Welcome to Advice for Impatient Foodies, R29's new cooking column. Each week, our executive food editor and Impatient Foodie founder Elettra Wiedemann will tackle any and all questions you might have about food. Seriously, no query is too big or too small. And don't be embarrassed! We've all had moments in the kitchen when we had no idea WTF was going on and wished we could ask someone other than Google for some pointers. So whether you need help frying an egg, knowing when your chicken is done, or deciding what to make for dinner, we've got your back.
Cooking shows don't really help us feel more kitchen confident when it comes to chicken and fish. Why? Because the chef will pop a raw dish in the oven, and behind the scenes someone swaps out their raw dish with the perfectly roasted chicken, baked fish, or what have you. If only it was that easy for everyone! Consuming raw or undercooked chicken or fish can have serious health implications, so you have to be sure what you're serving and/or putting in your mouth is cooked through. At the same time, we don't want to be hacking into our food to check for doneness. When it comes to chicken, my best advice is really to buy a meat thermometer. They're inexpensive, quick, easy, and take the guess work (and anxiety) out of cooking. (See here for the temperatures you need to hit to ensure doneness.) And — added bonus — you can use most thermometers on multiple forms of protein, including fish! However, fish has a fun hack I'd like also to share: To check and see if your fish is cooked through, take it out of the oven, place on a flat surface, and insert a knife or toothpick all the way through the flesh. Now quickly pull it out and press it to your lips. Is it warm/hot? Your fish is done! Tepid or cold? Throw it back in the oven for a little longer.