Saturday, July 4, 2009

How Hot Is It?

This is the time of year in Texas when I stop bragging to my family in Minneapolis about the weather. The heat gets downright oppressive, even at night, and outdoor activity is best limited to the early morning or the late evening when the sun's rays are ever-so-slightly less scorching.

Yeah. Hot.

As you can imagine, turning on the stove or the oven is less appealing in this heat. So in lieu of cooking something fabulous, I thought I'd cook up a little experiment for my attempt to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

My first attempt was on a total whim. It started around 5:00 p.m. on the day the photo above was taken - not the optimal time, but that's when I thought of doing it. Our house is very tree-shaded, so I cracked an egg on the ground in the cul-de-sac sort of kitty-corner (or catty-corner, if you're a Texan) from the house. I then went inside and e-mailed my neighbors to explain to them why their crazy neighbor had left a raw egg sitting on the street outside their homes.

My neighbors are very forgiving.

After about twenty minutes, I went out to check on it and it didn't look like anything was happening. The shade was starting to encroach on the spot I'd chosen and I felt self-conscious about leaving this thing out there for too long, so I scooped it up and threw it away.

Most people would have stopped there. But not this intrepid (read: nuts) food blogger.

Attempt #2 began a few days later at around 2:30 p.m., which I thought would be somewhere around the hottest time of day. It wasn't quite as hot that day - around 101 degrees - but since my weekend opportunities for conducting an experiment like this are limited, I thought I'd make a go of it. Some quick Internet research suggested that putting the egg in a pan would facilitate the process, so I thought I'd try that method.

Kicking off attempt #2

After about twenty minutes, the edges started to crisp up a little. Promising.


However, the next 50 minutes didn't bring much progress. This is an hour and ten minutes in:


At this point, I started to get impatient and broke out a magnifying glass:


...but I didn't want to sit outside in the heat for as long as it seemed like it was going to take, so I exchanged my magnifying glass for a mirror:


Forty minutes after I put the mirror out (a total of two hours into the experiment), the shadows began to take over my "lab" area and I was forced to throw in the (kitchen) towel.

The "finished" product.

Gordon Ramsay would throw me out of Hell's Kitchen for this egg, for sure. Looks like I won't be trading in my range anytime soon.

Sorry, Texans. Apparently, it's not that hot.


  1. "The finished product" makes me think I might opt for cereal tomorrow morning. Nasty!

  2. Okay, you just reached a new level of quirky and endearing in my book. :-)

  3. I'm inspired! Do you think that scrambling the egg would help? Also, it appears that you used a nice thick Teflon coated pan. What about a crappy aluminum one, like the kind in my old Girl Scout kit? Hmm. What about the hood of a car? Don't give up so easily!

  4. Heh, Zia, love these ideas! Another friend of mine suggested that I try it on asphalt, which would get hotter than concrete. But I don't have any asphalt on my property, so that would entail my doing this on the street (or at DP, maybe? Hmmmm...).

    Alas, I don't have an aluminum pan and am too worried about ruining the paint job on my THAT would be an expensive fried egg!

  5. An explanation: An egg won't solidify below 160-degrees. In Denver at 5000+feet, water boils at less than that temp, so an egg won't boil. No problem frying though.

    Uncle H

  6. Maybe it isn't hot enough to fry an egg, but I left a pair of Crocs on my concrete back patio and they *melted* - crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle!

  7. You crack me up! Love the determination!


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