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bobmac

"Piping hot" food

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Throughout my lifetime I have encountered the expression "served piping hot" as a kind of praise. I have never gotten it. "Piping hot" somehow sounds hotter than merely "hot" -- way too hot to be eaten without burning your mouth, and if it's that hot, how can you even taste it? So why is this a good thing? And what does piping mean? Where is it going to be piped to? Is this part of Calvin Trillin's theory that there are only four Chinese kicthens in the entire country that send the orders by pnuematic tubes to all the Chinese restaurants? Youth wants to know!

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The sense of piping that’s relevant here is the one for making a musical sound, as by playing the pipes. The idea is that a dish that’s piping hot is one so hot it makes a sizzling or hissing noise, perhaps not closely similar to the sound of the pipes, but at least audible. It’s first recorded near the end of the fourteenth century, in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In the Miller’s Tale it says (in modernised spelling): “Wafers piping hot out of the gleed”, where a wafer is a kind of thin cake, baked between wafer-irons, and gleed is the hot coals of a fire.
WorldwideWords

Does this make sense? :rolleyes:

and, if not, then check out this from Random House :wink:

Piping hot food was originally food or liquid so hot that it made a high, shrill, hissing sound reminiscent of that music. Whistling teakettles come to mind...  always thought that the hot food and drink described as "piping" would have to be substantially liquid. But that is not the case. Citations both old and new refer to piping hot pies, pancakes or waffles, cakes, beans, and even entire meals.

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Very good, thank you, but why would you want it that hot? Or is it part of that "serve immediately" thing?

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Well, so that you'll burn your tongue and not taste how horrid it is!

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Very good, thank you, but why would you want it that hot? Or is it part of that "serve immediately" thing?

Perhaps an example from my father-in-law and his mother before him:

Coffee and soups had to be served while still boiling .. anything less was considered to be just 'unappetizingly tepid' ... one meal I prepared was soup and coffee ... I heated them as hot as I possibly could :shock: ... the steam rose from their surfaces! .. they sipped both gingerly and responded, quite civilly: "ice" ... :angry:

A sidebar: one lived to 93 and the other to 91 ... expected their autopsies to indicate charred mouth interiors ... nope! Damn!

You do know about the term Magiric ? :huh:

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Ohhh... one of my pet food peeves about my otherwise wonderfully foodie husband is that he likes his meals to be "piping hot" and often reheats his plate in the microwave even though I've JUST portioned out dinner. ARGH!!!!!!!

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I don't know this word, please to elucidate. :smile:

Maybe servants needed to remove food piping hot from the kitchen because while carrying it up stairs and through drafty rooms, it would have had time to get cold.

I'm one of those who like my soup too hot to eat; I'd rather stir it and tentatively sip than receive it just warm enough.

Miriam

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...

I'm one of those who like my soup too hot to eat; I'd rather stir it and tentatively sip than receive it just warm enough.

Miriam

I am with you, Miriam. I'd rather stir and wait than get a mouthful of tepid soup.

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I'm one of those who like my soup too hot to eat; I'd rather stir it and tentatively sip than receive it just warm enough.

Miriam

I am with you, Miriam. I'd rather stir and wait than get a mouthful of tepid soup.

Oh, count me in! The big reason I never order soup when I'm out, it comes to the table lukewarm, no matter how I beg otherwise. Fear of lawsuits? I don't know, but I love to sit and stir my mug of soup and anticipate that first taste. :wub:

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In Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett says of one of her pies “this one is a flautist” and Sweeney Todd replies “that’s why it’s piping hot” and she retorts “you have to blow on it then.”

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If I'm plating food, I try to serve it as hot as possible due to the flat, airy shape of the plate allowing for the food to cool quickly.

If the food is in a well insulated bowl, though, I heat it until quite hot and then let it cool until edible.

I do that with most of the foods I eat. Heat until too hot to eat, then let cool until edible. I find that the prolonged heating/cooling time allows the temperature to conduct more evenly throughout the food.


Edited by scott123 (log)

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Count me as one of those who likes his food- at least some foods- very hot. It's one of the things I've enjoyed about living in Italy, where pasta and risotto are usually served (in good restaurants, anyway, and in most homes I've been to) extremely hot. It encourages the diners to slow down and take their time with the dish; also a good thing.

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It's a family joke here, my father in law always instructs the wait person to heat his soup up when her orders, and sulks when it isn't hot enough and he has to send it back...we've taken the phrase "thermally hot" to indicate something which is pretty darn hot (since brother in law made the distinction once between something being spicy-hot or thermally-hot). Me, I like it hot so I can anticipate the first bite while I let it cool off a little!

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