Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Cool Drinks for Hot Days
by John Raven, Ph.B.Fortunately, there is relief from the heat. For the outside of the body there is the old swimming hole. Be it a plastic pool in the back yard or majestic Barton Springs in Austin, cool water works wonders on the warm body.
Along about this time every year, the Texas weather starts getting hot. June is the tune-up month for July and August when Mama Nature really sees if anyone is serious about living in Texas. The temperature can climb to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and repeat the show every day for a month or more. It usually doesn't rain during these hot spells. "Hot and dry" is the most used weather forecast in Texas.
The body can also be cooled from the inside, and that's the route we are going to investigate here. The first thing many Texans think of when it comes time to cool the body is cold beer. Cold beer sure tastes good and it feels good going down, but the alcohol tends to dehydrate the body and make things worse. Of course, just plain old water is the best thing for the body. Cool water is better than warm water, and cold water is better than cool water. But when the water is so cold it gives you an "ice cream headache", it's too cold. The old wives warned against drinking cold water when you were real hot and thirsty. I think they thought the rapid change in temperature would crack something in your innards. Nah.
Sometime shortly after World War II wound down, Royal Crown Cola started showing up in the coolers in twelve-ounce bottles. Wow! That was nearly more than a person could drink at one sitting. Right on the heels of the introduction of the big RC Cola came the twelve-ounce Pepsi Cola. Pepsi had a gimmick; you could get six bottles and an aluminum carrier to carry them in for a quarter. Of course you had to pay the two cents per bottle deposit, bringing the total purchase price up to thirty-seven cents. Only bankers and lawyers could afford six at one time.
It didn't take John Q. Public long to figure how to make his very own floats at home. Ice cream didn't come in pints and quarts; it came in two- or three-gallon containers. If you wanted a pint or a quart, your ice cream dealer would scoop it out and put it in a container for you to take home.
By far the most popular float, and I think it remains the most popular today, was the root beer float. Vanilla ice cream and root beer were made for each other. A marriage made in Heaven. My personal favorite after root beer is orange. You can't use orange juice. It's gotta be a good quality orange Co-Cola. I've never found anyone who liked a Big Red float.
Cool things that need chewing
Crunchy Summer Salad
A lot of folk believe eating hot chile peppers will cool you off. I know that hot chile peppers will make you sweat. The sweat evaporates and makes you cooler. But dehydrated sweat is not all that charming. I think I'll stick with my ice tea and save the chile heater for the cool times.
More Cold Summer Drinks
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