Preheat the hatchback to 400 degrees Fahrenheit . . .
You've probably heard the old saw, "It's so hot you can fry an egg on the pavement." And you may even have sneaked an egg from the refrigerator at least once to try the messy heat test.
My co-workers and I wondered what else could be cooked in the heat. We knew about sun-brewed tea, of course, but thought the car might offer unthought-of options as a summertime oven. After all, who hasn't felt like they were roasting when climbing into a sun-drenched, heat-enclosed car?
Cookies seemed like a logical choice: What could be more
simple than mixing up a batch of chocolate chips -- following the recipe on the back of the bag -- and setting them out on a baking sheet in my car on a 90-degree-plus day?
Don't pour the milk yet, though.
The cookies, which were lightly golden after 30 minutes, were, well, strange. After removing the tin with oven mitts -- it was that hot -- and transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool, I noticed they were mere shells. There were no insides! They had puffed up and out but mysteriously the rest of the cookie had evaporated.
Seeing is believing, and my fellow editors got a few chuckles out of the mutant snack -- but they agreed the cookies didn't taste that bad.
Would you serve them to your kids' friends, though? Perhaps my helper, 2-year-old Alex Drees, summed it up best when offered one: "Oooooh. NO."
@ Earlier this summer, Janet Paul wrote to advise us -- in no uncertain terms -- that the best way to beat the heat was to stop talking about it.
We didn't listen back then; after all, what's left to say on the elevator if you put the heat off limits? But now, Ms. Paul, we're with you. With the arrival of Labor Day weekend, we declare the summer over. Done. Finis. Kaput.
And so what should you do if it stays hot through September? Bake cookies in your car. Make ice-cube necklaces. Drink plenty of fluids. Try every snowball stand in Baltimore. Don't go out in the midday sun.
Just don't ask, "Hot enough for you?"