Articles / Stop Worrying About the Temperature of Your Food

Stop Worrying About the Temperature of Your Food

Published February 29, 2024

Chances are, you’ll enjoy yourself more if you let it go

Shaved Cauliflower and Celery Slaw. All photos: Sam Muller

In the same way that weather relentlessly dominates small talk, preoccupations with temperature are inherent to my existence. During culinary school and ever since graduating, my life has felt like one big blur of ice baths, leave-in probes, and searing torch attachments; not to mention dehydrator racks, slow-simmering pots, and walk-in refrigerators with wildly effective fans. Sometimes, when tasks like monitoring the broiler or keeping carefully-constructed desserts from melting seemed more like crises, I fantasize about how nice it would be not to think about them at all.

At home, where our thermostat typically reads around 74° F—slightly above suggested room temps for sleeping babies, and not by mistake—I’ve been thinking more about food that comes together at a rate that matches the given mood or moment. In an attempt to protect a sense of peace in the kitchen—less pressure, more pleasure—what I’ve found most appealing are meals with no fuss around the degree range at which they’re consumed. Things that can be done ahead while still existing as an expression of care and attention to detail. Things that can be stored in the fridge and eventually served at your own preferred room temperature—slowly, or suddenly and all at once—for everyone to pick at as they please. Things that in some way feel fancy and special, but also read the room.