I haven’t heard it recently, despite the continuing heat wave, but there used to be a common expression about the day being so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. In case you’re wondering, it’s not as easy as you might think, even on a day with record temperatures like we have had.
Sidewalks do hold the heat, but they are not good conductors (meaning they don’t transfer the heat to another object very well). To be fully cooked, an egg must reach 160F, which is a tall order when you have a poor cooking device like a sidewalk.
Those limitations don’t prevent the folks of Oatman, Arizona from giving it a try though. The 32nd annual Sidewalk Egg Fry was held on July 4. In fact, according to a website called National Today, July 4 is National Sidewalk Egg Frying Day, among other things.
Another conundrum that occurs in a heat wave is whether to drink a hot or cold beverage. Have you heard people say a hot drink will help cool you down more? Well, that can be true in some circumstances. But the science is not as obvious as one might think.
Drinking something hot will probably make you sweat more; sweating is our body’s way of cooling itself. But scientists have proven it is not from raising our core temperature.
They are not sure but think it might be sensors in the throat and mouth that trigger a sweating response. But, this only cools us down if the sweat we produce can evaporate quickly.
So, if you try drinking hot tea or coffee on a hot day and the sweat is dripping off you onto the floor then it doesn't have the chance to cool you down. It is either too hot or too humid and a better remedy is a cold drink.
Sometimes it can be nice to have something solid and cold instead of a drink. But then you might be susceptible to a “brain freeze." Have you ever had that happen while eating ice cream? I remember it from my childhood — when I consumed my popsicle too quickly.
There is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon too. Also known as sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, a brain freeze happens when the blood vessels in the roof our mouths get a shock. First, they are exposed to the extreme cold of ice cream or something similar, and then they get a dose of very warm air —which is why this occurs most often in the summer on hot days.
This rapid constriction and then widening of the blood vessels is what gives that sensation of a “brain freeze.” Warming the roof of your mouth, or eating your ice cream faster and keeping it cold, are the best ways to relieve this situation.
The last notion I will leave you with this week is “the dog days of summer”. We have enjoyed a long hot period this year and thankfully without any other natural challenges (I’m touching wood to keep that going).
I hope you have time to listen to a great Canadian orator offer an excellent example of how to enjoy these languid days – whether you are a young kid or a kid at heart. Here is Stuart Mclean, with The Water Slide. Be careful, you might spit out your coffee.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.