When I was a kid and any one of us complained of those initial body ache symptoms of flu — my mom would make this tea for us to drink:

This is no ordinary black tea.  My mom would call it “foo cha” which means “bitter tea” in Cantonese — the “bitter” connoting the misery and suffering of those damned to drink it. Getting flu for a few days was probably better than drinking the tea but my mom never let us get away with pouring it down the sink.

So when she started to feel a bit fluish the other day, it was PAYBACK, Mommy.

I cooked her up some of this tea and I cooked it up good alright. I brewed it so strong and disgusting that she would be sorry that she made us flu-free and healthy with it. The tea from the leaves alone is lethal, but when brewed with scallions and ginger, it leaves you gagging and clawing at your tongue for a good while.

Foo cha is the same color as poison.

The stuff really works, but so would gouging your eyes out to cure yourself of cataracts.

Because my mom is my mom, she would re-use the leaves for a second batch so that it would be less bitter for us. Because I am me, I made her drink three doses and used a new batch of leaves each time.

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