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Foods to enjoy at room temp/slightly warm

I just had a peanut butter truffle that was especially delicious since it was a little warm.

Cheese also tastes better when it's not right out of the fridge.

I love the first half of an avocado I eat since it hasn't been refrigerated.

While it's getting warmer (at least throughout most of the U.S.), what else benefits from getting a little warm before you eat it?

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  1. IMO, most Middle Eastern food is best served at room temp, rather than hot or cold. (Tabbouli being a big exception!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: pikawicca

      I'm surprised that you consider tabbouli an exception. I've always eaten it room temperature. Do you eat it chilled? Not heated, right?

      1. This is such a great discussion. I come from an Italian family and cooking tradition. We prefer many vegetables and salads at room temperature. I especially hate ice cold salads, and I laughed yesterday at Macy's, because I saw a Martha Stewart salad chiller! Italians generally eat the green salad at the end of the meal, so I usually push my salad to the side when I'm dining out -- then fight off the wait staff until I'm ready.

        I'd say that even raw, most vegetables and fruits taste better at room temp or warmer -- what about a fresh tomato pulled off the plant, still warm from the sun? Heaven.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Giuditta

          Oh, speaking of Italian foods, add salami to my list!

          And right there with you on the tomatoes.

          1. re: Giuditta

            When I lived in Italy last year I learned a lot about food, how to store it, and how to eat it. I was working with an opera company in Lucca (Toscany) and there were 6 of us musicians crammed into on apartment. We had one fridge and two sets of bookcases we used as shelves. Tomatoes, along with most vegetables and fruit, don't need to be refridgerated till after they've been cut. A suggestion: a great healthy snack is tomato with some olive oil and sea salt drizzled over it. Tastes great, especially when its hot outside. They don't believe in AC in Italy, and I don't either. Once you live w/o it you never miss it.

            1. re: Giuditta

              I'm with you on ice cold salads. And I hate fruit from the fridge. I always leave it out a while before eating.

              Grain salads and such, I nuke a little to rewarm to temp. I have once or twice even set a salad in the micro for ten seconds tops to take the chill off. I'm weird....

              1. re: im_nomad

                There are a lot of fruits I love at room temp; grapes, tomatoes, bananas, but I also enjoy a cold, crisp apple (just had one with some room temp cheddar for breakfast), or a cold orange on a hot summer day. Most berries are better at room temp than refrigerated, IMHO, but I think most melons, especially canteloupe and watermelon, are far better chilled.

                I'm surprised on one has mentioned bread. When I was a child, my mom bought a Salton "bun warmer" - it gently heated bread or rolls, not enough to get a crust or anything, just enough so that the butter melted easily. Warm bread with slightly cool butter - that was a treat!

                1. re: im_nomad

                  But, with a nod to William Carlos Williams, there is just something absolutely right about a perfectly ripe plum fresh from the fridge.

                  1. re: jmckee

                    He was the happy genius of his family after all!

                  2. re: im_nomad

                    i'm with you on salad and fruits and veggies.

                    i'll throw them in the micro for 20-30 seconds just to take the chill off of them. no heating just room-temperaturizing.

                  3. re: Giuditta

                    Giuditta, your comment about fighting off the wait staff almost made me do a spit take! It's so true. Ice cold salads set my teeth on edge. And I like my soup to cool down a bit, so I take little spoonfuls of it throughout my meal. I've had to dive for my soup or salad many times. I have black raspberries in my yard that I wait all year to eat just standing right there and plucking them. They taste so much better when slightly warmed by the sun.

                    1. re: givemecarbs

                      givemecarbs...I would happily move into your backyard, as raspberries are my absolute favorite berry. There used to be a raspberry u-pick not far from my home a few years ago, and I would go with a friend on sunny days. We used to joke that they should have weighed us going in and out. :)

                      1. re: im_nomad

                        I'm smiling. You reminded me of growing up in rural Connecticut, and some folks covered their red raspberry bushes with cheesecloth nets to keep the birds away. My brothers and I would travel miles on our bicycles to find a tent and sneak in and gorge ourselves. Later at dinner, it was hard to explain to mom why our t-shirts looked like a Jimi Hendrix tye-dye.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          just yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about berries, and how picking berries with my family is one of my fondest childhood memories. we'd each be given a bucket or container depending on age, and when it was blueberries or raspberries (we also picked partridgeberries but those are sort of too tart that way), the ones in the bucket were pretty scarce, especially when we were little, and not serious enough about it. Pure joy.

                          We'd then picnic or boil up, and when we'd get home, i'd get a bowl of blueberries with carnation milk (from the can), and a sprinkling of sugar.

                          We ate just about everything that grew growing up, I remember hiding in what we thought we rhubarb bushes like you did as a kid, playing cubby and chewing "rhubarb"

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Are you sure you didn't grow up on the same street as me?? My neighbors across the street had red raspberry bushes that they covered with cheesecloth nets, lol. I'd go over there after school and just eat and eat

                            1. re: kubasd

                              During the summer in MI I spent my summers at our lake home ... a neighbor down the lakefront had a huge garden (we did too) but he had raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and us peas carrots, rhubard, peppers, tomatoes, etc.

                              My friends and me would go to the garden and just snack on everything. Sooooo good.

                    2. Conversely, the frequency with which I prefer room-temperature (or even straight-from-the-fridge) leftovers to the original hot item is high.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        I'm with you on straight-from-the-fridge leftovers.

                      2. Zucchini. Slice it, saute it in olive oil until it's barely done, pile it on a plate, and eat it later at room temperature with grated parmesan and wedges of fresh lime. This brings out the flavor of the zucchini like no other method I know. With sliced tomatoes, good bread and butter, and wine this makes a good summer meal with nothing else.

                        1. Apples and CHEESE, for certain. I am not a vindictive person, and I don't mind if my revenge is also served warm.

                          1. A lot of desserts...pie, cake, cheesecake. I hate when they are served cold from the fridge at a restaurant.

                            1. I like most veggies hot. but lasagna I like more at room temp. Cheeses definitely at room temp. Fruits definitely at room temp or slightly chilled. Lets not forget some wines. Also Some Rice salads and some bean salads I like marinated and then served room temp as well.

                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                  Totally agree about good beer.

                                  I also like good pizza warm-ish, as well as dried sausage, cheese, even meatballs...

                                    1. re: cuccubear

                                      Maybe room temperature is pushing it a bit. But *cold* is used to disguise either flavour or lack thereof. And for many beers *cold* is better.

                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                        Beer unless guiness, cold for me. Pizza. Heck I eat left over pizza for breakfast, always have, hot, warm or cold.

                                        1. re: Paulustrious

                                          I guess I don't really mean "room temp" if the room is 80 degrees...ick!

                                          But agree that some beer is not always better ice cold. I remember my trip to Belgium in 2002. Went to the 200 Beer Circus and they were neither chilled nor warm, but cooled.

                                          1. re: cuccubear

                                            I second the some slightly chilled, FL, always warm :) We get sunshine and great temps but never slightly chilled beer. Down here just take the cooler to the beach and with the hot sun, 2 hours later you will have slightly chilled beer, lol.

                                            I get Boddingtons Cream ale which I love, keep it in the fridge but admit I set it out a bit before I serve, just a slight warmer temp is better.

                                      2. re: Paulustrious

                                        good mention. I have friends that rave about having an ice cold beer during the summer, but give it to me from the tap, and not so ice cold.

                                        I also prefer my red wine room temp, and my scotch neat.

                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                          definitely. scotch must be neat, red wine must be room temp, and good beer just a bit below room temp.

                                          1. re: kubasd

                                            Red wine should be served at cellar temperature which is significantly cooler then room temp.

                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                              That is true, cellar temp :) No cellar temp in FL. Usually just chill for a few minutes in the fridge, not too long. Only way to get cellar temp here.

                                      3. Tortilla espanol at room temperature. I don't know why but it makes a big difference.

                                        1. Funny, this just came up this weekend, as I was cutting into a honeydew to have with prosciutto, and I thought to myself, I'm really going to enjoy this first serving because the melon will be room temperature. Tomorrow I'll be eating it with cold melon, and it won't be as good. So I'd say I like my honeydew melon room temperature better than cold.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: lisavf

                                            "Tomorrow I'll be eating it with cold melon, and it won't be as good. "

                                            Couldn't you just leave the cold melon out until it reaches room temperature?

                                            I agree with you that most fruits are better at room temperature as it is more flavorful -- all with the exception of watermelon. I eat watermelon to be refreshed, and it tastes so much better cold.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              You're right, leaving the melon out until it reaches room temperature would work, except that I usually have prosciutto and melon for breakfast, and I would't want to leave it out overnight. Or if I decide to have it for a snack, it's usually an impulsive snack, not one I've planned.

                                              I agree about watermelon - that's one fruit I prefer eating cold. So refreshing on a hot day!

                                          2. Citrus in general and grapefruit in particular are better at room temp. And Belgian Ales are tastier when not served straight from the fridge.

                                            1. Sashimi, but with hot gohan
                                              Musubi and teriyaki
                                              Fresh lumpia (Philippines)
                                              Most sandwiches
                                              Pastries, cookies, most pies, cakes

                                              1. This is not really a food, but butter. I can't stand ice cold butter. How am I supposed to spread it when it is so hard? Anything that I use as a dip or spread I prefer to be at room temperature than just out of the fridge.

                                                1. Grilled vegetables with olive oil, garlic and salt.

                                                  And I'm Italian and have found that I always enjoy any pasta with homemade tomato sauce much better at room temperature then hot from the pot!

                                                  I also often like my Thai leftovers more once they've come home and aren't hot...I taste the flavours better.

                                                  1. I like a lot of things room temperature rather than straight out of the fridge:

                                                    Olives
                                                    Pickles
                                                    Fruit
                                                    Salad (even pasta salad)
                                                    Hard boiled eggs