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When I'm cooking something, say boiling chicken in a pot or less commonly baking it, I may poke, shift, or stir it with a utensil while its cooking. Since it isn't completely cooked, my germaphobia dictates that I put it in the dishwasher and grab a fresh utensil each time, often using 3 or 4 forks during the process (I like to shift and break the meat apart as it cooks). Is this standard practice or is there there a way to use less utensils?

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As the meat should eventually reach a temperature that will kill any germs that may be reintroduced by the utensil, using a new one each time is overkill. Using clean utensils to remove the chicken from the pot and portion it out is a good idea however. You may also wish to place the utensil on a plate in between uses rather than on the counter just to reduce the risk of contaminating anything else you might put there.

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