Monday, August 10, 2015

Eating Omily: Hot, Sweet Summer

After an incredibly easy summer of highs of 79-82, we finally got properly blasted with that first real heat wave: nothing like trying to make intelligent choices about produce when you're baking in full sun on a 95 degree day.

Just keep breathing! And maybe buy gelato from Mother Hubbord's milk stand...

Another solution for handling the heat? Imagine how much worse off you could be! You could, for example, have just popped one of these into your mouth.
I'd like you to take a moment, and notice, not only the deeply absurd warning (don't touch this pepper? Holy shit!), but the scoville units it has to its name: 2,009,231. That's two MILLION, folks.

For a bit of comparison, consider the habanero: the hottest pepper any of us mere mortals are ever likely to consume. It's got quite a fiery reputation, and for good reason. I don't know anyone who just pops one of these into their mouths, even on a dare.
The scoville units are a bit less clear, having been written in marker, but you can still make them out. That's 300,000. Three-hundred-thousand. Not to be confused with over TWO MILLION.

What in the world does one do with one of those crazy hot peppers? You can't touch them. You SURELY can't eat them! I think they solely exist because some people like to watch the world burn. And knowing there's a pepper out there that can burn your bare flesh that you aren't currently touching can make a day with a heat index of 100 degrees feel just a tad more bearable.

On the other hand, that whole ploy of 'Hey, it could be worse!' has always sort of annoyed me. Of COURSE it could be worse. Does that mean I'm not allowed to ever be unhappy with my situation? Jeeze, lay off! So, maybe you'd prefer a different method for dealing with the heat. It may seem equally unorthodox as exploring your local hot pepper options, but this one is actually very common in other parts of the world: have some tea!

And no, dudes, I am not talking about iced tea. Grow a pair, and get yourself a HOT tea, coffee, whatever floats your boat.


I was first introduced to this seemingly wack solution back in Summer 2010 when I started taking classes at Namaste Yoga and Tranquility Center: the guiding light of my practice to this day, despite the fact that they exist now only in the collective hearts and memories of some very special people, and a handful of baby wolf howling at the full moon t-shirts.

One of the very many things that made Namaste such a special place is that post class, everyone would sit down in the corner and enjoy cups of herbal tea together. There were many elements of this ritual that made it feel sacred and special: the wicker basket of assorted, mismatched cups, the electric kettle hissing away as you got settled at the beginning of class, the fact that the tea was blended by the head teacher, measured out using a sea shell, and brewed in a thermos for the whole length of class, the fact that tea took place in the corner of the studio, preserving the sacred space and energy we had just created was a great opportunity for students to talk about aspects of their practice they were struggling with, and to talk about other things going on at the studio. It was awesome. I would not have missed it for the world. So, in spite of that hot Brooklyn summer, in spite of the lack of A/C, I sat down for my cup of hot tea after every single class.

Some students would opt out, unable to even consider drinking a hot beverage after a sweaty yoga sesh, but one of the teachers, and I wish I could remember which one, pointed out that in some eastern cultures, people drink hot beverages when its hot out on purpose, to cool off. By making your insides hotter, you balance your internal and external temperature, making that hot weather feel less extreme, and more normal. You also stimulate your body to activate all its cooling down mechanisms, making you feel cooler. It may sound a little crazy, but I'm telling you, it works!
If you need a little extra incentive, then keep in mind that whatever kind of pastry your heart need to forget that shit and get this one. Oops, that's totally not what I meant to say. What I meant to say is that there are no less than four vendors offering pastries and treats on any given Farmer's Market day, and you are guaranteed to find one of your favorites...but yes, you do need to try this one. It's crazy. And if you've got a pastry, and you've got a nice cup of tea with milk and sugar...then you've got afternoon tea! And afternoon tea is awesome!!!

But why is this particular pastry the one you should choose? Because, the best description I have of this edible is that it's like a croissant, and a brioche had a love child, and that love child fell in love with you, and did everything in its power to be irresistible to you. That is what this pastry is like. It is all the things. And I can't remember the name of it because it's words I'm not familiar with. BUT ITS AT THE FARMERS MARKET!!! Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from the amazing bakers with the black tent, the off the hizzle lemon tarts, and the incredible gluten free options. Of which this is not one. Sorriez. I'm not sorry it looks a little explicit in this picture, though. That is exactly what this pastry should look like.

So, that's it: the hot, the sweet, the summer! Enjoy it while you can! The seasons just keep rolling on...and in all seriousness, do pick yourself up some, maybe slightly less intense hot peppers. I love to pickle them for throwing on pizza, in eggs, or anywhere else you need a little something-something.


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