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Swallowing the Canary

I didn't quite get the connection when an Italian friend recommended a canarino (canary) for my upset stomach. How could a little yellow bird make me feel any better? Anything even named for a canary was simply too cute to be of any possible help. I thought it was probably just another digestive myth, something that worked only for Italians. All I knew, feeling the way I did, was lunch felt out of the question

My friend proceeded to wash, then peel a lemon in a long strip, place the entire peel in a cup and fill it with boiling water. The result, after a two-minute wait, was a bright yellow infusion that he sweetened excessively (Italians seem to be able to dissolve enormous amounts of sugar in hot liquids). He handed me the cup, which seemed less threatening and more attractive than one of those Day-Glo-colored remedies, so I drank it.

Sure enough, within ten minutes I felt better, well enough to make it to the lunch table - and eat the whole meal. So, a little canarino is my New-Year's gift to any who may have overindulged. I don't know why it works but it does. According to my friend it's also a terrific hangover cure.

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