Slideshow SLIDESHOW: 45 Hot and Spicy Dishes for Summer

These are the dog days of summer. August is upon us, and here in New York that means sweat-soaked crosstown blocks and sweltering subway stations straight out of Dali's La Persistencia de Memoria. But there's one unexpected way to cool down during the hot summer months that doesn't include cold showers or blasting your air conditioning: spicy food.

That's right, eating hot foods can actually cool you down. The effect is known as gustatory sweating, and basically, the theory is this: spicy foods will cause you to sweat, which in turn cools you off. This goes a long way toward explaining the central role that heat plays in many equatorial cuisines, from Central and Latin American to Southeast Asian.

From jalapeño-packed coleslaw to jerk pork skewers, we've got 45 delicious recipes to help you beat the heat.

Appetizers, Snacks, and Sides

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