Beat the heat

“When it's hot like this” says Marilyn Monroe to her summer bachelor neighbour in The Seven Year Itch, “l keep my undies in the icebox.”  And, as if the poor boy wasn’t enraptured enough, she stands on the ventilation grill over the subway. Another of her cooling recipes is to stand naked on the balcony.

Though not terribly sexy, a hot water bottle or a plastic bottle filled with frozen water works wonders. Three quarter fill a hot water bottle or plastic bottle and put it in the freezer. At night, wrap it in a nice towel and place this icy package in your bed. Putting your toasty toes on it will make all the difference between tossing and turning in a borderline sauna and some blissful zzzs.

To chill out fast, use it during the day under your feet, while sitting at your desk or on the settee. The cooling is intense and instantaneous. An ice-cube or an ice pack on pulse points at the wrists, neck, groin, ankles, and behind the knees will do the trick. Beware: the thermic shock is violent.

Two or three bottles outside to the guinea pig cage and another one wrapped in a towel inside the cage and hey presto, Puccini is as fresh as a daisy.

Position a shallow bowl of ice, frozen water bottles, or ice packs in front of a table or standing fan. Aim the fan at you et voilà, enjoy the cool breeze.

Don’t forget to wear a hat and sunglasses when you go out. And if you want to feel cool as a cucumber, put a pretty wet bandana around your neck. Remember to stay hydrated, ice cold drinks immediately lower the body temperature. Sorbets and ice-creams are radical refreshers.

In Chinese medicine, summer is the time of fire, or yang energy; it’s hot, it’s dry and it’s intense, and it can leave us feeling irritable, depleted, and ready to relocate to Iceland. But you can beat the heat by avoiding alcohol and eating cold or cool meals. Fruit and vegetables are easier to digest than a big steak. If you fancy a hot meal, forget slaving over a hot stove and replace steaming casseroles by barbecued meat.

Feast on cooling foods like dark leafy vegetables, sweet pepper, seaweed, salads, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, avocado, melon, bananas, apple, pineapple, citrus fruit to balance soaring temperatures and dampen the fiery flames of summer. And eat them al fresco.


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