As soon as I brought home my copy of Modernist Cuisine, I was eager to try cooking from it. For one of my first attempts, I had a bunch of friends over for a barbecue and decided to try four or five recipes. The sort of precise cooking this book called for was still new to me, but I carefully weighed and mixed all of the ingredients until, finally, I only had to deep-fry my Brussels sprouts.
I’ve deep-fried on the stove many times, but never had it occurred to me to measure the temperature of the oil (in retrospect, this probably would have saved me from overcooking some meals throughout the years). Relaxing now because I thought the hard work was over, I heated the oil. I then grabbed the only thermometer I owned at the time; a glass analog thermometer that came with a cocktail kit someone gave me. Without thinking, I stuck the glass thermometer in the hot oil, causing it to shatter! Luckily, the thermometer was alcohol-based, not mercury-based.
Naturally, we pulled out a new pot to fill with oil, continuing to make the Brussels sprouts. They were a huge success, as was the rest of the party. In fact, I’m often asked to bring them to potlucks and dinner parties. And now that I have a digital probe thermometer, my Brussels sprouts are even better than that first time. I never have to worry about burnt food or shattered thermometers. It is amazing what a little precision and the right equipment will do.
Judy Oldfield-Wilson, Online Writer