Can I use a meat thermometer if I don’t have a medical thermometer?

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I know what you’re thinking. That’s genius, right? We’re made of meat, after all, so why shouldn’t a meat thermometer be able to measure the temperature of our very own meat?

It can measure your temperature and you don’t have to skewer yourself to get a reading. The trouble is a matter of accuracy.

Now, I have a pretty decent digital meat thermometer, so when I realized that I didn’t have a medical thermometer, I decided to test the meaty one. I carefully placed the end under my tongue and began to worry. The probe is sharp, because it’s meant to spear a roast duck leg, or whatever, and had I fallen over I wouldn’t be typing this now due to my DIY lobotomy.

I did not stumble, but when I checked the temperature, it read 102.5! That’s a lot of Fahrenheit. I knew I didn’t have a fever, because moms know stuff like that, but it seemed pretty clear that the thing had precision rather than accuracy.

Because the tongue business is reeediculous, I repeated the armpit method several times. Each time I got 100 point whatever, which tells me the decimal is there to offer either false confidence or the tiny zing of pleasure we get from watching moving numbers. You’ll be pleased to know that my armpit is a steady 100 point whatever degrees every time. So this meat thermometer is not accurate, but precise.

My new best pal at the pharmacy assures me that thermometers will be coming in any day, but in the meat-time I have an adequate substitute.

Note: do not stick a thermometer anywhere dangerous. Even if they don’t have shattering glass and mercury skittering everywhere, they are delicate instruments for serious people, and cooks, who may or may not be serious.


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