I decided to clean out a drawer yesterday. Just one. I called it my Pompeii Drawer because the dust resembled something like a volcanic eruption, not just a neglected Spare Parts Kitchen Drawer. In the drawer I found a meat thermometer. On the meat thermometer was a hook like the hook on a mechanical pencil. In my curiosity, I accidentally broke off the hook thing, but it made me wonder, "Do people really wear these around? Do meat thermometers always come with hook things so that at any given moment, I could pull it out of my pocket and measure the temperature of some meat? I don't know if I'd have room for it and my Texas Instruments calculator...." I have used my meat thermometer one time in 41 years. That is why it is in the Pompeii Drawer. I will probably never use it again. It made a perfectly fine turkey dinner into a nightmare.
I planned to use up everything I could in my chest freezer. The turkey seemed to linger as the meal that most needed to be made. Maybe because we weren't close to a single holiday when turkey is appropriate, the first week of February seemed like as good a time as any. I dutifully defrosted the turkey in the refrigerator. I stuck the turkey in the oven at 2 pm. By 6:30, surrounded by a starving family, I decided to call it done. On a whim, I also decided that tonight would be the first night I would try out a meat thermometer. 155 degrees. Sounded hot. According to the meat thermometer, however, I was well away from the recommended 180 degrees needed for "poultry." Back in the oven went the turkey. I called two friends: "Do they really mean 180 degrees? What if it's been in the oven for 4 1/2 hours?" I turned the oven to 400. I fed the family vegetables and bread. I checked the turkey. 165 degrees. Now it was time to pray. "Please don't let my family die eating this." They ate, they lived, my husband stuck the turkey back in the oven, I found it several hours later and threw it away.
I have a little more space in my freezer now.