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What To Cook When It's Too Hot To Cook

It’s hard to muster up the willpower to walk into the kitchen on a hot summer day. Just preheating an oven can feel like torture. Few of us can afford to eat at an air-conditioned restaurant seven nights a week, but there are plenty of cooking options that will keep the heat down and still let you fill yourself with tasty grub.

Title photo remixed with Goldhahn & Sampson.

The key to surviving a hot kitchen is simple: spend as little amount of time in the kitchen as possible, and don’t use the oven unless you have to. Here are a few suggestions.

The Easy Way: No-Cook Food

The most obvious way to keep the temperature in your house down is to simply not use any appliances. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget in the midst of a heat wave.

  • Just don’t cook: The global Lifehacker team are split on cooking. Some of us love it. Others do it only out out of necessity. If you want to eat healthily and don’t want to cook at all, we’ve compiled a roundup of easy no-cook foods, including everything ranging from smoothies to sandwiches.
  • Make some cold soups: The New York Times has a great collection of simple-to-make cold soups. Most of them don’t require any cooking and can be whisked up or chopped down in less than a few minutes.

Photo by Alpha.

A Good Backup: Low-Effort, Low-Heat Appliance Cooking

Not cooking food all summer long is bound to get boring, so thank goodness for appliances such as rice cookers, microwaves and crockpots. These low-effort appliances mean you spend less time in the kitchen and more time in front of the air conditioner.

  • Master the art of low-effort cooking: We’ve covered the basics of cooking with rice cookers and microwaves here. Both great ways to make a nice hot meal without making your house overheated as well. The microwave sometimes gets a bad rap, but it’s great for potatoes, steamed vegetables, scrambled eggs and much more.
  • Use that crockpot: Crock pots are associated with winter foods, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them in the summer as well. Leave your meal cooking in a dark kitchen and you can safely ignore it — and the smell of cooking food is just as pleasant in summer as in winter.

Photo by Alex Shultz.

The True Summer Way: Take It To The BBQ

If you really want to cook up a hot dish but can’t handle the heat of the kitchen your best option may be leave the kitchen and hit up the BBQ for some outdoor cooking. How tolerable that is may depend on the heat outdoors, but the cooking process is quick, especially for seafood, so it shouldn’t be a major hassle. Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ultimately, cooking is a personal thing. We’d love to hear your favourite summertime cooking tips and recipes for when it’s too hot to stay in the kitchen.


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