Meat thermometers use a probe and either a digital or dial readout to display the temperature of meats and other hot food items. Some dial models even have certain food items, like ham, beef and turkey, displayed next to the temperature that food needs to reach in order to be done. When using a meat thermometer, it is important that you place the needle into the center of the thickest part. The tip of the needle is the only part that actually “reads” the temperature, so the amount of needle inserted is not important. Make sure that the needle does not go all the way through and contact the cooking surface or that it is not touching bone, this will give a false reading. You can also use meat thermometers to check the temperature of soups, stews or other hot food items that are in a warmer. Before taking the reading, however, you will want to stir the soup because the items on top will be cooler than those on the bottom, so stirring will produce an accurate overall temperature. The temperature on hot food items held in a warmer should be checked every two hours to make sure it is still above 140 degrees.