Why Hot Soup Makes for a Cool Summer

In the summer heat, we think we crave cold swims, iced coffee, and cool gazpacho all the time.

We’re not entirely correct. Hot showers, fresh-brewed coffee, and steaming soup hold an under-appreciated place in the summer diet, and we’re here to tell you why.

First, the proof: in some of the hottest climates in the world, food is both hot (temperature) and hot (highly spicy). In Thailand, diets feature curries; in India, there’s daily hot tea; in Fiji, spicy coconut stews. Locals in these places are probably not cold. They eat stews and tea because a sweltering meal can actually cool its eater down.

Why? Though it’s counter-intuitive, when you eat hot food, your body’s receptors notice. They relay the hotness to the brain, and your brain starts to cool you down. The same response occurs for spicy hot as for temperature hot, one reason we added birdseye chiles to our cool cucumber salad. Of course the body’s “cooling system” may make you sweat as you eat, but by the time you’re finished, you’ll be cool as that cucumber in your salad.

The eating-hot-food-in-summer phenomenon happens as close to home as New England, infamous for muggy summers. Long before scientific theories about tongue receptors, that’s where the epitome of summer soups was born–Corn Chowder

Good sweet corn makes this soup, and good corn ripens in July and August, evidence that summer is the only time to cook up this hot, vegetable-laden bowl. Potatoes and a dash of cream both add richness and thickness to the delicious broth, and radishes and micro celery bring even more spirit of the season.

So open the windows, turn on the stove, and get ready to heat up–and then cool down–with our deliciously seasonal, and unabashedly hot Summer Corn & Vegetable Chowder.