In many parts of the country today, for at least several months out of the year it’s unthinkable to turn on the oven without first cranking up the air conditioning. While outdoor barbecues and oven-free indoor cooking are still beloved summer pastimes, there are days when you just want to make a cake in August (or Christmas cookies
in Florida). After World War II, air-conditioning window units were introduced, and sales soared from 74,000 in 1948 to more than a million in 1953. Now, instead of being beholden to the barbecue pit, cooks in warm climates can comfortably prepare meals indoors year-round. But some scholars of southern culture argue that the South
has become less friendly because of air conditioning: The tradition of lingering on the porch with neighbors and sipping mint juleps has fallen by the wayside now that people are able to stay indoors.