For our prompt of “Sizzling” today, my mind went to the hottest parts of the summer here in Kansas City where I live. There’s usually a couple of weeks where it’s dangerously hot to be outdoors. So hot, in fact, that people would say you could actually “fry an egg on the sidewalk.” This was only an expression I heard growing up, but I of course wanted to know if it were actually possible. As it turns out, Bill Nye the Science Guy, found the minimum temperature to be 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and it takes approximately 20 minutes. The problem comes in with most light-colored sidewalks that reflect the heat away, so most people on YouTube have chosen metal manhole covers for their urban culinary experiments. It turns out those can get quite hot indeed and will cook an egg much more quickly. While, it’s interesting to know that this saying is indeed true in some cases, I still find it highly improbably that anyone would actually eat a fried egg off of a sidewalk, so it’s still not an optimal cooking surface to be sure. So, I’ll stick with just painting a freshly cracked fried egg instead to avoid any potential health risks.
The truth is, in some parts of the world it gets much hotter during certain months. I remember reading an article where someone slow-baked cookies in her car, using it as an oven. Another thing that’s indeed possible that one might not actually think to do. Things like this are so weirdly fascinating to me because it’s exactly the kind of thing a little kid would find interesting. I thrill to these silly obscure facts and now with the Internet, I no longer have to wonder. If I have a question I can simply ask it and there’s a 100% chance that someone out there had the same question and decided to answer it for me. Though this is certainly convenient and fun, I think I miss those days when I was just left to wonder. So many great ideas can come from sitting and wondering about something. Just thinking about a mystery that has no easy solution, was a joy when I was a kid. In lieu of the actual answer, I would invent my own answers instead. Sometimes wild and fanciful answers and sometimes ones that were likely quite close to the truth. But, I wasn’t after the facts, I was simply chasing a question. My sincere hope in this world of one-click answers is that we all retain the ability to provide our own answers.
In my youth, it was primarily the calculator that was something questionable and making people think less than they should. Today, we have an endless array of options ready to think for us and help us make that next decision, often with just a few spoken words. Convenient to be sure, but equally intriguing to think about what happens to all of those brain cells that are no longer needed. This is indeed why I’m so passionate about supporting the arts and encouraging people to make a little something each and every day. For my own part, I’m still just learning a little tiny bit each day during my little tiny bit of time I have to sketch. I haven’t painted enough fried eggs to paint one from memory yet, so I used three photo references. I’m rather sure if I spent an entire month painting fried eggs, I would become quite excellent at doing so, but that doesn’t sound fun at all. Instead, I’m completely happy with my slow and steady progress. Each day, there’s something new to sketch, something new to ponder, and something new to learn in the process. And it’s strangely comforting to know that someday, if I wanted to, I could actually make my own attempt at frying an egg on the sidewalk.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!