A Holiday Gift That Shows You Care

— Written By Katrina Levine

Nothing says “I care about you” like giving a thermometer for a holiday gift.

No, seriously.

A few years ago, after I started working in food safety, I had this brilliant idea to get my family members food thermometers as a perfect holiday gift. I thought that surely, as much as they heard me talk about the importance of food safety and thermometer use, they would see how thoughtful of a gift it was and would use it no less than at every meal. I may have detected a faint eye roll when my sister opened her gift Christmas day, but maybe it was just my imagination…?

Despite the barely imperceptible eye roll, my sister actually uses her thermometer a lot. As a mother of two, it is her mission to do everything she can to protect her kids and family, especially when it comes to food. I often get texts from her with food safety questions about things like past-date foods, when to toss leftovers, and even once she asked about a mysteriously moldy log of goat cheese purchased only a few days before. We’re still not sure why it molded so quickly, but I told her to toss it.

At weekly family dinners, she’ll pull out their thermometer to check everything from chicken nuggets for the kids to salmon for the adults (and sometimes the kids, if we could convince them “pink fish” was tastier because it was pink). After a little while, she stopped asking me what the right temperature was. Either she committed them to memory or consulted the fridge magnet I gave her from the FDA, which my 8-year-old niece uses as a “menu” when she plays restaurant.

Meanwhile, my parents are still catching on, and they still need some reminders but are getting the hang of it.

Even though they still think of me somewhat as the food police now (I’m also a registered dietitian), they understand that the reason I bought them thermometers is not because I think they’re terrible cooks, but because they are so important to me and I want to do everything I can to keep them safe.

Think about the people in your lives that matter. Do they have a way to check the temperature of their food? Consider giving them one of the best because-I-care-about-you gifts I can think of – a food thermometer.

For more holiday food safety tips (and gift ideas), follow @SafePlatesFSIC on Facebook and Twitter, and @safeplates_ncsu on Instagram.

Photo by George Dolgikh from Pexels.com (public domain)