Sick Days

Send a better get-well basket

At this point in the season, we all know someone who's down with a cold or the flu, and we want to help him or her feel better–even if they're miles and miles away.

But instead of sending an arsenal of salty canned soup, bland crackers or boring tea, call on one of these mail-order sources for a more meaningful (and delicious) pick-me-up:

Spoonful of Comfort Do just one thing, and do it well. That's the motto of this newcomer founded by Marti Wymer, who came up with the idea of sending homemade chicken soup (pictured) to sick loved ones when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. Wymer makes each 64-ounce glass jar of heat-and-serve soup ($32) to order and keeps her recipe pure, simple–and restorative.

Zabar's This iconic Manhattan grocery has assembled the Chicken Soup and Hearts basket ($159), which is stocked with homemade chicken noodle soup (aka Jewish penicillin), O.T.C. oyster crackers, fresh-squeezed orange juice, Dancing Deer cookies and house-made cinnamon rugelach. There's also a more natural version of the DayQuil/NyQuil combo: Twinings Herbal Revive and Tazo Calm teas. Plus, the wicker basket and Zabar's mug can be put to good use long after the last nose is blown.

Zingerman's If the cheeky cartoon on the box of Zingerman's Food Nurse ($75) package doesn't cheer your friend up, the goodies inside will. This Michigan-based mail-order giant delivers a sweet remedy for the infirm with its sampler of feel-better foods: homemade sour-cream coffee cake, John Macy's cheese sticks, Earl Grey tea, Koeze Cream-Nut Peanut Butter, thick walnut-studded brownies and a loaf of chocolate sourdough bread.