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Foods that cool you down


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It's hot here in New York City and I don't have air conditioning installed yet. I'm thinking about which foods to use to cool us down. I think I have the basics covered: cold beverages, ice cream and sorbet, fruit from the fridge. Other ideas?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think in very hot and humid climates like SE Asia the idea is to make you sweat and precipitate that sweat/cooling physical thing. Very hot in terms of spice dishes are what I am thinking of.

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There's a reason that cucumber is "as cool as." Cold cucumbers have always given me summer relief, internal and external. Place thin slices of cucumber on your face and neck while you eat a cucumber salad. Family hilarity guaranteed.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I think the sweating with hot foods actually results in a colling down. Kind of like taking a shower.

On my absolute worst day in a second story apartment in a horrid heat wave I saved my sanity with a strong iced coffee - fresh brewed with a ton of ice and cream

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I think the sweating with hot foods actually results in a colling down.

This just doesn't seem to be the case with me.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Trader Joes has a raspberry, lemon, and strawberry frozen fruit bar that works wonders on the hot days we have had. The lemon section is tart, which balances the sweeter berries very nicely.

Dan

Edited by DanM (log)

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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OK in the heat of Singapore (freakin humid too) it was the watermelon juice that saved me. I have replicated it at home with watermelon chunks in the blender with a few ice cubes. I crave this stuff when overheated.

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Gazpacho soup

Ceviche

Veggies cut up with a dipping sauce--I love Ranch...it's not gourmet, but, it's freaking good. Veggies I like: radish, cukes, green onions, cherry tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, fresh red bell peppers

Little sandwiches--tea sandwiches, if you will. Cream cheese, sprouts, avacado, tuna etc.

Jello shots (I know, but they do cool you off)

Sangria

Summer beer

Margaritas

I seem to be spiraling down to alcohol lol.

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Pimm's Cup! Got your alcohol and your cucumber. The hottest day of the year a while back I decided I needed a Pimm's, went to the liquor store and they were all sold out. The girls working there said somebody had just come in and bought the last six bottles. They were mystified as to what it even was, I just wanted an invite to the party!

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I think in very hot and humid climates like SE Asia the idea is to make you sweat and precipitate that sweat/cooling physical thing. Very hot in terms of spice dishes are what I am thinking of.

Hot tea does a good job of this too.

My Aussie-born in-laws say this. It's disturbing to see an 80-year old come in from working in the garden on a summer morning complaining of thirst turn down a glass of water in favour of a cup of tea (tea is hot by default here). Personally I think ice tea does a better job! :laugh:

I grew up in a dry climate, and it's the summer humidity that squishes me to the floor in Sydney. I preferred Alice Springs in December to Sydney.

My top method of coping in minimal AC is to take a very short cool shower and take advantage of the evaporative cooling under a fan. Foodwise, how much I eat seems to be almost as important as what I eat. In my experience, eating lighter meals in smaller portions, with lots of greenery and fewer carbs, has been the most refreshing. I think that's why things like salads, gazpacho and fruits (watermelon is tops for me) are so perfect in summer. And although I like drinking plain water, I find I have an easier time keeping my fluid intake up with lightly flavoured and sweetened cold drinks. Next summer I plan to experiment more with syrups to add to soda water, but I've found a 1:3 ratio of juice to water/soda easier to drink than undiluted juice. It's worth a try.

Of course, yesterday was the first day of winter, so I'm actually feeling nostalgic about that summer heat now...

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First off I'm in NY too and can not imagine your pain right now with no AC. Poor you!! This humidity/heat is killing me.

How about quesadillas? They can be made so quickly in a hot pan and served with cooling red salsas, pico de gallo, mango salsa, sour cream and cold quickly marinated onions. Oh, and cold raw tomatillos are very refreshing. Rick Bayless has a very nice version using them here that I've made before.

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Cold food in general, really - roast beef sandwich where you might have had a steak, say. And buy in the roast beef. Why even switch the cooker on when it's hot ?

The Japanese eat grilled eel for the summer heat, and of course anything of the uri type - cucumber, melon, bitter melon - as well as cold noodle dishes like banbanjii and zaru-soba.

I survived one Tokyo summer without air-con. The biggest all-round factor I've noticed for heat tolerance, is general aerobic fitness. When I've been in the pool regularly, the heat gets to me only about a quarter as much, and it gets to be fascinating watching others sweat.

On the alcohol front, Ricard well diluted with 7-up. Non-alcohol: calamansi juice.

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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The Chinese have this covered in their Yin foods.

Some examples include strawberries, yoghurt, cucumber, banana, lettuce, watermelon, starfruit, lettuce.

As you can guess, salads and fruits are great cooling foods.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Frozen peas, frozen grapes. In fact, frozen any-small-sweet-items are fantastic, and when I was a kid, I'd often eat them until I shivered. I tend to eat these in scoops, by hand, so there's a cooling effect on the hands, too.

Also, eat as little as possible: I've found that if I under-eat, I start to feel chilly (during mild weather; in hot weather it just helps me to feel cooler), and this is probably pretty common, since it brings you metabolism to the lower end of its range.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Now I remember!

Medical people always tell you that do not drink alcohol to keep warm in the winter.

It is a big myth of that husky rescue dog with the wine barrel.

Alcohol increases blood circulation to your skin and cools your whole body down.

Cold beer!!!!

dcarch

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If you feel like a nice cool savoury drink, take a tip from India and the Middle East where yogurt drinks are a common cooler. Yes, there are sweet ones too, but let's look at the salty for a change!

Ayran and salt lassi are quite well known, and there is also buttermilk. Technically this is the liquid leftover from churning butter, but many people make a substitute with very dilute yogurt. Try 1 cup yogurt to 1.5-2 cups water. Put in a big jug and add finely chopped fresh coriander, minced green chillies, minced ginger, a few minced curry leaves and salt (all to your taste). In Maharashtra they add a little sugar to balance it so that it is not too salty or sour, but you can also drink it a little bit tart and salty. If you're feeling up to it, heat a small amount of oil and add a few mustard and cumin seeds, wait till the mustard pops and tip into the buttermilk (you can also add the curry leaves and chillies to this tadka if you prefer - sizzle for a few moments before adding). Keep in the frige and enjoy whenever you need to cool off!

In India, several gourds are also prized for their cooling properties. Lauki (bottlegourd), torai(ridge gourd), parval (pointed gourd) and karela (bitter gourd) are all cooling. I am pretty sure bhindi (okra) is too. The gourds are all rich in water and so hydrate and cool the body. In Bengal posto (white poppy seeds and dishes made with them, e.g aloo posto is potato in poppy seed paste) is a favourite cooling summer dish - again, the poppy seeds are considered cooling.

And heidih is right, in South India they say that chillies are needed to make you sweat and cool down the body! Tamarind and chilli in combination are a great spicy way to heat up and cool down, so try some South Indian sambar and rasam recipes. Or if you don't fancy heating up to cool down, try some cooling curd rice. This is very soft cooked rice which is lightly mashed with yogurt and a touch of milk, then seasoned lightly with mustard seeds, curry leaves, dried red chillies (all popped in oil), salt, minced green chillies and minced ginger. Eaten with pickles, pappads and curd chillies (chillies that are soaked in salted yogurt for several days and then dried. They are fried to crispness before eating) it is the best (and traditional) way to end a meal and also makes a good snack.

Edited by Jenni (log)
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Frozen grapes

mini carrots ( the kind that you put in kid's lunches)

fruit juice cut with club soda

ice cream sandwiches

crackers and cheese and pepperoni slices

This is what got me through the current heat wave. I had a bottle of rose I was working through too, but the alcohol wasn't really refreshing me as much as the juice / club soda mix.

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Watermelon. I could live on watermelon in August.

Sliced tomatos. With a slab of fresh mozzarella or a scoop of ricotta or cottage cheese, if you feel the need.

Green beans marinated in sesame oil and rice vinegar, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I'll second the water melon.

However, there is another one that does a good job of cooling, yet is NOT gourmet.

The slurpee......

Best thing in summer, cools you down, gives you a brain freeze, and then you drink some more.

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the tea (hot) thing is actually the correct way to go, it increases your body heat and makes the difference between environment/body less and it gives you liquid to sweat out. Cold/iced drinks and food work against cooling off, though I don't remember the reasons behind it, biology major in highschool is a good 30 years in the past...

But look at beduines (spelling?) wearing long flowing (even black) clothing and drinking hot tea.

All that aside, I still go for the cold beer or six, eventually you don't notice that they actually don't help :cool:

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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