Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's the most important kitchen tool?


The thermometer?

It makes sense. Check out this article from the Orange County Register. The premise is that thermometers are essential because they tell you when food is cooked. With that information, you avoid foodborne illness.

Of course, the highest tech thermometer in the world won’t save you if you don’t follow proper cleaning steps. Avoid cross contamination, work only on clean surfaces and always wash your hands.

I don’t eat meat, so I don’t worry about getting sick from undercooked food. But I use a thermometer all the time. I use it to keep fry oil at an even temperature, which allows me to make crispy French fries or fried “chicken” (seitan or tofu) without starting a fire. I stick it in baked goods to see if they’re done rather than guess with the old see-if-the-fork-comes-out-clean trick.

I actually wish I had an oven thermometer because the oven in my apartment is ancient. There’s a strange array of knobs on the backsplash, but I have no idea what they do – or if they even work – because they’re caked over with years of gross, gross grease splatter. Apparently, none of the previous residents of the apartment ever heard of a splatter screen.

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