America Is So Hot That …

America Is So Hot That …

FROST, Tex. — America is hot. Really hot. So hot that even here in a town named Frost perspiration flows.

Across the sweaty landscape of America, pandas are getting Popsicles, cinnamon rolls are exploding in cars and some people, in an effort to endure the blazing sun, are riding bicycles in their underwear.

New York is expected to be hotter this weekend than New Delhi. Cincinnati is already hotter than Imperatriz, Brazil, and Boston is warmer than Nairobi.

Heat is dangerous, especially for the vulnerable. It also prompts people to do the unusual, like fry eggs on a sidewalk and bake cookies on a car’s dashboard.

There was no frost in Frost, which was named not for its climate but for Samuel R. Frost, a former state lawmaker and judge who is buried nearby. The streets seemed deserted this week. Even the fields looked empty because the cattle were all hiding in the shade.

Frost — a town of about 640 in north central Texas between Dallas and Waco — seemed the perfect place to put the heat to the test. At 5 p.m. Thursday, to the visible dismay of Frost’s citizenry, two strips of hickory-smoked Whataburger bacon and two Grade A eggs were laid on the old asphalt at the corner of East Pace and Garitty Streets, across from Ross Propane and next door to the shuttered City Café.

The temperature was 95 degrees. But after a half-hour, there was no sizzle.

Police vehicles and ambulances suddenly sped by the asphalt breakfast. News was breaking in Frost: A woman going through a dispute with the authorities had abandoned her car in the middle of the town’s main drag and walked home, causing a ruckus. As the sun beat down on the complicated affairs of man and meat, the bacon and eggs after about 90 minutes did not fry so much as lightly, disgustingly bake.

The bacon dried out and got a little crispy. One gooey sunny-side-up egg hardened. The other scrambled itself. The lesson was clear: The bacon and eggs didn’t really fry, but the people watching it certainly did. It was hot in Texas, but not hot enough. Ninety-five degrees, ultimately, was a little mild.

“I wouldn’t want to make light of climate change, or of the real health dangers that accompany a heat wave, but in Texas, a summer day below 100 degrees is as invigorating as an arctic blast,” said Stephen Harrigan, a longtime writer for Texas Monthly and the author of “Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas.”

Kevin Freeman, 37, the owner of City Café and a next-door convenience store, was unimpressed with both the failed bacon-and-eggs experiment and the heat itself. “It happens,” Mr. Freeman shrugged from behind the counter of the store. “It’s Texas.”

My phone said the temperature was 95 degrees in St. Louis but felt like 107. It was baking outside, and so I decided I would try some outside baking.

I picked up some cookie dough, pop tarts and pancake mix. I found a spot in the middle of a parking lot, where there weren’t any tall buildings to shade the view. I laid down foil on the hood of the car, slapped down a piece of butter and waited for it to melt.

First came the pancake mix. I poured it out and waited a half-hour (inside the air-conditioned car, of course). The batter had not so much begun to crackle.

Next I laid a piece of foil on the dashboard, parked my car facing west, and put down a few pieces of cookie dough and a pop tart. I went away for about an hour and a half, and when I came back, it was still raw cookie dough and room-temperature pop tart. About another hour later, same thing.

It seems I was the only thing cooking.

They’ll look a little bit like the one given to a lion in a Melbourne zoo.

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