As I mentioned in my last post I have been coughing a lot from the coal dust. My constant hacking however does inspire the concern of a number of older Uyghur ladies. All of them are full of ideas and suggestions to help me feel better. They keep underlining how important it is for me to eat hot food. Some sicknesses need hot food to help with recovery and others need cold food. The problem is that I still don’t really understand what is hot and what is not.
In our western way of thinking a food is hot, if the temperature is hot. We talk about warming up with a hot bowl of soup, hugging a mug of coffee, eating stick to your ribs steaming porridge, or settling down with a cup of hot chocolate. We believe all of these will warm a person up from the inside out, because they are foods that are served hot.
Eastern thought doesn’t care about the temperature of the dish, they care about the food itself. The Uyghurs believe that some foods warm up your blood and some cool you down. I still have not learned how to tell hot food from a cold food, I am just slowly starting to learn what category the foods I like fall into. For instance, mutton and horse are considered warm meats, where as chicken and beef are cold. Even veggies can be separated into these two categories, apples and cucumbers are warm, and mushrooms are cold.
Therefore you can have cold dishes that are hot, or hot dishes that are cold. After walking out in the snow, I often am tempted to stop for a hot bowl of beef noodle soup, however, according to my friends this will only make me colder, since beef is a cold meat.
It is all way to confusing for me, I just know that if I don’t want to have older Uyghur ladies lecturing me for an hour on how I am not taking good care of my cough, I need to watch what I am eating in their presence.