Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dashboard S'mores

Hello again from the Land of Always Summer, aka Dallas, Texas.

This year is turning out to be the second-hottest summer in recorded history, trailing only the unbearable summer of 1980. (I'm glad we didn't live here then!) This month we finally ended our 40-day streak of 100-degree-plus temperatures with a day in the high 90s, meaning we came within two days of tying the 1980 streak of 42 days. Rats!

And now, as we wind up August, we've had 63 days of at least 100 degrees. Right now it's only 95 degrees, which actually feels good by this point. The record of the most 100-degree days in Dallas is 69 days in 1980. So we still have a shot at meeting that record, although I'm not sure I want to.

One of the more interesting things we've done this summer is to try our hands at dashboard cooking in our old Chevy Suburban. We've made quesadillas, garlic bread, grilled-cheese sandwiches, cinnamon toast, hot dogs, bruschetta and beef jerky. As the temperature inside the car can easily hit 120 degrees and above on a hot day, most of our experiments have turned out quite well.

By far the most popular experiment with our kids was the dashboard s'more. Easy and tasty, it came out great! Since then, I found this funny song on YouTube titled "Dashboard S'mores." It takes place -- you guessed it! -- in Texas. Where else?

I've also come across several people who've baked chocolate chip cookies in their cars! You can find out more at Discover Magazine, Baking Bites, SnarkyVegan or Completely Delicious. We'll have to try that sometime as well! I bet the smell inside your car is heavenly. :)

I've also found a surprising number of online articles about solar cookery using cardboard boxes covered in aluminum foil, or funky reflective dishes that look like giant woks. This turns out to work great in hot places such as Africa, where they don't have electricity or Suburbans. And it might be fun for a Scout project.

For now, though, we'll continue trying car cookery and hoping for our heat spell to eventually end. But maybe it would be nice if we could break that 1980 record, for bragging rights anyway.

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