The basic cooking fork is usually made of stainless steel and comes with two longer prongs that are ideal for spearing and moving around foods that are bulky. Often, the handle for the fork is constructed of wood or is a resin coating that has a high tolerance for heat. Typically, the cooking fork will be much longer than the standard fork used at place settings. These allows the cook to easily reach into ovens or pots and quickly move or turn roasts, meat loaves, turkeys and other foods that are in the process of baking or broiling. Versions of this utensil that are meant for use outside for grilling may be anywhere from eighteen to twenty-four inches long.
A cooking fork may go beyond the kitchen and find its way to the serving table as well. Used to hold meat or other foods in place for cutting or carving, the cooking fork will usually be used with the left hand, while the right hand is used to control the knife during the slicing process. The ability to keep the food stationary during the slicing process makes it much easier to carve uniform sections of meat for serving.
While the traditional cooking fork is simply for moving food around during the preparation process, there is a newer version that provides another level of assistance. The thermometer fork has made its mark over the last twenty years, especially since the advent of LCD displays. With a contained electronic display on the upper part of the handle, thermometer forks is a great way to make sure the foods are cooking at the desired temperature, as well as helping to signal when the food is done. Thermometer forks are a great way to help newer cooks get into the swing of preparing meals, since it serves as one more way the nervous cook can check on the status of a new recipe.
Both the traditional stainless steel cooking fork and the newer thermometer fork can be purchased in just about any retail outlet that carries kitchen utensils. While discount models are available that will fit tighter budgets, there are higher quality types that can be found in kitchen shops and boutiques around the country.