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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.