The Summer Kitchen Cool Down

Brian says:
Let’s face it: anyone who has had the pleasure–and I use the term loosely–of living through a Charleston summer, or any southeastern heatwave, knows that it’s in your best interest to keep cool as much as possible. Some do it through a change in wardrobe while others make the switch from bourbon and gingers to gin and tonics. We must be mindful not to forget the most important change to make when trying to stay cool during the summer months: the kitchen. Here are a few tips that will help you and your cuisine stay cool as a cucumber when the temperatures rise.

– Can’t Stand the Heat? Get Out the Kitchen!

When cooking on stove tops and in ovens, especially if you don’t have the most ventilated kitchen in the world, it’s most prudent to take the bulk of your cooking to the great outdoors. People don’t realize that the bulk of the things that you do on the stove can also be done on the grill. Everything from sauteing and roasting to simmering and even frying can be done with the right grill setup. The trick is knowing the difference between direct and indirect grilling. This technique allows you to cook different types of food at either different times or with different styles. Plus, it never hurts to get a little fresh every now and then.

– Lighten Your Load.

When tend to feel overloaded whenever we eat heavier foods and dishes. Then when our bodies start to metabolize these foods, our body temperatures rise which make us feel hot, and the last thing anyone wants to feel is hotter in 90+ degree weather. To counteract this, choose dishes that sit a little lighter on the stomach. Poultry and fish are good options as well as soups that focus more on the broth than the other ingredients. Salads are also a great choice, but before you reach for the ranch or blue cheese, try a lighter dressing instead.

– Drink Responsibly.

I know it might be hard to let go of that last glass of merlot or put down that mug of high-gravity brew, but drinks like these will only contribute to that heavy feeling I mentioned earlier. Your best bet is to slide down the scale some and indulge in lighter beers, wines and spirits or mixed drinks, you’ll avoid a) getting too sloshed before you need to and b) feel much more refreshed than those around you that choose not to take heed of this piece of advice. One of my favorite refreshing drinks of all time is the “chelada“, which has many different variations but is basically a margarita with beer instead of tequila.

Brian Wilder is a writer for Home Ec 101. You can also find him at Things My Grandfather Taught Me.
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3 Comments

  1. Louann Chho on May 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I live in southern Arizona so we know about hot, too! I like to make cold soups – gazpacho, cucumber soups, melon soups, even cold cauliflower soup.

  2. Keter Magick on May 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    The heat is on here and so are the sub sandwiches with lots of cool veggies and fresh sprouts with fruit salad on the side. My favorite drinks to serve with a cold supper on a hot day is a wine cooler (much more cooler than wine) or fruit juice heavily cut with sparkling water – both over lots of ice.

  3. Tammi Kibler on May 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Fresh fruits and vegetables should be staples at every summer meal. Besides all the health benefits, they are cooler and their preparation doesn't generate heat.
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