Growing up, my family and I resided on the second floor of a three-story apartment building without benefit of a fan or air-conditioning.
Sleep was challenging, to say the least.
“My Childhood Home”
As a child, in what seemed like many hours of trying to fall asleep in a puddle of my own sweat, I finally fell into a sweltering, unsettled sleep.
During those times, in my young life, I didn’t think about how people in the past lived or survived the summer months.
However, as time progresses and we get a little older, we start to wonder about things. I wondered about people throughout history and how they were able to sleep or cook their meals during the stifling heat of summer.
“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” ― Socrates
Regardless of the heat and humidity, they still had to sleep and eat. For sustenance, they cooked stews, roasted meat, and baked bread, etc.
So how did they endure cooking and baking in the extreme heat of summer?
I learned that meals were cooked and baking was done outdoors until the introduction of the wood-burning cook stove which took preparing meals indoors. Great during the colder months, but in the summer-NOT SO MUCH!
To beat the nagging heat already in the house, some erected “Summer Kitchens”. These structures were detached buildings from the main house where all the baking and cooking took place.
Which brings me to yesterday’s supper. We cooked and ate fried ravioli, mini Italian meatballs, a quick-pan marinara and we even baked an Olive & Thyme focaccia.
While I still reflect upon the distant and not so distant past, I gratefully acknowledged that today we can bake bread and cook meals in air-conditioned comfort or outside on our modern grills, spits, or pits.