The brightest side of incredibly hot temperatures afflicting many regions of the country is not ice cream for dinner or midday runs through fire hydrants-turned-sprinklers: It's the ability to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Because no one wants to turn on the stove. And it's very environmentally friendly, right?
Well, not so fast. According to the Library of Congress' Science Reference Services, it's almost never possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk—not because it won't work theoretically, but because it won't work in execution: The surface doesn't get hot enough. Eggs need to be 158°F in order for the proteins to denature and coagulate (that is, for the egg to firm up), but concrete sidewalks don't usually exceed 145° F and are poor conductors of heat. Once the egg hits the surface and consequently cools that area down slightly, the egg will cook—if it cooks—unevenly.
But, there's hope yet: "Something closer to the conditions of a frying pan would be the hood of a car," says the LOC. "Metal conducts heat better and gets hotter, so people actually have been able to cook an egg on a car hood's surface."
Shop the Story
And a less successful try:
One intrepid young girl named Liyah in Arizona fried an egg in a frying pan inside the car—perhaps a smarter move, as the car windows trap heat and create a greenhouse effect in the contained environment. It took fifteen minutes, but it worked (or, in Liyah's words: "Anyway, there you have it."):
And we don't have to give up on the sidewalk idea just yet—as long as you live in a low-humidity environment: "It turns out that eggs also have a bit of an advantage in Arizona, the land of low humidity and high heat. Liquids evaporate rapidly when humidity is low. The eggs have a bit of 'help' while they cook, and they dry out faster."
Perhaps that's why the Arizonans who made this video were able to cook the egg so much that they executed a successful over-easy flip?
That's something I can barely do in a frying pan, let alone on the concrete.
And if all this seems silly to you, there's always this:
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.