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mskerr

Do you lose your appetite in a hot kitchen?

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I'm in a quandrum. I love food, a bit obsessively. I also love cooking. It's consumes more of my time than anything else. I love making things from scratch, prepping everything myself, doing things the time-consuming-but-rewarding way (ex: when making burgers for my mate and his friend tonight, I hand-chopped three pounds of beef, plus spent a couple hours making beet chutney [their preferred burger condiment] from beets from our garden, etc etc. I enjoy grinding my own spices, chopping my own herbs, etc.) Yes, I could make things easier, but as you know, the extra effort is almost always rewarded by extra flavor, better texture, etc. So believe me, I'm not complaining about that aspect. It's just the bizarre side effect that, after spending an extended amt of time in the kitchen, I am rarely hungry for what I've made - a combination of standing over heat for hours and hours, as well as just being over a dish I've been looking at, stirring, tasting, and adjusting, for hours. (And I should add that I quite prefer the taste of my own cooking most of the time, aside from the time factor.)

I do tend to make dishes that only improve as leftovers, so usually I am quite happy to eat the dish the next day for lunch. I'm just wondering if other people have this sort of situation, and how they cope. To be fair, it's been an unbelievably hot and dry summer, and we don't have A/C, and unfortunately for me, I am way more enticed by hot food than cold... but it's starting to get a bit much.

Ayone else have the same problem?

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In my case, it is nothing to do with the weather. Like you, I love to cook and do everything from scratch by myself. But by the time I have served the food to my family or guests, I have no appetite.

I think it is a combination of tiredness and nervousness. I feel quite relaxed while doing the cooking, but as soon as I serve it, I feel anxious and have no desire to eat.

Recently, I've just decided that cooking for others and cooking for myself are just not the same and I keep them separate.

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In my case, it is nothing to do with the weather. Like you, I love to cook and do everything from scratch by myself. But by the time I have served the food to my family or guests, I have no appetite.

I think it is a combination of tiredness and nervousness. I feel quite relaxed while doing the cooking, but as soon as I serve it, I feel anxious and have no desire to eat.

Recently, I've just decided that cooking for others and cooking for myself are just not the same and I keep them separate.

That sounds bang-on to me. When I'm done cooking and suddenly not hungry, I could still probably easily down an In-n-Out cheeseburger - probably because I don't have to think about it. I just order my usual. And when you think hard-out about 20 meals a week, one meal off is awesome. I do really care about how others perceive my cooking, and you know, a lot of people will tell you every time "Mmm it's really good" - but then again, that's pretty much the standard guest response right? Unless you are lucky enough to have friends who will ask you if you just picked the meat up off the highway and boiled it to death, I guess!

It's funny too, cooking for people. I have friends who expect a feast every night, + friends who think a meal with more than a handful of ingredient (usually including white bread, American cheese, and processed meat) is too fancy, + friends who love ethnic peasant food(I'm in that group, I reckon), + friends who eat delivery Chinese and Pizza most nights, + friends who eat frozen pizza and ramen. Myself, I tend to mingle among all these groups. Different strokes on different days.

So I think cooking for other people is often stressful (depending, of course, on lots of things like experience, the occasion, level of skill, personality, and on and on). But even so, when I'm cooking for myself, I'm probably more demanding than my friends and relatives - I want to achieve really specific flavors in my dishes, but I'm not a very experienced cook, and have bad genes in the matter, so I often don't manage to quite pull off the dish as I would like... though it's usually well above above "edible" in my opinion.

I think I should go with more slow-cooked, hands-off, sorta-foolproof stuff though.

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To be fair, it's been an unbelievably hot and dry summer, and we don't have A/C, and unfortunately for me, I am way more enticed by hot food than cold... but it's starting to get a bit much.

Ayone else have the same problem?

The heat makes me lose my appetite, totally. Do you have a fan in your kitchen? I have a small one that I train on me while I'm working which helps immensely (just be sure it isn't aimed at open flame!). Also in hot weather I prepare food that as much as possible doesn't heat up the kitchen -- I use the outdoor grill, the slowcooker and the microwave. Also the old time trick of doing a lot of prep "in the cool of the morning." I like cool things in hot weather but if you insist on hot things (aren't humans interestingly different!) then plan so that your exposure to the heat in the kitchen is short. Make a stew in the crockpot and microwave potatoes to go with. Or make rice in the rice maker and do a quick stir fry.


Edited by SylviaLovegren (log)

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I'm in the other camp - it's not so much the heat that makes me lose the appetite (I love the heat!), as it is the constant proximity to food for such a prolonged period of time. I can tell you that as a baker/pastrymaker, at the end of the day I have almost zero appetite for bread or sweets. Ditto for many elaborate dishes that take most of the day to prepare - my guests or family will fall on that food like ravening wolverines, and I sort of sit there and *meh* about it unless I've deliberately not eaten breakfast or lunch in order to make myself so hungry that the kitchen effect is semi-nullified. For me I don't think it's a nervousness/emotional reaction, because I'm confident in the quality of the food - ooh, if nervousness got me, I'd never be able to bake for strangers!

It's worth mentioning that catering for large groups is probably the best diet plan I've ever been on. I can lose up to 5 pounds in two days simply because I have no desire whatsoever to see or eat food during the process.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I'm in the other camp - it's not so much the heat that makes me lose the appetite (I love the heat!), as it is the constant proximity to food for such a prolonged period of time.

^^^ This. I know I'm a very good cook, and most stuff I make is very yummy, but after being immersed in the sight and smell of the raw and cooked ingredients, I lose all of my appetite.


V

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Whenever I would cook thanksgiving dinner, by the time it was on the table, I didn't feel like eating. I used to want to just clean up the kitchen anb have a turkey sandwich and a glass of wine later. I also have a small un-airconditioned kitchen, and some days this last summer the temperature in the kitchen would be in the 80's before I even started cooking. I do have a small but powerful ceiling fan in the kitchen.


"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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This happens to me with long, complicated meals. I think I'm tasting all the time which doesn't help but also the stress of getting everything on the table as it is still warm exhausts me. But maybe that's how some of the best chefs stay so thin...

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Interesting. I think heat in general reduces my appetite, as in hot weather. A hot kitchen would probably do the same.

The other point about nervousness and exhaustion affecting appetite - I think that has happened to me preparing certain meals for guests.

I don't think the process of preparing food, for me, decreases my appetite - if all is going well, it usually increases it!

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I'm in the other camp - it's not so much the heat that makes me lose the appetite (I love the heat!), as it is the constant proximity to food for such a prolonged period of time.

^^^ This. I know I'm a very good cook, and most stuff I make is very yummy, but after being immersed in the sight and smell of the raw and cooked ingredients, I lose all of my appetite.

Yes, exactly. Very strange isn't it? For me, I think I start to approach it almost like work instead of pleasure (even while cooking at home) because I want to always be learning, improving, etc.

This happens to me with long, complicated meals. I think I'm tasting all the time which doesn't help but also the stress of getting everything on the table as it is still warm exhausts me. But maybe that's how some of the best chefs stay so thin...

I think you pinpointed it with "tasting all the time." When a friend is cooking, or I'm at a restaurant, I get so intrigued wondering and anticipating how the food will taste. Who knows, it could be the best burger/ soup/ chili, etc, of my life. But when I'm cooking, I'm focusing more on continuously tweaking the dish to try to get the flavors I want, without going too far. A pinch of salt, some more herbs, turn up the heat a wee bit, turn it back down, try to figure out how much acid it needs at the end... It's always a learning experience, but usually not the most enjoyable gastronomic experience of my life. By the time I sit down to a bowl of whatever I'm cooking I know exactly how it's gonna taste, and the whole process leading up to that flavor. There's no mystique. And the 100+ heat for hours has usually dissipated my appetite.

Don't get me wrong, I quite like my own cooking ( just as well). I suppose the best analogy I can give is this: when I was first working as a cook, I used to go grab lunch or dinner with the head cook/ my good friend every now and then. Because I didn't know anything about cooking back then, any meal I ate at a cafe or restaurant was usually great to me. My cook friend, however, would analyze even the simplest of sandwiches - "it's good, but it would be better with a bit of aioli and if the bread were toasted a bit more and the onions were caramelized", and such. I used to think it was such a drag to analyze meals like that, but now I am exactly the same. At the taco truck it's, "Well, it's pretty tasty but the tortilla could've been heated up a bit longer, the meat is ever-so-slightly overdone, and the sour cream should be more evenly distributed." And while this pickiness about taste has definitely improved my palate and cooking skills, it has not, unfortunately, made it easier to enjoy most of the meals I eat - quite the opposite.

I'm glad to know I'm in good company with this though!

And I should add that when winter comes, I will be at my happiest standing over a simmering pot for hours and hours.

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