Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hot Enough to....

The Times City Room threw caution to the wind and tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  I have to give the reporter Andy Newman credit for venturing outside on a day when only Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and the kebab and felafel carts venture out. While the experiment resulted in some lightly cooked tuna, the eggs proved less than satisfactory. Based on our extensive Google research, the Library of Congress reports that, yes, it is theoretically (damn their eyes - there is that word again) possible to cook an egg on the sidewalk, but it is unlikely that the sidewalk would get hot enough.

LoC reports: An egg needs a temperature of 158°F to become firm. In order to cook, proteins in the egg must denature (modify), then coagulate, and that won’t happen until the temperature rises enough to start and maintain the process.

The City Room was on the right track using a frying pan, since metal is a better conductor of heat than just plopping the egg on the concrete. But wo-be-tide to we New Yorkers should it ever approach that chilling temperature. But standing around trying to fry an egg  at 103 degrees Fahrenheit just ain't gonna cut it.

Once, when our kids were younger, I amused them on a long car ride home from upstate by making nachos: melting little bits of cheese on Doritos using the car cigarette lighter. Now that's entertainment!  (My Better Half was suitably unimpressed.)

Interesting that the heat always seems to bring out the frying-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk gambit, but there appears to be no widescale effort to commercialize on solar cookery in New York City. It seems like it would be much easier (and more fun) for backyard cooking than lugging those 40 pound propane tanks to run the gas grille. When I was in elementary school, a science and engineering nut, bakelight eyeglass frames, pocket protector and all, I built a solar oven for a science project that managed to produce a moderately good melted cheese sandwich (although my intention, unfortunately, was grilled cheese.)  But solar cooking kits are on the market place, and no doubt would cook an egg (and probably bacon) very effectively on a 103 degree NYC afternoon.

More on the LoC research here

More on solar cookery here

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