Sunday, July 24, 2011

Car Cookery

So it's over 100 degrees again, the kids are out of school, summer camp is over, and everyone is bored. What can you do? Car cookery!

You probably have heard the saying, "It's so hot, you can fry an egg on the sidewalk!" This is a great cliche but cannot actually be done. (For a fun look at a person who actually did this experiment, visit

People have shown that an egg must reach a temperature of at least 158 degrees before it will cook. This theoretically can be done on the metal hood of a car. (Check out

Here in the Dallas area, summer is always HOT. The only variables are exactly how hot it will be, how humid it will be, and whether a stray thunderstorm will drench us on any given day. But it's impossible to escape the heat for several states in every direction. This month, the whole Midwest is experiencing a severe heat wave, and the rest of the country is finding out how it feels to have Texas' weather: awful! But at least we're used to it, so we don't whine as much about it.

In these sizzling days, hot cars are a horrible fact of life. The heat sears your hands and backside in your car, the heat bakes you like an oven, and you start sweating like a basted turkey. The heat is hard on your car and hard on your body. The heat even tends to zap your car batteries in the summer. However, there is ONE advantage to a hot car: It's a free way to cook your food!

This summer we are starting a new series on car cookery featuring our old green Chevy Suburban. We are going to see what can be cooked in the car. This provides several benefits: saving electricity, providing amusement and giving us ideas for our next summer camping trip.

Almost all of Texas is currently in a state of severe drought, so most of the state is under a burn ban. So when you go camping and can't build a fire, how do you cook? The answer ... pull up your car!

Our first experiment in car cookery took place a few days ago at 5:45 p.m., when it was 102 degrees F in the sun and 152 degrees inside the car with all the doors and windows closed.

We preheated our frying pan on the dashboard of our Suburban until the pan got really hot, then created a quesadilla with a tortilla and shredded cheese.

About 15 minutes later, voila! The quesadilla was done. The taste testers agreed that it was edible and very much like a regular quesadilla, except that we forgot to fry it in butter. We'll remember that next time.

So, what do you think you can cook up? Bon appetit!

P.S. You are welcome to try this in your own car, but MAKE SURE NO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN ARE LEFT INSIDE THE VEHICLE.


  1. Interesting experiment! I can't wait to see what else you decide to cook.

  2. Man, you guys must really be bored! I remember the heat in the Sacramento Valley during the summers when growing up and think they must have been similar to where you are now. We never thought to cook on the dashboard. :-)

  3. I remember the cars getting really hot when I was growing up in the Sacramento Valley but we never thought to try cooking on the dashboard. Glad your boring days have found some enjoyment as well as happy tummies!