Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hot Coffee - a Cool-down

I just returned from a bike ride on a beautiful day, 64 degrees outside.  Still, I got a bit warm, and the coffeepot was still hot when I got home, and that reminds me of the general rule of thumb that Dad used:  coffee is good for cooling down.


There were so many hot days when we'd be baling hay and Dad and my uncles would have their mid-day refreshment of a piece of cake, cookies, perhaps some Norwegian delicacy - and coffee.  And they all swore that coffee was an effective coolant.  Even though it flies in the face of logic and science, coffee seemed to be just their ticket.

And they weren't the only ones.  The corners of my mouth had to turn up as I was reading the stories of the Norwegian Lutheran Farm Boy, who reported the very same thing.

The old Norwegians I worked with believed hot coffee was a great coolant and seemed to drink gallons of it in the summer.  The hired man of our neighbor really gave me a good tongue lashing for putting ice in the water jug, which I had brought out to the hay workers.  He made me put the jug, without the cover on it, out in the sun so the water could warm up.  No one was going to drink cold water when he was around and get sick on him so he would have to do all the work.  I can still hear him talking to himself the rest of the afternoon about "dumb kids nowadays."

Some years later I decided that beer was a much better coolant, and it certainly enhanced the esprit de corps, not to mention fueled the imagination of a group of twenty-somethings.  Now that I'm old enough to know that water is the true hydration system I also am inclined to avoid the situation for which it is well suited.

Unlike the practice of ample hydration followed by today's athlete, all through high school we were charged with "making ourselves tough" by not having ANY water during football practice.  On more than one occasion that theory made me sick when I gorged on the water we were allowed to have once practice was completed.

I just wonder - do those Norwegian farmers still "cool" themselves with coffee today?


  1. I'm sure the "old" Norwegians still cool down with coffee. I remember the baling days as a kid. We shared a baler with my uncle and my aunt always served a big lunch: cake, sandwiches & what she called "nector." I think this was purchased from the Watkins man maybe. It is like kool-aid. My job in those days was to drive the tractor on the rope that took the bales up into the hayloft or maybe to rake. I thought I was cool getting a suntan (rather a sunburn). My neighbor boy would sometimes ride on the fender of the tractor--dangerous. In the days that David was in charge, there was no lunch, but "cold drinks" after they were finished. He would go into town & line up a bunch of guys to help.

    My opinion of no water during football practice is mean & stupid. The coach would not get away with that now.

  2. Yes, Watkins made nectar and it was indeed pretty good. But Watkins went away and then Schwan's showed up, I guess. Don't know if anybody makes nectar anymore, but Kool-Aid is going strong. If I'd known Dave was hiring I would have volunteered to help, just for the "cold drinks" part.


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