Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 10 Must-have Cooking Tools


8
Thermometer

It's just about dinnertime on Thanksgiving Day and the entire family has gathered around the table, mouths watering for the first taste of that succulent holiday turkey. You take a peek inside the oven and everything looks perfect -- a warm, golden glaze on the outside says it's time to dig in. But when the turkey's carved up, it's quickly clear that something's not right. Undercooked meat has ruined the meal!

With some foods, knowing when they're cooked completely can be a guessing game, especially if you're working with an unreliable or unfamiliar oven. But undercooking meat isn't something to mess around with. Poultry in particular can transfer harmful bacteria if not cooked fully, and many food-borne illnesses can be prevented by ensuring food is cooked to a safe temperature before eating.

Unfortunately it's sometimes hard to tell when something's been cooked all the way through, especially if it looks fine on the outside. That's when a thermometer comes in handy. An instant-read thermometer can quickly tell you a meat's inside temperature. According to the USDA, using a thermometer is the only reliable way to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature, so keeping one in the kitchen is a smart choice.


More to Explore