My daughter groans when I tell this story because she has heard it too many times and is not a fan of onions anyway. But it is a vivid memory for me and one I think of whenever I have French onion soup.
I was working at a trade show in Washington, D.C. It was my first visit there and I was excited, but I was also sick. I had a runny nose, sore throat, tight chest, muscle aches and just wanted to go back to bed. I tried to tell my boss I was sick but he just said he didn't feel good either and did I want a cold pill? So I was stuck working on my feet all day with high heels and no time for lunch.
When I finally made it up to my room at 7:00 p.m. all I wanted was a drink, a hot meal and a hot bath but I couldn't find a room service menu. I called to the desk and asked for a menu. I waited. I called a second time with no results. Finally, I called the restaurant and asked if they had French onion soup and a double whiskey sour.
They delivered a big steaming crock of soup with a slab of crusty toast floating in the broth and covered with a thick layer of melted cheese and a very large, very strong, icy cold whiskey sour. The hot soup and jolt of alcohol brought beads of sweat to my forehead, tears to my eyes, and cut a scorching path down my sore throat and through the congestion in my chest all the way down to my empty stomach. I finished my supper, ran the hottest bath I could stand, took some medicine, and dived under the covers, alternately shaking with chills and burning up with fever for the rest of the night. I was still sick the next day but that is one of the BEST meals I ever had.