There are many reasons why cooking in the summer is a pain: longer nights and warm weather often means we’re spending less time in the house and don’t have time. Plus, summer’s bounty includes countless fruits and vegetables that are delicious eaten simply. But the real reason we hate cooking in the summer? The heat.
Even for those lucky enough to be blessed with central air, a hot stove can take a cool kitchen to a sweltering swamp. After an experience that enervating, who wants to eat a plate of hot food, more or less clean up afterwards? Enter no-cook cooking. The promise is alluring: a whole world of food out there, no heat required. How exactly we define “no-cook cooking” varies, but the general idea is you, the home chef, does not have to use heat while preparing meals. Pre-cooked things, like store-bought rotisserie chicken or canned tuna, is fine, as is bread or anything else that might have been cooked before arriving to you.
While it's possible to eat "no cook" all of the time, in the summer, we’re especially fixated on it. So, I set out to discover what would happen if I went entirely no-cook, for a week. Would I turn into Ina Garten, smiling placidly as I simply chop up a few ripe ingredients, plated beautifully? Would I feel freed from the fire that trapped our hunter-gather ancestors and revert simply to foraging? Or would I just miss melted cheese the whole time?