The Atlantic

What's So Great About 350 Degrees?

Machines standardize all kinds of behaviors—including how people prepare meals.
Source: Stephen Hird / Reuters

The machines of modern meal-making are tools of considerable precision. This is the age of bluetooth-enabled meat thermometers and smartphone-powered toaster ovens, devices that reflect the idea that food-making is more science than art.

This isn’t new. The latest kitchen machinery merely builds on a longstanding obsession with culinary exactness—a fixation that’s long been shaped by emerging technologies. Microwaves count down by the second. Ovens automatically preheat to 350 degrees with the press of a button.

Or, they seem to, anyway.

In fact, different ovens set to the same temperature can vary by as much as 90 degrees, according to an investigation by Cook’s Illustrated magazine

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