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"It's safe to bite when the temperature is right!"
October 11, 2002 6:17 AM   Subscribe

"It's safe to bite when the temperature is right!" "Thermy (TM) is the messenger of a national consumer education campaign designed to promote the use of food thermometers, developed by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)." Have you ever used a food thermometer when cooking at home?
posted by nickmark (32 comments total)

 
Apparently, this adorable little scamp has been around for over two years. First I'd heard of it, though. I guess it's one of those stealth educational campaigns...
posted by nickmark at 6:20 AM on October 11, 2002


Well, yeah. I also use one of these gadgets called a "fork". It's a tool for placing small portions of food more complex than a cheeseburger into your mouth.

By which I mean, if you cook at home, and don't just eat pre-packaged, pre-fab meals, you'd better be using a food thermometer at some points.
posted by yhbc at 6:31 AM on October 11, 2002


All the time. It's less disruptive than cutting a portion of the meat open to check doneness.
posted by Cerebus at 6:36 AM on October 11, 2002


From the FAQ:
Q. This is an important message. Why choose a cartoon character to be the messenger?
A. ...People supported the concept that a messenger would help make learning fun and be attractive to kids. Many times, kids lead the way. They bring new thoughts and ideas home and can help teach the family.


Could this possibly be attractive to children? Hmmm, thermometer = boring, but cartoon thermometer = fun, fun fun!

As a child, I always hated cartoon characters that existed only for promotion. Don't most children?
posted by skryche at 6:39 AM on October 11, 2002


Most of the time I go by feel, I can tell by touch whether most things are done. Chicken, for example, should feel like the fatty part of your palm under your thumb. But for larger things, such as the annual thanksgiving turkey, I use a thermometer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:44 AM on October 11, 2002


By which I mean, if you cook at home, and don't just eat pre-packaged, pre-fab meals, you'd better be using a food thermometer at some points.

Oh. Oh dear ...
posted by walrus at 6:48 AM on October 11, 2002


"Don't forget to bring a towel."
posted by uftheory at 6:50 AM on October 11, 2002


I'm trying to imagine a situation where my child comes home from school and announces, "Mom, you have to use a thermometer!" I can envision this going several different ways, such as me playing the "mommy as the patient teacher" roleTM and we cheerfully go into the kitchen and I demonstrate how to use the thermometer on the family's roast.....nah. More than likely I would just say, "Hon, Mommy has it under control. If you've done your homework go outside and play."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:50 AM on October 11, 2002


I never use a thermometer. There are much cheaper ways to tell when food is done. For chicken and turkey use a wooden skewer, push it fairly deep between body and wing. The moisture that comes out must be clear.
posted by ginz at 6:59 AM on October 11, 2002


Have you ever used a food thermometer when cooking at home?

Doesn't everyone?
posted by crunchland at 7:03 AM on October 11, 2002


I sometimes use a thermometer but more often have, with experience, found other ways to know if my meat is cooked. (When my wife says, "Could I see you in the kitchen please?") Personally, my tastes run toward rare and if you rely on a termometer alone you run the risk of overcooking meat. I think that temperature called for in cooking pork is too high.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:08 AM on October 11, 2002


I use a meat thermometer all the time; it's especially handy for large items such as turkeys, where the breast might be done while the drumsticks aren't quite yet. Thermy, however, makes me want to cry in a corner. Anthropomorphization freaks me out.
posted by headspace at 7:16 AM on October 11, 2002


i use a thermometer, but i sure don't follow those food safety guidelines on the temperature. it might be safe, but it's way overdone if you do.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 7:32 AM on October 11, 2002


My friend's dad has this wicked fork device that you stick in meat when it's on the barbeque/barbecue/Bar-B-Q/BBQ. It has a sliding scale of LEDs that tell you "Rare", "Medium-Rare", etc, all the way up to "Very Well Done". Different lights for chicken, pork, and beef. It works like magic.
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:33 AM on October 11, 2002


I think that temperature called for in cooking pork is too high.

Agreed. It may have been true back in the day when hogs were fed garbage... literally. But now they eat grain and such just like cows, making them far safer to eat... which in turn, means you don't have to cook it until it's dry as a bone or 170-F.

Using a thermometer for everything would certainly be excessive. But for large pieces of meat it's extremely convenient. Use the the kind that stays in the roast with the wire winding it's way outside the oven to the timer. Instead of constantly checking on the meat, you can set the thing to beep at the desired temp (doneness).
posted by Witty at 7:45 AM on October 11, 2002


I've never used a food thermometer and don't see any particular reason for it. It's not THAT hard to tell when something is done.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:49 AM on October 11, 2002


Reason #231 not to eat meat: you don't need Thermy's help to tell when your dinner has been cooked enough not to be infested with bacteria.
posted by gilgamesh at 8:02 AM on October 11, 2002


Never used a thermometer and I doubt it would be useful to me. Cooking every day for a couple years gives you a damn good feel for when something is done.

Uh, Gilgamesh - You can get food poising from vegetables too. Wasn't there just an E-coli outbreak via sprouts?
posted by revbrian at 8:19 AM on October 11, 2002


Or you could learn to cook.
posted by ginz at 8:19 AM on October 11, 2002


Reason #231 not to eat meat: you don't need Thermy's help to tell when your dinner has been cooked enough not to be infested with bacteria

Or you could learn to cook.


(sorry, something went wrong)
posted by ginz at 8:24 AM on October 11, 2002


Reason #231 not to eat meat

oh yeah, it's only meat that can be infested with creepy, crawly, nasty, yucky things.

no, don't worry.. no shocking photos or anything.
posted by crunchland at 8:27 AM on October 11, 2002


You can get food poising from vegetables too

Agreed. Thermy seems to be focused on meat as the primary bacteria transmission vector, though.
posted by gilgamesh at 8:38 AM on October 11, 2002


A little perspective on the food-poisoning issue: Either meat or vegetables can have E.coli, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, etc. ON them (so veggies should be thoroughly washed), but the bacteria all come from the same place - animal feces. And overwhelmingly in this country, they're coming from bad production practices. "Thermy" is a way to shift the responsibility from producers to consumers, to say, "sure, your meat's gonna have fecal matter on it, in it, etc. but if you cook it up real good, you won't notice it!"
posted by soyjoy at 8:42 AM on October 11, 2002


Pigs don't eat grain, they eat OTHER PIGS!
posted by agregoli at 8:55 AM on October 11, 2002


Pigs don't eat grain, they eat OTHER PIGS!

That's because horrible, stupid, greedy people feed them that, just like they feed cows meat.

I love pigs. They're my favourite animal.

I also love pork. Life stinks.
posted by ginz at 9:06 AM on October 11, 2002


I was just pointing out what pigs eat these days. Knowledge is power!
posted by agregoli at 9:20 AM on October 11, 2002


Pigpower!
posted by ginz at 9:50 AM on October 11, 2002


Power to the pigs! Oh, wait, that could be misconstrued...never mind.
posted by agregoli at 10:50 AM on October 11, 2002


I, for one...
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:56 AM on October 11, 2002


MOM, what does "RECTAL" mean on this thermometer?
posted by Eekacat at 12:12 PM on October 11, 2002


"Watch out Thermy, Crypty's on the loose!!"
posted by stinglessbee at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2002


I own a meat thermometer. It's still in the box. However, as I've spent the last 3 days projectile vomiting everything I've tried to eat because of some undercooked chicken I ate on Tuesday, I'm thinking that as soon as I can stomach the thought of eating anything again, the meat thermometer is definitely coming out of the box.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:53 PM on October 11, 2002


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