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Burnt to a Crisp: Five Food Remedies To Keep You Cool(er)

It feels like the wrong day to be talking about burns, but -- on the off-chance the thought of scalded skin might help you feel temporarily toasty -- City of Ate today presents five favorite restaurant kitchen remedies for the burns that result from grabbing a too-hot skillet handle or splashing a fryer's worth of boiling oil (Feeling warmer already, right?)

One caveat: City of Ate is not a doctor. Just because chefs think it's a good idea to scrub their wounds with toothpaste doesn't mean you should do it too. If you spill fondue on your leg this afternoon, please follow proper first aid protocol. Or at least look to another blog for medical advice.

1. Tomatoes

And you thought tomatoes were only good for restoring your dog's sweet aroma after a run-in with a skunk. Some chefs say rubbing a tomato wedge over a burn will prevent blistering; believers claim the tomato's acid does the trick.

2. Toothpaste

Especially popular in Southeast Asia, chefs swear by toothpaste's minty properties, which they credit with restoring a tingly freshness to damaged skin.

3. Lightly beaten egg

Subscribers to the egg antidote are adamant about using only the white, and not beating it too much. Since an egg white is a sloppy substance, they advise dipping a cloth in it and applying the cloth to the burn. But even fans of the treatment admit it only alleviates pain until the egg white dries.

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4. Mustard

A popular restaurant industry cure, mustard's caught on with clumsy home cooks, perhaps because when the backyard grill's going, yellow mustard's usually close at hand. Even mustard's boosters haven't articulated a clear theory of why vinegar and mustard seed might staunch a singe.

5. Butter

The butter remedy's so well-known that first aid instructors usually broach the burn section of their curriculum by saying "whatever you do, don't use butter." That's because butter traps heat, so the skin cooks like an onion ring.

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