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My husband thinks he's a great cook. He's not

My husband thinks he's a master chef, but he always cooks meat and fish too rare or way too much. It's annoying yet harmless when it's just us, but embarrassing when we're cooking for a crowd. Is there a simple way to set him straight?

Tell him to do what Eric Ripert, the chef at New York's Le Bernardin and probably the best fish cook on the planet, does; this method is one of the simplest. Just insert a thin metal skewer into the thickest part of the fish or meat for 10 seconds and then touch it to the skin below your bottom lip. Fish is perfectly cooked when the skewer comes out just warm, overcooked if it's hot.

A warm skewer from steak means the meat is medium-rare; borderline hot is medium. Any hotter than that and you might as well eat cardboard.

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Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist.

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