Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Frugal Cook's Essentials - Digital Thermometer

Welcome to another post in my series on cooking essentials. Just as when you build a house, having the correct tools for your cooking "job" make it easier, more fun, less hassle, and you'll be more happy with the results!

Today I'd like to talk about digital thermometers. I have to admit, I have only owned one for about a year. Before that, I got by with one of those analog meat thermometers, which are very difficult to read. I've also owned one of those "instant read" thermometers from the grocery store. Another analog dial, but much smaller. I could tell when something was within 10 degrees -- not exactly a precise instrument! Lastly, I have my good old candy thermometer, the kind you clip to the side of the pan. It's actually an heirloom, inherited from my husband's great aunt. It's a beautiful instrument, but fragile and has limited use.

The idea for trying a digital thermometer came from watching Alton Brown's episode on fried chicken. My 10 year old son LOVES fried chicken, and also loves watching Alton Brown. After watching that show, he was determined that we should make his favorite dish. The only item we lacked was a good thermometer. None of the thermometers we had would work for the pan frying technique demonstrated on the show. So we started looking.

After searching online, looking in a couple stores, and reading reviews, we ended up with this. I love the flexibility of this instrument! I don't just use it for pan frying. I use it to check my bread doneness, meat doneness, and oil temperature when frying.  It's second kitchen timer, with or without the temperature gauge. You can set the alarm to go off when the probe meets a certain temperature. And I love that the base is magnetic, so I can attach it to my oven or range hood, wherever I need. It has a nice long cord to reach where you need it in your oven.

I'd be lost without this tool! It has taken the guesswork out of my cooking. I highly recommend a tool like this!

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