A Facebook friend in New York claimed that out his way, it got so hot that a port-a-potty melted.

I can’t confirm this, partly because I couldn’t find a news item to verify it and partly because he apparently logged off to play with his dog and hasn’t yet answered my query. You’d think this would be a priority.

But I feel that “hot enough to melt a port-a-potty” should be some kind of recognized indication of weather. You may have heard that FEMA has the informal (but very useful) Waffle House Index, which is used to assess how bad an area is after a disaster like a hurricane.

If the local Waffle House is open and stays open through whatever crisis happens, the situation is looking good. If the Waffle House is closed during the disaster but opens up soon after, things are still OK. If it’s open only with a limited menu, limited supplies or limited power, the situation is pretty iffy. If it’s closed completely, start running.

I haven’t eaten at one in a long time; I had a bad date at one in the daytime about 10 years ago that involved pecan waffles, which were not the best example of the species, but nobody’s going to Waffle House for the gourmet experience. The waffles were by far the best part of the date, which is not to say they were disappointing.

Also note that its name is “Waffle House,” not “Waffles with Real Maple Syrup House.” You’re getting flavored corn syrup and you’ll like it, or at least you better not say anything within earshot of the staff. These people are Not Kidding Around. I’m 99% sure that Waffle House employees are who they send in when the Navy Seals refuse a mission.

Anyway, the last time before that when I saw the inside of a Waffle House, I still lived in Radford, the year started with “19” and I was eating with friends after a particularly weird night out. My best friend at the time had decided nothing would do for a Friday night but to go to the roughest cowboy bar in Montgomery County, known for spontaneous fistfights (I can’t recall its name or location, which I am absolutely fine with) and chat up the nightlife.

“Nightlife” for her ended up being the only two clean-cut college boys there, who seemed much less clean-cut by proximity to the place but were nice enough. Nightlife for me — literally only one barstool over! — was a wildly drunk and extremely recent ex-convict who told me he was in for hard drug charges and repeatedly informed me I had “such a pretty mouth.” (I WISH I WAS MAKING THAT UP.)

Before anyone faints, nothing whatsoever happened and I finally strong-armed my friend into leaving, and we and a couple other people decamped to a Waffle House, where the employees were three times tougher than the bar patrons (a few of whom we recognized in various booths). You got the feeling the Waffle House gang could have taken anyone in a fistfight, only they considered Friday night fisticuffs just a little too declassé to bother with. Well, anyway, the food was decent.

Why should you worry about a Waffle House, or any 24-hour diner? Frankly, because if port-a-potties are melting anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard, that’s your clue not to actually cook anything. If you must, go to a 24-hour diner (or any restaurant, really) and let them do it for you. It’s too hot for anything else.

If, on the other hand, you can’t, or are making do with a variety of cold tossed salads and veggies, you probably need some kind of dressing. Yes, there’s ranch, but you need buttermilk if you’re making it from the little envelope of powder (which is its best form) and then you have almost a half-gallon of leftover buttermilk, and that suggests biscuits, and you do NOT want to turn an oven on if you can help it.

On the other hand, you can avoid too much in the way of unused food and only turn on a food processor to get this week’s recipe, which is delicious and will go on most anything. It does come out kind of on the thick side, but you can thin it with a little water.

I can’t, to my recollection, say that I’ve given you this exact recipe before, though I believe within the last year I have given you an avocado salsa recipe that was close.

This dressing isn’t technically a salsa and has no avocado, though it would be delicious over some fresh slices of same. The green sauce/avocado/lime/cilantro axis of foods is of perpetual interest to me, the same way that any beverage or dessert involving coffee is.

I find myself adding it to chili, to roast vegetables (I know, I’d already gotten the oven AND the stove going before I figured out what kind of toll that was going to take) and to most anything savory. Note that if you hate cilantro, I’m pretty sure a mix of basil and parsley would make a good substitute.

Enjoy this at home until you get tired of it, and then head out for someplace that’ll make dinner for you. You might even try to sneak some of this dressing onto their food to see if it improves the experience.

I mean, I wouldn’t try it on any breakfast foods. And if you do, definitely don’t let the Waffle House employees catch you.

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

(from food blog Two Peas and Their Pod)

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, brownish root ends chopped off

½ cup plain full-fat yogurt (Cabot Creamery Greek yogurt is good)

1 garlic clove

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Half of a jalapeño, seeds and stem removed at your preference (optional)

A little water to thin it out, at your preference

Add the cilantro, yogurt, garlic, lime juice, honey, salt and jalapeño (if using), into a food processor or blender. Put the lid on and blend. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Stop and taste, adjust with a little more salt or honey, if desired.

Pour the dressing into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (or a plastic condiment squeeze bottle). The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.