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Group Writing: Sometimes, You Should Eat All the Butter
Ripe mangoes in combination with grilled sun-dried salted fish is one of the most popular Khmer dishes served when the weather is heating up. That is because we consider mangoes and fish as cool food. According to Khmer traditional medicine, an offshoot of Indian ayurvedic, food is divided into two groups, warm and cool. Warm or cool in terms of the food’s internal characteristics, not its physical temperature. When we eat warm food, it has a heating effect on our bodies, while cool food adds a cooling effect. So, when the temperature is heating up, we eat cool food to cool us down.
Traditional Chinese medicine, likewise, divides food into such similar groups: cool, neutral, and warm. Both Chinese and Indian medicines consider all kinds of bananas as cool food, though in Cambodia, only pisang awak banana is classified as cool, while the rest are considered warm.
Some cool food to consider: sweet, acidic, and bitter ones such as melons, cucumbers, cherries, strawberries, eggplants, pomelos, celeries, oranges, fennel, yogurt, milk, coconut water, tea, pineapples, radishes, neem flowers and leaves, lettuces, mints, cilantro and most leafy greens. Think salads. Because Cambodia’s weather is very hot and humid, salads are very popular. Our salad repertoire is very extensive. It makes up more than 30% of the Khmer cuisine. Neem flower and melon salad and pomelo salad are two popular salads that frequently appear at the dinner table when the weather is scorching hot.
Some hot food to consider skipping in summertime: spices, meat, root vegetables, sugar, coffee, ginger, wine, nuts, mustard greens, onions, lady finger bananas, durians, lychees, squashes, and rambutans. When it’s hot outside, don’t reach for your sweet tea or iced coffee, instead of do as the Japanese do, drink a cup of hot green tea. Lay off the alcohol, drink cold milk or try mango or mint lassi instead. Consider skipping steak and try fennel and parsley salad to go with your grilled salmon. A big, juicy burger for lunch? Try loading up lots and lots of cold, salted butter on a good, crusty baguette and top with sliced breakfast radishes and a sprinkle of sea salt instead (a favorite of the French in summertime).
Do you have any favorite food to help cooling down in summertime? Feel free to share in the comments.Published in General
I am a conservative. I absolutely refuse to eat lefty greens. How does one tell the difference between lefty and righty greens, however?
Apologies if it appears I’m making fun of your post. Percival started it though.
The best salad, and one of the best things, I’ve ever eaten was a green papaya salad. I don’t think I can duplicate it in the US. Gosh, it was delicious.
I was commenting on the notion of no coffee in the summer.
I thought that I read once that neem oil was toxic.
Oh dang. That’s the best kind of typo. I’ll have to fix it or I’ll be ousted from Ricochet.
Nope, not gonna do it. You can’t have my margaritas or coffee.
A great post, @lidenscheng
I’m pretty sure arugula and kale are lefty greens.
Neem oil is, but I’m talking about flowers, shoots, and leaves. In South and Southeast Asia, neem is either eaten as a vegetable or used for medicinal purposes.
Neem trees are actually quite lovely. They grew all over the place in Nigeria. Neem oil is used as a pesticide and fungicide in the garden, particularly for vegetables.
Now just sprinkle a few bacon bits on top and you’ve a great salad!
My family mixed neem juice with water to spray on our mango and other plants. Worked great on both insects and birds. And when the snakes got out of hand, we sprayed it around the house, too.
“Would you like some of this ingredient for insect repellant on your salad?”
“No thanks. I’ll stick to tomatoes and cucumbers.”
EDIT: I’ll bet the oil comes from the seeds or the bark or something. But still …”
Love the title; really enjoyed the post! I know, here in the Desert Southwest, that any butter not kept in the refrigerator quickly begins to nearly liquify. So, it makes perfect sense to eat all the butter with some nice bread.
This is part of our July theme series, in which you are invited to tell us how to “Chill Out!” Do click the link and sign up to share your own cool post.
Now there is a post. Getting snakes to chill out?
Honestly, it didn’t really work on them. So we also had kaffir limes all over the house.
I am attempting to grow a kaffir lime, here in SW PA! So far, so good. He’s in a large pot, and will have to come inside from about November till March. We’ll see if he’ll overwinter. Yes, snakes around the house. My early exposure to viperous beasties springing forth out, or from behind, of any stationary or hollow objects in the vicinity of our living quarters left me a bit of an ophiophobe. I suppose, were I made of sterner stuff, it could have hardened me to the thought of them, but even the smallest garter snake slithering around in the garden sets me off.
Haha well I’m the person who has written a Ricochet post about being afraid of reptiles, especially lizards. So yes, as a little kid in Cambodia, constantly surrounded by snakes and lizards, I was a very paranoid kid. Good thing, I had so many dogs.
Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through living in Cambodia and Tucson.
Love the food suggestions. Watermelon and watermelon juice has cooling properties. We keep Gatorade on hand when doing yard work or going to the beach. My husband doesn’t like cukes but he likes the lime/cucumber Gatorade. It’s very good – would make a good Margarita mix actually! We can only find it at one Walmart and the flavor is also listed in Spanish on the label. I see how it makes sense to eat seasonally – so eating tropical foods in winter can reduce your warmth?
PS Neem oil is in my cat’s bath product – it relieves her skin and itching – is it harmful?
It is great for soaps and lotions, or so I am told.
How many types of bananas do y’all have?
With so many immigrants from Central America in Texas, I would have thought any banana variety would been imported long ago. We have lots of Vietnamese too, who introduced many of our garden plants.
Yeah, it’s perfectly fine for external use. It’s common to use on animals as an insect repellant and as stated above. I think neem oil poisoning is rare for humans, especially adults. I think it’s just dangerous for infants and pregnant women. I’m guessing it has to be consumed in large quantities to be even be toxic in a typical adult.
I think 5 varieties.
It could be in the cat’s bath to deter mites. Those can cause a lot of itching.
I can’t believe I’m the first :
Having mango trees around the yard was a definite no-no in Cameroun. The other was planting bamboo. No bamboo, no mango trees, no cobras. Which is a small price to pay. Also not having bamboo and having lizards around was a way of keeping mosquitoes and hence malaria down. After three bouts with malaria, I’m a friend of lizards.
Are breakfast radishes different from the radishes I’ve been getting from the garden for lunch every day?
What kind of radish do you grow? Breakfast radishes are red, just like your normal radishes, but with oblong shape and white tips. They taste sweeter, less sharp and a bit peppery. And they are not eaten as breakfast.
Well, that’s interesting. For the first planting I used whatever seeds were leftover from last year, and for the 2nd planting grabbed something that was handy at the local farm supply store. Before I went to look at the package just now I was going to tell you they are red all the way to the tip. But the package tells me I’m wrong. It tells me these are a “French Breakfast Radish” and the picture shows white tips.
I don’t remember seeing any white tips on the actual radishes, though. When I cut off the root ends, like I did today, what’s left is red. I do pay attention, because I rub or scrape off the extra gunk when I wash and trim them, so as not to offend Mrs R. But now I’m going to have to verify. (Many of those I pulled today were round in shape, but some were oblong, though not as oblong as those in the picture on the package.)
I don’t think they are very sharp tasting, but it is a long time since I’ve had the sharp tasting radishes I shuddered to eat as a kid. I figured it was one of those deals where older people lose their sense of taste so start going for spicier or sharper tasting foods to make up for it.
But none of that is why I picked this package of seeds. I didn’t even notice the word “breakfast.” What sold me was the statement, “More heat tolerant than most varieties if water is supplied regularly.” At this time of year I figured heat tolerant was a good thing. Other years we’ve never bothered with a 2nd or 3rd planting.
Maybe I should run back to the farm store and see if they have any non-summer radish seeds left. Until now I thought radishes were just radishes.