Ask Marilyn

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - PICKS - By Marilyn vos Sa­vant Send ques­tions to marilyn @ pa­rade.com

Why does blow­ing on hot soup make it cool faster? My breath is warmer than room tem­per­a­ture, not cooler. —Jamie Supra­ma­niam, Washington, D.C. For the same rea­son that blow­ing on an ice cream cone in hot weather will make it melt faster. (Re­ally? Yes, it does.) Blow­ing pushes away the thin layer of soup-warmed air (or cooled air, in the case of ice cream) di­rectly over the bowl, al­low­ing more of the food sur­face to con­tact the am­bi­ent air. Blow­ing also moves the food it­self, caus­ing more of the same.

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