Still fascinated by dry heat.
Over the past 30 years, splitting time between Arizona and Chicago, I am constantly reminded of the differences in wet and dry climates. When we were in Michigan recently, my friend Pat served a delicious Dutch bakery blueberry coffee cake for breakfast. Although she warned us it might be dry, I found it moist and tasty. I marveled that it sat on the counter, uncovered, maintaining its moisture. I have a firm rule in our house in Arizona: when taking bread or other pastries from a package, close it up immediately.
What is wrong with the bread?
In the spring of 1991, three-year-old C-boy and I left the cold gray of spring in Chicago for a dose of sunshine and to meet my new niece/his new cousin, Baby Katie, in Arizona. As I prepared sandwiches for lunch before putting Katie down for her nap, C-boy played outdoors, enjoying the respite from the long Midwest winter and getting to know his new cousin. I cut the sandwiches in the favored quarters, garnishing the plates with chips and apples, before setting them on the table outdoors.
“I’ll be right back,” I told C-boy. “I just need to put Baby Katie to bed.”
Katie settled, I was calling C-boy to the table only to discover that the sandwich was dry. Oh no. I had assumed that the bread was fresh.
Testing the next slice in the package for softness, I remade the sandwich. In the few minutes it took my toddler to reach the table, the bread was again dry. What?! [Lynn Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, discounts the interrobang–?! I find it useful and will continue to use it.]
Yes, but it’s a dry heat.
We made a conscious choice to move to the southwest in 1994. To be honest, if the weather had been tolerable in the Chicago area, we probably would have stayed. Repelled the roller coaster weather of Chicago, we followed the carrot of sunshine and dry clime. Dry heat allows perspiration to evaporate cooling the body, making 100o tolerable in the shade. Swimmers experience a chill when climbing out of the pool, although the air can be 110o. Beach towels dry immediately except during the few months known as monsoon when the humidity rises to 40%, a level considered low by Midwesterners. Running through sprinklers while fully clothed in the southwest is acceptable; not only do you feel refreshed, but you will be dry within moments.
The fact that most of our family lives here in Arizona clinched the deal. I love visiting Chicago. And I am always happy there is one day, perhaps cold and gray, perhaps hot and humid, that reminds me why I moved.