Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Can't stand the heat?

"If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" goes the old saying.   It was pretty hot yesterday in my kitchen, but I managed to stay in the game.  We had salad for dinner - greens with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.  It was a whole meal because I added some raisins, chopped apple, toasted black walnuts, some cubes of cheddar cheese and a few sliced spring onions.  Oh yes - and some radishes - the first from our garden.   Plus some bread on the side.  A tasty and sensible meal considering the heat index was way up there.

If you follow the news, you can't go for more than a few days without reading or hearing about the latest theory for why America has a growing obesity problem.  Massive soda pop consumption,  lack of exercise,  constant snacking, portion sizes, too many rich restaurant meals  -- these all seem like reasonable explanations for the problem.  I would like to add air conditioning to the list.  I think we eat too much in the summer because most of us are insulated from summer heat most of the time.  In many ways, we have lost our sensitivity to and even respect for the seasons. 

My home is not air-conditioned and I like it that way.  (Well, I can't lie.  We do have individual A/C units in two bedrooms, but not ours.)    I think it helps me make better meal and menu decisions- in keeping with the season.  It also helps us reduce our carbon footprint.   If it is hot and humid outside,  I don't make pork chops, gravy and mashed potatoes.  I try to use the oven less and the top of the stove more.  If it is hot I just don't feel like eating quite so much.  That is a good deal for me - because I really do like to eat and too often eat more than I need to.

I am not advocating for suffering or extreme discomfort.  I am for fans, open windows and lemonade breaks on the porch.  Loose cotton or linen clothes.  A cool shower.  Napping on a blanket under a shade tree.  Picnics - with fresh summer food.

Speaking of fresh summer food - Featherstone CSA boxes are coming next week.  Are you ready?  I will be picking up my first box on Memorial Day, so I can blog about it by Tuesday morning.  I am pretty sure there will be salad greens in that first box.  Time to check the pantry.  It would be a good idea to have the following basic items around all of the time:  extra virgin olive oil,  fresh garlic, a few kinds of vinegar, fresh lemons, kosher or sea salt and a pepper mill for grinding fresh pepper.  Some Dijon style mustard is also good to have on hand.     A salad spinner is handy too.  (see my post for April 13). 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.  I am looking forward to sharing cooking and eating experiences with you as the CSA boxes come forth.   And one more thing -- before we cooks feel too sorry for ourselves because of our hot kitchens, we should reflect a moment on the experiences of our partners in food production -- the field workers.  Ain't no air conditioning in the fields, okay?  And if they can sweat for beautiful food, then I guess I can sweat a little too.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you about the a/c. I lived in third floor apartment for a few years and all I ate was cheese and bread and salads in the summer. And a chilled white wine, or a cold beer. Who wants to cook (or eat a ton and feel uncomfortable) in the heat!!