Letters From the Editor

Short-Term Memory

Recently I was faced with a crisis. Not a major crisis, but one where skill and memory were of utmost importance. This steak is supposed to be cooked to temperature, but the thermometer reads 40 degrees, though it’s cooked, ready, even, even edible, possibly. What! What?

The thermometer is broken. There’s no way to fix it. Dinner is doomed. The steaks, doomed to overdoneness.

WAIT. I just read something about this.
Just immerse the thermometer in a slurry of ice water (boiling calibration is not necessary), being careful not to touch the container and, using a pair of needle-nose pliers, adjust the screw on the underside of the dial face until it reads 32 degrees.

Cook’s Illustrated, January–February 2004, pg. 31.
I remembered, I retrieved the issue of the magazine, and the meal was saved. Er, saved to a better fate than mere cooking skill would’ve left it.

Some weeks before, I saw a sign above a toilet with funny quips and ‘Didja Knows?’
You forget 80% of what you learn in a day

– Williamsburg bar restroom, February 2004
Ha! That 20 percent must be the part that’s worth remembering.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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