A cast-iron skillet, a spatula, a pat of butter — and an egg — were the only experimental materials needed.
With temps reaching up to 95 degrees today, the Food Science team at Fork in the Road set out to test the age-old assertion on the part of heat sufferers: “It’s so hot out there you could fry an egg.”
Our lab was the roof of a West Village apartment building.
So we went upstairs to one of those tar-paper apartment-building rooftops, figuring the heat would be optimal there, and secured the use of a cast-iron frying pan, all the better to absorb the sun’s rays. A pat of butter and black spatula were also at the ready.
A free-range, organic, locavoric, cruelty-free egg
We put the pan out on the roof at precisely 2:30 p.m., and put the butter in the pan. We left the scene for an hour (during which time we went outside to buy some ice cream from the Van Leeuwen truck), to let the butter properly melt.
When we returned, the butter was well melted and conspicuously foamy. We cracked the egg into the skillet and checked our watches. 3:30.
The egg, soon after cracking
We wedged an oven thermometer between the cast-iron pan and the blacktop roof, and the temperature fluctuated between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the ensuing two hours.
At 5:50, we visited the roof for the last time. We were somewhat relieved to see that some of the albumen had coagulated, and the yolk had shrunk and become misshapen, but overall the thing was only about 10 percent cooked.
As a result, we’re proud to announce that, no, it wasn’t hot enough to fry an egg today.
Only those who like their eggs really, really rare will call this egg “cooked.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 12, 2011