a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Dec, 2017

Gifts for people who have everything, part 6: A wee gadget that might be the tiniest bit insulting

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

This past month I’ve mentioned a few items that might make that special someone a nice Christmas gift: mittens, gifts that help break the cycle of poverty, an air plant, home cooked meals made via Supperworks, and the gift of an experience.

I wanted to share another idea with you in case you’re still looking for a little something: A digital, instant-read cooking thermometer. Mark received this one from Lee Valley for Father’s Day and it’s become our secret weapon for juicy and perfectly cooked meats.

We used to have an old-fashioned meat thermometer with a dial on the top. In fact, we had a bunch because we kept buying new ones because we weren’t happy with the old ones. They’re all the same. You stick it in, pray you don’t hit bone, and watch as it slowwwwly tells you whether your entree is raw in the middle and whether the rest of your side dishes will dry out while you wait.

I’ve found our new digital thermometer to be handy for all kinds of foods, especially when I’m frying up chicken burgers or sausages on the stove, which always tend to look done to me but really aren’t. ALSO, I don’t ever want to eat undercooked chicken or pork. I’ve also used it while making yogurt. Getting the milk hot enough without it boiling over is critical.

The thermometer is easy to clean and folds away neatly. We’ve been using ours so much that we don’t bother putting it in the drawer anymore. It’s got a magnet on the back so its new home is on the side of the toaster, within arm’s reach of the oven.

But here’s the thing. This is not exactly a traditional gift. What’s worse, giving a digital thermometer may even be dangerously misinterpreted. For example, you might think you’re doing a kindness by giving one to your parents or inlaws but they may end up being insulted. The last thing you want on Christmas morning is a mother-in-law in tears because she thinks YOU think she can’t cook a turkey. So, it’s your call. :)

p.s. Speaking of turkey, you MUST watch this quick little video that shows the best way to carve a turkey. It’s genius.

5 Responses to "Gifts for people who have everything, part 6: A wee gadget that might be the tiniest bit insulting"

1 | Alison in Ottawa

December 17th, 2017 at 1:59 pm


An essential thing for any kitchen!! We love ours.

2 | andrea tomkins

December 17th, 2017 at 8:06 pm


I agree that this is definitely a kitchen essential!

3 | Heather

December 17th, 2017 at 11:08 pm


Andrea, thanks for this tip! I see a trip to Lee Valley in the near future.

4 | andrea tomkins

December 18th, 2017 at 7:43 am


You’re welcome Heather. I love Lee Valley! They have all kinds of great gadgets there! Happy shopping!

5 | Amy

December 20th, 2017 at 9:48 pm


Yes! We recently started using ours to BBQ chicken and steak (we were notorious for overcooking) and have had perfectly done meat since. I’m definitely converted.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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