Here it is, the old adage quoted so many times by my father, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
But what if it is?
I take my caramel-making seriously. I have to. They are by far our best seller. Even among those who taste only, perhaps because they are without purchasing power, caramels are at the top of the ranks. So my tools for the process are important. I have to be able to trust them to make a perfect product every time.
I also believe that new is not better and old is not useless. Many of my possessions are older than I am, and some even from more than a century ago. That being said, I have used the candy thermometer for making caramels that was handed down to me by my mother, from her mother, every since I left home. I still have the original box it came in.
You can see this coming.
Not open completely, but the glass protection around the interior mercury cylinder cracked. And no, you can breathe a sign of relief, it wasn't in the caramels when it happened.
Now ensues a search and rescue mission, for a new thermometer. I'm not sure I can trust new, but then what choice do I have. I'm certainly not going to stick my finger in the caramel and see if it's hot enough, not at 245 degrees, I'm not. I like my fingers, thank you very much.
So trust takes time and I wonder how much time, how many batches will it take to make this new thermometer into an old one.
Immediately I harken back to my childhood and that of my children to the wisdom of the Skin Horse. Do you remember his words to the rabbit on how to be real?
"It (won't) happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
I suppose that means I'll have to love it real. Hmmm, we could be in for some serious time standing over the stove to make this happen. You wouldn't happen to have a hankering for some caramels, would you?