A few months ago while roaming through Target I came upon their display of fancy overly expensive kitchen gadgets – the kind that have chubby rounded black or red handles and are thus priced two or three times more than their perfectly serviceable but less costly cousins.
What suckers buy such stuff? Erm…….. , well I do have a whisk, a pair of kitchen shears, a manual can opener and a vegetable peeler – all with lovely chubby rounded black handles! 😕
Well, I’m happy to report that I resisted the urge to sample the feel and heft of another gadget for my collection – holding them in your hand, that’s what does it! But next to those items were several of the new meat thermometers that are digital, have batteries instead of mercury tubes and register the temperature almost instantly. They, too, are outrageously expensive.
I have two ancient mercury thermometers that my mother must have bought in the 1940s or 1950s. One of them is so worn that you can hardly read the numbers or type. It takes forever for the mercury to rise.
I used it several times. in the oven with roasts and on the stove with pork chops and chicken thighs. Not only does the temperature appear immediately but it is so much thinner than the old kind, so it makes only a tiny hole in the meat.
Last week I had another occasion to use my new toy. I had a frozen prepared chicken cordon bleu in the oven. It was not pre-cooked so it was important that it reach the proper temperature, 165°F. At the minimum suggested cooking time I pulled the oven shelf out, turned on my fancy new thermometer and stuck it into the cordon bleu. It recorded 158.7°F – so I shoved the shelf back in and shut the oven door, planning to give it a few more minutes – something I had always done in similar circumstances with the mercury thermometers.
It took less than ten seconds before what I had done registered in my little brain! I had left the thermometer with a battery inside in 400°F heat! I immediately opened the oven door and pulled out the shelf, but it was too late. The battery must have exploded, or imploded, and the beautiful surface you can see in the photo above was coal black and all rippled.
Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! 😥