This weekend was filled with temperature woes.
Last night we were baking meat loaf. After the prescribed amount of cooking time, we took it from the oven and sat staring at it, trying to ascertain via meat loaf telepathy if it was done or not. That didn’t work so I had to think of something else.
I could always just slice into the thing and see if it “looks” done. Alton Brown would have a heart attack at that kind of amateur method. He’d tell me to invest in a high-end probe thermometer. I’d prefer the instant read thermometers he just points at the food, but I suppose we’re trying to check the interior temperature of the meat loaf, not the surface.
As it was, all we had was a cheap grocery store meat thermometer. We stuck it in the top and watched the red line slowly grow taller. And then we waited some more. And waited. And waited. Apparently we need to invest a better thermometer because it was kind of like watching grass grow. By the time the thermometer actually read the correct temperature, it was far too late to consider putting it back in to cook some more. Luckily it was done and we got to sit down to some not-so-Good Eats.
A far worse temperature woe was related to our three sick children. What started as mere runny noses quickly turned into hoarse coughing, warm foreheads and lots and lots of crying.
The twins felt hot when I held them, so I pulled out our trusty grocery-store quality human thermometer (as opposed to the meat loaf variety). I turned it on and it turned itself off. Apparently the battery was kaput. So I went to the store and bought another one. (I never liked that thermometer anyway, and the new one only cost $3. Win-win, right?)
It gave us a reading of about 97.9 for one of the twins, who was burning up, so I knew right away this was going to be about as useful as trying to get them to take their cough syrups. The package boasted that the thermometer was “clinically accurate”—I’m just glad I don’t attend a clinic with accuracy like that. Things were crazy so I never bought another thermometer but tried to gauge their health by other factors.
When I finally took them in to the pediatrician’s office yesterday, they both had temperatures over 100 degrees. I felt bad as only a conscience-laden parent can that I hadn’t taken them in sooner and/or given them more regular doses of Ibuprofen.
Meat loaf and “clinically accurate” thermometers were not the worst of our worries, however. On Friday, Joseph was standing on a step stool at Grandma’s house when he slipped and lost his balance. He tried to steady himself by putting his arm directly onto a hot pan on the stove. Moments later, as I was trying to get his arm under some cold water, his screams and the skin that was already peeling off his arm told me this was a pretty bad burn.
At least I didn’t need a thermometer to tell me that.