Yes, I know, It looks like a paper clip stuck through a wine cork, and it is, but it is so much more. I noticed a friend of mine using this to temp his roast while I was working the pasta station at D’amico Cucina in the Chambers hotel a couple years back. I liked his idea and ran with it. Curiously enough, I ran across an old Fredy Girardet book that mentioned him using a metal cake tester for all sorts of things. BINGO, the ultimate culinary tool took form in my mind. Some of its uses:
A Low Tech Thermometer:
Unlike an analog thermometer, the paper clip conducts heat almost instantly, simply place it to the tip of your tongue or lip to feel how warm something is. When it feels slightly warmer than body temp, it should be about 110 degrees F, which is the perfect temp I outline in my quick overview of roasting meat. Example
Stick it in a piece of fish to test if it is done, it should slide in cleanly with no resistance, if you are cooking a fish that needs to be cooked medium or lower, simply treat it like a piece of beef, when it is just warm, it is about 110 degrees, or rare.
When cooking any vegetable, simply stick it in, if it goes in with no resistance, they are properly cooked through, use this to make sure that any vegetables you may pre-cook are properly blanched through, if not, they will blacken and create botulism. (Potentially)
All purpose souffle and cake tester:
If the paper clip comes out clean, with no egg particles sticking to it, it is done.