Note to the kids: "twist in" is an archaic reference we old people use, harkening back to the days when televisions had dials.
I don't cook. The food shows are a simple diversion from the doom and gloom out there. Even dedicated newsies need a break once in a while.
I was lucky, and I never fail to count my blessings. Both of my parents worked, both were good cooks, and both made sure there was a good dinner on the table every afternoon.
Here is where I'm going with this. Those TV people take the temperature of EVERYTHING! We had a thermometer in a drawer. I never saw the folks use it. Yes, I know you need it for specialized applications like candy making, but we never did any of that. My folks knew when something was done by the look, the aroma, the feel, the time, the way they regulated the heat of the oven or under the pan. It always came out fine. No thermometer necessary.
I suspect it's a skill learned from their parents, and their parents before them. Remember, these were the days before ovens with digital controls and state of the art cookware. No easy pots. No microwaves. I can still those big, old coal stoves and giant cast iron pans. I just can't my nana poking a probe in to anything.
You didn't need a thermometer. You just needed to know what you were doing.