MASSIVE TUB OF HUMMUS
I trust you with anything, I trust you with my life.
ONE OF THOSE WEIRD CHOCOLATE MOUSSE THINGS OR WEIRD BRANDED YOGHURT-DESSERT OR LIKE SOME SORT OF TRIFLE SITUATION THAT IS LITERALLY ONLY EVER AVAILABLE TO BUY FROM THE CORNER SHOP CHILLER SECTION, NOWHERE ELSE ON EARTH
These are good because you only ever want them on a hangover, and a hangover is a curious time for food cravings – your stomach has yearnings, and so does your mind, and so does your heart, and quite often your body has legitimate requirements to keep on living, salts and sugars and stuffs – so there are some foods you only want (and are only capable of eating!) on a hangover, and these are they. And that’s when you end up with, like, a Creme Egg mousse, or something. A Yorkie yoghurt. Some sort of mad potted crème brulee thing. They seem a good idea at the time, and they are nice when you’re eating them, but they also leave you feeling hollow and empty, like that deep dark feeling of regret you sometimes get after you cum. The corner shop mad yoghurt eater is someone who floats on a river of decisions, never stopping to think, going on feeling and intuition alone, and for that reason they are very in touch with themselves emotionally (good!) but also very unreliable socially (bad!). I feel like if you eat a lot of these then you are late a lot.
It’s not going to fix you, it’s just going to make you feel like you’re doing something reparative to yourself every time you wee, so there’s that.
I feel like people who quash a hangover with an entire KFC have something else going on: some deep hole within them that they are trying to blot out instead, an overreaction to a feeling they can’t quite place. A hangover is an ant and they are crushing it with a building. It’s overkill: an entire KFC? One small hangover? What’s going on with you, buddy? What are you trying to replace that isn’t there anymore? Did your first girlfriend dump you so hard that you are now, six years later, drinking a small tub of gravy about it? Talk to me.
THE HIERARCHY OF HANGOVER CRISPS, RANKED FROM GOOD TO GOOD
These are good. Tortilla chips are good. This weekend I had a hangover and I bought a 1lb bag of tortillas. A 1lb bag! Can you imagine! That’s so many tortillas. Tortillas: good
A MIX OF EVERYTHING, OR, AS I CALL IT, 'TATTY DIP'
Three separate share-sized bags of crisps, in wildly different flavours and from different brands, bought in a big mad grab-bag of a shop where you somehow managed to spend £26 on crisps, biscuits and Lucozade? Extremely good, imo.
A WHOLE PIPE OF PRINGLES
There is honesty in the Whole Pipe of Pringles (acceptable flavours: ready salted, salt and vinegar, Texas BBQ) (unacceptable flavour, cursed flavour: sour cream and chive). The Pringle eater says: yes, I will eat this share-sized tube to myself. They say: yes, I did buy these on offer in the nearest large supermarket. The Pringle eater has a desire, and that is to eat as many small stacks of Pringles in one horrid sitting as they can manage. The Pringle eater reclines on the sofa like a renaissance nude, methodically dipping in and out of the can – hand in, hand out, working your way up until you’re elbow deep and your entire forearm smells of BBQ – and the Pringle eater says: I don’t care what society thinks of me. Later – the Pringle eater adds – later, I might go outside in my pyjamas. You can’t stop me doing anything. Pringles are: good!
MONSTER MUNCH OR ANY OTHER MAIZE-BASED SNACK FROM CHILDHOOD, LIKE FOR EXAMPLE AN ENTIRE TEN PACK OF NIK NAKS
THOSE WEIRD SORT OF CRISPS THAT AREN’T MADE OF CRISPS, THEY’RE MADE OF LIKE QUINOA OR SOMETHING, OR LENTILS, LIKE THEY COST NORTH OF £3 A BAG IN HEALTH FOOD SHOPS AND TASTE KIND OF VIRTUOUS BUT AREN’T – VERY CRUCIALLY, AREN’T – VIRTUOUS
Also very good!
THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS THERE ARE NO BAD CRISPS
Absolutely no way your Instagram account doesn’t have at least one highly posed photo of you holding a cup of black coffee over a pure white duvet while, in the background, a single cheese plant leaf peers into shot. Oh, I might open your Instagram stor— ah: wobbly black-and-white footage of you doing a yoga pose, is it. Good. Thanks.
An amount of food that weighs the same as a baby is technically a very good way of countering a hangover, especially if you’re on work time, so you can roll into the office sort of half-grey and groaning with your big fat wad of food – "Ooh," you say, to nobody in particular, "baby hangy," and then you eat it there, beans just spilling everywhere, and you’ve put a marker in the sand that says: I am hungover, and I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon digesting this instead of spreadsheets or whatever. At 4PM I’ll go to the shops for a Coke and a Double Decker. Then I’ll just go on Facebook Messenger until home time.
But also I’ve noticed there’s quite a lot of overlap between the hangover burrito eater and a particular sub-division of proto-psychopathic male, lads who wear Vibram Five Fingers to the office party and wear shirts on the sofas at weekends and get slightly too aggro at five-a-side, i.e. a couple of degrees removed from being full _American Psycho_-style clean-flat multi-murders, but only a couple. Watch the lad with the hangover burrito. He’s planning something weird.
I can consume a lot of things before midday that might seem taboo or forbidden – a whole thing of Tangfastics, a can of Red Bull, a pint of lager, a whole oven cooked pizza, a roast dinner – but for some reason I draw the line at chips, a beloved foodstuff I just simply cannot imagine putting into my body during the AM hours. That’s where hash browns come in, or "morning chips" as I call them: the vague cooking process of chips (warming a small portion of potato w/ a lot of oil) but something wholly, fundamentally different, and also something you can crucially warm from frozen in your own oven and eat inside a sandwich. The hash brown is the sophisticates' choice, and I respect anyone who chooses them over the lowlier foods on this list. I feel like it’s a hangover cure Dame Judi Dench, the most sophisticated person I can think of right now, would approve of.
"Oh! How marvellous! Oh, and it’s in bread!" — Dame Judi Dench, I imagine, when presented with a hash brown sandwich.
I have cured a couple of hangovers with eggs in as large a quantity as possible – ideally scrambled to a yellow-creamy finish and served on stiffly toasted sourdough bread, but I’ll take an eggy in a bappy if there’s one going – but I also do think there’s something fundamentally joyless and nerdy about eating eggs on a hangover that sort of erases the drinks you had a few hours before them. Hangovers, weirdly, are actually a rare time you get to wallow in your own despair, pain and discomfort, and really lean into it: you can sit on the sofa inactive, you can cancel plans without guilt, you can demand someone else get up and make you tea, you can be a bit naughty and a bit indulgent.
That’s actually the weird upswing of hangovers, the sort of mental holiday you get from them – yes, you’re in pain, and you smell sort of sour, and your brain doesn’t work enough for you to do anything other than watch ten episodes of Parks & Rec in a row before having a mid-afternoon nap – but that’s what’s nice about it. If you did all those things on a normal, sober day, people would start questioning your internal health. Do it on a hangover and they leave you to it. In an odd sort of way, it’s self care, and eating eggs to immediately negate that snatches that moment away from you. Be nice to you, baby. Pull up the duvet and eat a pizza in bed.
- Bacon sandwich on white bread w/ red sauce: good
- Bacon sandwich on white bread w/ brown sauce: good
- Bacon sandwich (either sauce) that someone else has made for you: fantastic
- Bacon sandwich where someone else has made it for you but they are a hungover 23-year-old man who doesn’t cook, and even though the making of the sandwich is technically a gesture of love, the sandwich itself is dog-shit because they have fried the bacon artlessly in a whole mess of vegetable oil, and for some reason it’s still pink and floppy instead of crispy, despite them cooking it on so high a heat that the £1-for-three plastic cooking utensil they wrongly used to flip and turn the bacon got a bit melted and singed in the process and sent off this horrible burning bin smell that filled the kitchen and set the fire alarm off, and now you’re eating this horrible salty, curiously wet porky bacon sandwich on a sofa that you also slept on: absolutely horrible
So you see how bacon contains multitudes. The bacon sandwich haver says: I am a simple man, an honourable man. I will treat my hangover with the respect it deserves, in the ancient way. But it also says: I don’t think too much about anything I do, ever in my life.
FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST, IDEALLY ONE OF THOSE BREAKFASTS THAT IS SO GIGANTIC THAT IF YOU FINISH IT THE CAFÉ TAKES A PICTURE OF YOU AND PUTS IT ON THE WALL
A Full English breakfast is an act of violence against yourself, and if you’re being honest, from a health point of view, you should probably have one every two years, maximum. In that way, it’s an act of nihilism to eat one. Technically, that makes eating a Full English the most goth hangover breakfast, and anyone who eats one is a massive goth. I don’t make the rules, mate, I just enforce them.
McDONALD'S BREAKFAST AND/OR McDONALD'S REGULAR MEAL EATEN AT BREAKFAST
I’m not denying the quality of the McDonald’s breakfast option, but it is like the most basic and default choice for people on a hangover, isn’t it? Like: scientists literally assembled themselves in a lab and created the Egg McMuffin to fulfil the needs of post-drunk people. So yeah, good, but also: dunno, I just sort of feel like you enter a lot of share + RT competitions and go to Lovebox for one day only, and the main present your family gets you for Christmas and birthdays is Topshop vouchers, you know?
McDONALD’S FRIES DIPPED IN A MILKSHAKE OR McFLURRY
We have reached tipping point with McDonald’s fries dipped in a McDonald’s milkshake or McFlurry, because previously it was the sort of thing the weird kids at school would eat – the glue eaters, the kids whose mum cut their hair well into their teens, girls who never quite had the right PE kit – and now it has gone full mainstream, and so now more-or-less everyone knows the food hack – sweet! But also salty? At the same time! Lush! – so that it has done a full personality switch from niche and weird to extremely BuzzFeed, a bit like salted caramel did, and yeah it’s good, but in five years we will look back on this moment in the lifecycle of chips-dipped-in-dairy and realise that actually it was a fleeting trend that, in hindsight, turned out to be very embarrassing, same way we’ll look at ripped jeans in 2023.
So what I’m saying is: enjoy your trend, you pig, because you’ll be moving onto something new and similarly much-loved in 18 months or so. Your entire personality is built on sand.
THE SPARKLING DRINK QUICK ROUND-UP ZONE™
Yeah, wake up and crush a beer, yeah? "Only way, mate," you're saying, by my fridge, for some reason. "Hair of the dog." But: ah, sorry, I’ve just noticed you’re extremely dead behind the eyes, there. Are you… when did you last have a good, healthy night’s sleep? When was the last time you had a glass of water? Just a glass. Out of choice. I'm just looking behind your— you are a dark spirit trapped in a prison made of flesh, aren’t you? You were dragged up from an eternity in hell to have one last crack at humanity, weren’t you, and now there is some dark revving engine inside you that feels the need to self-punish, endlessly, isn’t there? Do you think your pain will ever end? Or will you just keep blotting out one pain with another, sharper pain, on and on and on, until you die? Can you put that can of Red Stripe down please, mate, and have a glass of water? When was the last time you brushed your teeth?
Nothing better than a cold can of Fanta on a hot hard hangover. Riding to orgasm on a white sand beach in paradise – the nearest analogy! – does not compare. Crrk, shh, glug. Taste it now. Lemon Fanta? Yes. Orange Fanta? Yes. That red one? Yes. The weird purple one? Yes, yes, yes. Glug it down, sweet child. Glug down the nectar of life.
Fanta for Tories! Sorry! Sorry about your opinions on mansion tax! Sorry! Sorry you call her "Mrs May", mate! Sorry you’re a Tory!
People who drink Irn Bru on a hangover are not to be fucked with.
When I went to university as a tiny wee extremely large 18-year-old innocent, nobody gave me too much advice (beyond "don’t fuck up") apart from my semi-mad auntie, who pulled me aside before I left and said: "If you’re going to do it, do it properly." Didn’t listen in the end, as I only got a 2.1, and if I tried even a little bit I should have got a first, but the advice is still solid, only now we are transposing it to hangovers and cola. You’ve already hurt your body. A bit of sugar can’t currently hurt it anymore. If you’re going to do it, do it properly. Anything less is cowardice.
The opposite of cowardice.
An honest-to-goodness life hack.
Lucozade is good because it tricks you into thinking drinking (and becoming violently ill as a result) is some sort of endurance sport that deserves attention and respect and, crucially, a large influx of electrolytes and glucose and whatever, which normally rugby lads who have been running for 90 straight minutes need to repair their body, but actually it is also the exact thing you – a person who slept for ten straight hours without moving, next to a cold kebab – also need to get enough energy together to spend a morning on the sofa about it. Lucozade says: I take the sport of drinking very seriously. I am Olympic-level at it. I should be sponsored to do it by big international brands. Put my tired face on cereal boxes and let me give inspirational talks at school assemblies.
ANY ODD SPARKLING FRUIT-FLAVOURED SOFT DRINK
Good for like one second, and then you just feel full and fizzy and bad, and wish you got a proper fizzy drink instead, one that doesn’t have the precise cost of the tin literally painted on it, right there on the can. You live a life often moistened with regret, don’t you?
SPICY JAMAICAN GINGER BEER
You know when you’re on a hangover sometimes and you just close your eyes and think: maybe if I just died, like now, just died, very painlessly but died: that… wouldn’t be… so bad? You ever had a hangover like that? The spicy Jamaican ginger beer drinker has had a hangover like that. That’s every hangover for them.
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE MORNING, MAYBE A COUPLE OF SWEET CUPS OF TEA DURING THE DAY AND THEN HOLD OUT LONG ENOUGH TO HAVE A JUST ENORMOUS, I MEAN A FRANKLY DISGUSTING, TAKEAWAY CURRY ORDER, I MEAN I AM TALKING NAAN AND RICE, POPPADOMS AS WELL AS SAMOSAS, YOU’VE ORDERED SOME SORT OF SIDE-DISH PANEER THING, YOU GOT SAAG ALOO, THIS CURRY IS HUGE, THIS CURRY IS DERANGED, THIS KORMA WILL BUBBLE AND SWELL AND BLOCK OUT THE SUN—
The only good, honest, true and loyal people left in this world.