I had a little rant, a while ago, about the bizarre ways some recipes tell us to judge temperatures. https://doctor-dark.co.uk/blog/weird-stuff-in-recipes-part-94/
Many of them involve testing the temperature of hot oil by dropping in a cube of bread, and noting how long it takes to turn “golden”, which is generally described as being around thirty seconds. The size of the cube of bread is rarely, if ever, given. I wonder how many cubes of bread have been wasted in this way? My solution was to buy a cheap electronic thermometer, or perhaps even a quite good one, as the less cheap ones tend to give a reading more quickly.
If you’ve eaten at a commercially run barbecue, for instance, you will have seen the cooks poking a quick reading thermometer into the food, to see if it can safely be eaten, or will cause illness.
I was reminded of this, when I looked up labna/labneh in Claudia Roden’s “The Book of Jewish Food” recently.
The idea of poking your little finger in the food, and trying to keep it there while counting to ten (and how fast?) when the food is hot enough for it to “sting” is somewhat disturbing.
And don’t try this with hot oil! It will do more than just sting…
Roden, C. (1999). The Book Of Jewish Food. New York: Alfred A Knopf, Inc.