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Squeeze the Heat: A Fresh Lemonade Recipe

Once upon a time, people used to declare, “It’s so hot the chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs.” These days, you’re more likely to hear, “It’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.”

Could you? Good Question: the Library of Congress has looked into it, and their answer is, not really, citing Robert L. Wolke’s book, “What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained.” Wolke spent time in Austin, Texas, a few years ago during a heat wave, and he carefully measured the surface temperature of various sidewalks, none of which rose high enough to handle an egg.

He did make an amusing observation, though: “But wait! The roof of one sun-baked, dark blue 1994 Ford Taurus station wagon measured 178 degrees Fahrenheit, more than hot enough to coagulate both white an yolk. And because steel is a good conductor of heat, that temperature could be maintained by heat feeding into the egg from other parts of the roof. Maybe cars, rather than streets and sidewalks, were the way to go.”

With the thermometer pushing 100, however, the last thing I want is a fried egg. What I want is an ice-cold pitcher of lemonade. Santa Maria, the girls, and I made a batch the other day, and it was crisp and refreshing. It’s a timeless remedy for the hot weather. Make yourself some this weekend, and stay cool.


Fresh Lemonade

  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

        Boil the water, and stir it into the sugar to make a simple syrup.
        Juice the lemons.
        Mix the lemon juice with the simple syrup and 3 cups water.
        Garnish with slivers of lemon peel.
        Serve over ice.

Notes: The mix is strong so that when it is poured (room temp) over ice, it doesn't get too diluted. Also, Santa Maria juices the lemons by hand, mashing her fingers deeply into the interior, and squeezing out every last bit so that the lemons yield more than if they were done with a juicer (electric or traditional).

Also, she suggests cutting up the juiced lemons (well scrubbed first please!) into slivers to float on top as a garnish and a fun chewy treat for kids who like tart tastes (again, this is a reason to buy organic, ie if you're kid is going to chew it).

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