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Unfiltered Story #240621

, | Unfiltered | July 29, 2021

My mother passed away when I was a teenager, and while I always helped out in the kitchen before, I pretty much took over preparing meals afterwards to make things easier for my father while he was at work. A few years later, he had to retire due to health problems, and we more or less went back to being kitchen co-captains, but after a while I noticed something odd: just about every time he made pork, it was undercooked.

This was a bit of a problem, because one of our most economical grocery purchases was a big piece of frozen pork loin that could be cut into three or four dinners’ worth, and we often ended up eating up late due to it having to go back in the oven. It eventually got to the point where my brothers would make plans to go out and eat with friends if they saw the pork defrosting. Now, I personally didn’t mind as much, since I was A) kind of a night owl anyway and B) as thrifty as my father (I hated wasting food and loved having leftovers), but I also was mystified by what could possibly be going wrong, since it turned out fine when I cooked it…

I finally found out when Dad came into the kitchen one evening while I was preparing dinner, chopping potatoes and waiting for the oven to preheat. Without a word, he put the pork in the oven and set the timer before it had even reached 100 degrees! When he straightened up and caught my baffled expression, his only explanation was that he felt it took too long for it to reach 400. Now, our old stove did take a while to heat up, but still, he never seemed to realize that by trying to ‘save’ 20 or so minutes, that time and more got added onto the end of things because we had to make sure the pork as at a safe temperature to eat! Even stranger was the fact that it was ONLY the pork that he’d been doing this with; he was perfectly content to wait for, say, chicken thighs to go in at 375.

Dad’s usually a bit stubborn, but I guess I was able to get him to see the flaw in his logic, because he let me take over cooking the pork until we got a new stove. Moral of the story: preheating IS important, folks!

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