LAST YEAR THE heat was on. Peppers sizzled across the culinary scene, scorching tongues. The biggest chef in the country--New Orleans' Paul Prudhomme--sported a button that said, "Totally Hot!" Almost everything was better blackened. The truly trendy sprinkled their vocabularies with words like mesquite and hickory.
Those who could take the heat went into the kitchen, where commercial stoves became the appliances of choice. No matter how small the kitchen, these mammoth stoves boasted double ovens, giant grills and multijets.
But that's in the past. This is the year of the big chill. Look at the magazines: Last year they told you how to smoke meat; this year they're telling you how to toss salad. The Cajun craze has passed, grills are gone and everybody has abandoned baking to take up ice cream making. The Ice Age has descended.
Even the kitchen is playing it cool. A commercial stove is not the hot ticket it was last year; if you want to be on the cutting edge, you now need a commercial refrigerator. Modified, of course, for residential use.