An Appetite for Paris

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Pierre Proposes Tips to Beat the Heat

While the last couple of days have been a blessing, I’m guessing the worst heat is yet to come. I remember we used a few tricks when a kid in New Orleans, so I did some Goggling to see if there were any updates. Funny, after all these years, it’s still about the same methods if no AC unit, to wit:
1. Place a fan so it is blowing the heat out a window of the room rather than just around the room;
2. If you have another fan, put ice and a bit of cold water in a shallow pan and set the fan to blow over the pan, basically what we used to call a poor man’s cooler.
However, in  those days without refrigerators, we had an ice man come to the house, and we’d get an extra block so the extra fan could blow over that one. If you know we’ll have a few cool days, use that time to make ice cubes and storing them in plastic bags in the freezer for the hot days, so you don’t run out. Stores near us don’t seem to sell ice, unless I missed it.
3. Often it was cooler in the early morning so we’d keep the house wide open until we noticed a change in temperature, and then we’d shut down all the doors, shutter the windows, and even close off any room that usually got most of the heat due to the way the house was facing. The fans would be used until it got hot, then we’d go the steps 1 and 2.
4. A quick cool shower and barely drying off keeps your body temperature cooler longer, or a damp towel over your head or around your neck works too;
5. Sometimes it’s cooler outside in the shade — or at least more bearable — with a handheld fan than inside, so don’t discount that;
6. Once you sense a moderation of the temperature, often opening up the entire house to create a draft is better than fanning stuffy stale air, or use step 1 above;
7. Loose fitting cotton clothes helps and acts as a better way to wick heat away from your body than other fabrics;
8. Now this may sound crazy, but I learned this trick from a Franciscan Priest who worked with Navaho Indians in the dessert….he said they taught him to drink something hot, such as coffee, tea or clear soup, as that bought up your internal temperature and gave you a cooler feeling. I know there’s a more proper medical explanation, but no matter how you split hairs, it works, and I’ve done it. Humm, how about hot toddies, brandy, etc. so not only might you cool down, but if not enough, then you don’t care!!
9. If you have a ceiling fan, be sure to change the pitch so it is turning counter-clockwise, which pulls the heat up and pushes cool air down, rather than clockwise which pushes heat down and sucks cooler air up.
Courage, Pierre

 

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