If you’re one of those people who likes to give just ONE, really nice Christmas gift to someone special, please do consider this. The ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking. Disregard the long name, that’s just how amazon markets, with just such long info-bulging product titles. . . . photo from King Arthur Flour. These little gadgets are pricey, I know – about $96 on amazon – but I’m telling you true – you will not regret it if you can afford to buy one. Presumably it will last you for decades. This tool is one of my favorite tools in my cooking arsenal.
Last weekend I was visiting my son’s home and he and his wife, Karen, were busy preparing a lovely dinner. I dutifully sat on a bar stool resting my foot. I’d made a green salad here at home and took along a jar of homemade salad dressing that’s been in my frig for about a month. Making the salad took little time standing on my ailing foot, and once there Karen mixed it up at the last minute.
They were making grilled pork chops, on the indoor (stovetop) grill. Did I mention that they bought a quarter of a Berkshire pig during the summer? From my/Dave’s friend Fay who still helps 4H clubs with raising farm animals near where we live. Powell & Karen are very enamored with the Berkshire meat now and have already requested another one, perhaps a half a pig next time (next summer this will have to be).
The pork chops weren’t very thick, which makes for a bit more tricky and risky cooking time. Powell scoured in a nearby drawer for the meat thermometer and extracted just the wire. No base unit. He went outside, thinking it was in a drawer out by the barbecue. No. Karen finally found it and they gently probed the meat to test the temp. We had a brief discussion about what the temp should be. Their thermometer was telling them it was a lower temp (not done), and as the minutes went by, and the chops got browner and browner, they decided to disregard the probe’s results and serve the pork. Good thing, as the chops were likely past the ideal temp. But they were delicious anyway. Likely the meat probe was faulty.
But it got me to thinking about one of my favorite kitchen tools, the Thermapen. I’ve mentioned it here many times, mostly when my DH was barbecuing and I’d give him instructions about grilling a roast, or chicken, or whatever. I gave it to him as a Christmas gift, I think. Or maybe not – I might have bought it for myself, knowing to ask him to get it for me wouldn’t happen – he’d never have gone to the trouble to look it up online (I have no idea where to buy it in a brick and mortar store). My recollection is that he looked at it and said “huh?” I told him to “trust me.” That was marriage code for the two of us – mostly it was code I said to him, not the other way around, that I knew from which I speak. And sure enough, that little doo-dad became one of his favorite things. I use it for meat, of course, but I also use it to test warmed-up leftovers in the toaster oven, or quick breads, or yeast bread. Even cakes too. The Thermapen is a treasured item in the pockets of many top line chefs. Sous chefs too.
Last year I gave one as a gift to my friend Cherrie, for Christmas. She likely wouldn’t have purchased one at the price they are – I have mentioned, haven’t I, that this tool is expensive? On amazon they’re $96. That’s a heck of a price for a thermometer, I know. There are so many other brands out there at 1/5 the price, or 1/3 the price. But they can’t work as well as the Thermapen. Some months ago Cherrie told me that her husband, Bud, has basically confiscated the Thermapen and it lives out by their barbecue. He kinda-sorta thinks it belong to him now, ever since he began using it last Spring. So Cherrie knows, when she needs it, she has to walk out near the ‘que to find it. They both love it and have thanked me numerous times for it.
So, I’m going to buy one for Powell & Karen for Christmas. Or maybe just for Powell since I’ll bet it’ll live out in their new outdoor kitchen drawers. (Yes, I know, I still need to take photos of my new outdoor kitchen – before I take it all down for the winter.)
So what’s unique about this thermometer? Well, for one, it’s one of those instant-read ones. It does take about 3-4 seconds for the temp to settle in and reach temp, but that’s about as instant as you can get, but it is very legible on the big screen. Another nice thing is that when you fold the probe against the base, it turns off automatically. Press in? Off. So much better than most of the others that require you to press a itty-bitty tiny button to shut it off. Or, what if you forget and leave it on. One of my older probes has a boxy base and it’s not easy replacing the batteries in it. Hated that one. It was cheap. No wonder.
The Thermapen can fit in a shirt pocket or a pants pocket – just don’t forget it there and send it through the washing machine – that’d likely finish it off. It’s big enough you’re not likely to forget it’s there. You can’t drop the unit in water – that’s a no-no, but when it is time to clean it, open the probe and just rinse and/or wipe off with a soapy sponge. Fold back the probe and into the drawer it goes. Mine is now about 4 years old, I think, and the battery is still going strong.
Update on me: my doctor says my foot is better. She pressed and probed with her thumb in my heel/foot and I didn’t jump off the table in pain, so now I’m doing daily exercises (several). She also gave me another cortisone shot, and that has helped also. You can have 3 in a year. My funky bright tennis shoe is all I wear on that foot. They’re Brooks brand. Brooks Women’s Glycerin 11 Running Shoes, Color: Aqrs/DrsdnBlu/Blk/Slv/ShckOrng. That’s a link on amazon for the shoe in case you’re interested. I was going to take a photo of my electric blue shoe, just to give you all a laugh, but I’m too lazy. My doctor glanced at the shoe sitting on the floor next to the exam table and said – wow, you have the very best athletic shoes out there – good for you. I go to a shoe store that specializes in comfortable shoes, called Comfort Shoe Loft, on El Toro Rd in Lake Forest, CA, in case anyone wants to know. The owner there is the one who sold me these shoes telling me that for plantar fasciitis, this was the best shoe out there. (And I have a very high, firm arch support in it as well.) It’s nice to have the doctor confirm that claim. Anyway, I still have months to go before my heel is well, but the doctor gave me some suggestions – space out my outings over the course of the day – don’t do a marathon of errands. That’s do-able. Do the exercises several times a day and finish with rolling my foot over a frozen water or juice bottle to help chill-out any inflammation caused by the exercises. Also do-able. Also to take an anti-inflammatory if I wake up and my foot is squawking at me more than usual – but take just one, just one day. Okay. Do-able. She also told me – when I asked – to NOT push through the pain. She said that could reverse all the healing I have done. She said in this case when my foot squawks, it IS telling me something – that I need to go home and rest. It’s been 3 1/2 months of this – I know well how to do that part. Not that I’m happy about it, however.
Oh, and I thought I should mention a disclaimer – when you click on an amazon link in my posts, it takes you to amazon through a different portal (called amazon associates), but if you should buy a Thermapen, I earn a few cents. Most months I never even reach their minimum threshold, so it’s been rare that I ever “make” anything from amazon sales. But it might keep my website up for awhile longer . . .obviously these links are a marketing tool well used by bloggers. I wouldn’t do this unless I recommended the product as I am with the Thermapen and my athletic shoes.