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If your in a pinch


chefvic123
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If your in a pinch and don't have your measuring cup remember 384 pinches equal one cup. You can check the accuracy of your pinch by using a fractional cup and calculate the proper number of pinches. I bet everyones grandmother (who was always a good cook according to family legend) could do it.

No, I have not been very busy today. Thanks for asking.

If you're still reading, how many dashes make a cup?

Edited by chefvic123 (log)
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So one dash equals half a pinch? Funny, doesn't seem very Italian (not that that's relevant).

In my grandmother's version of Yiddish, a pinch was referred to as a "shit" -- from schut? or something like that in German. But it was always great fun to tell somebody a recipe: "You give a shit salz..."

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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On a more serious note, if I'm not being too staid here, I recently spent fifteen minutes or so finding out what else in my kitchen equals a cup and a half cup and a quarter cup. For instance, my large soup ladle holds exactly a cup, each of one set of ramekins also holds a cup, another set of tiny bowls holds exactly one quarter of a cup and I have small sauce dishes that hold an eighth of a cup - good to know for mis en place and when filling jars and such.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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A very good thought to measure common items you have in the kitchen. I will check mine in the next day or so.

And Sue, thank your mother for the new acryonm S.H.I.T. I hope she is still around to tell her it means Sure Happy It's Thursday.

Have a great new year.

Edited by chefvic123 (log)
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For my birthday, my mother-in-law gave me a set of measuring spoons: pinch, dash, and smidgen. I love the smidgen one especially. :laugh:

Edit disclosure: spelling fun

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It's worth bearing in mind that there's quite a bit of variation in the sizes of measuring cups. The food magazines test this once in awhile and the range can be +/- 20% as I recall -- sometimes even worse when it comes to measuring spoons. I'm not sure what the best method of testing accuracy would be (maybe by weighing a vessel on a digital scale, and then weighing it filled with water?) but before you try to figure out how much everything in your kitchen holds it's worth first acquiring some confidence in your benchmark.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For my birthday, my mother-in-law gave me a set of measuring spoons: pinch, dash, and smidgen. I love the smidgen one especially.  :laugh:

Edit disclosure: spelling fun

Just received these as a gift:

dash = 1/8 teaspoon

pinch = 1/16 teaspoon

smidgen = 1/32 teaspoon

That's definitive according to Restoration Hardware.

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Second nature to some of us now, I'm sure, but never hurts:

It's also helpful to find out what your "natural" measurements are (no, not those!). What I mean is:

-- when you gloop a little EVOO in the pan -- how much is it?

-- when you do a three-fingered salt grab for seasoning a fish filet or brightening a stew -- 1/4 teaspoon? 1/2?

-- how much water is in the pot when you decide it's full enough for pasta?

I also practiced running tap water for one cup, two cups and so forth, just to see how close I could estimate (leftover from bartender training -- how long a pour is one ounce, one-and-a-half, and so forth).

Knowing things like these has saved me time by not having to reach for the measuring spoon/cup all the time. For instance, if I need to reduce to 1/4 cup, I know what that looks like because I roughly know the volume of 2T of oil.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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i think, generally, it's better to measure in weight than volume. (thanx go to robert schonfeld) but that's a very european way of seing it, as we're using the meter-system (no ", ', ounces, cups etc.). it's all based on the properties of water, and coherent, really.

"natural" measurements are helpful, too. one wise suggestion on egullet was to find out how a teaspoon of salt looked if poured on the palm of your hand. that way you'll learn how much to grab, without the need of measurement tools that allways disappear, anyway. and the amount of oil to use: well, how big is your pan, and what are you using the oil for? half an inch deep or surface only just covered? use common sense and eyes. (thanx go, i think, to nigel slater)

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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People tend to forget the correlation of a pinch to the pressure applied by the fingers. An accurate pinch is based on a tensional torque of 12-15 inch/lbs. - any pressure below this will cause excess granules to cling making for a more generous amount then intended.

Thus explaining why Grandma's Red Sauce gets saltier as she gets older

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Extensive testing (meaning I measured a bunch of people in my office) led me to conclude that on almost everyone's first finger, the first joint equals 1 inch. Comes in really handy when you're trying to decide how long to cook a piece of fish.

Of course, the first joint of your middle finger would be about the same, but asking people to show me their middle fingers would have skewed the sample.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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I think this thread proves that we don't need no high-faluting, hoity-toity "Symposium" in order to have a serious, intelligent, and brisk dialogue about cutting-edge gustatory issues.

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>>i think, generally, it's better to measure in weight than volume

I've been in a baking class, and told that a pint of water, or ANY liquid equals a pound. So, if a recipe calls for 10lbs of water, it's 5 quarts. I asked about how to convert 10 lbs of oil, but got no answer. Or was told that 10lbs of feathers is the same as 10lbs of lead. Yes, but not when you're converting it to quarts, and doing away with the weights. So, 10lbs of water is 5 qts. How much is 10lbs of oil? 10 lbs. of honey? My teacher had NO idea why I was asking. Go figure. Basically, I got the idea to just shut up.

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The answer: It all depends on the "specific gravity" of the liquid in question.

The specific gravity of water is one (1) If your liquid in question weights twice as much as an equal volume of water the specific gravity in this case is two (2).

If the specific gravity of a liquid or material is less than one (1) the liquid or material will float in water.

Oil floats on water. Hence, the specific gravity is less than one (<1)

If the specific gravity is, say .5, a quart (which is a volume measure) would weight sixteen (16) ounces.

Get the idea?

Edited by chefvic123 (log)
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>>I've been in a baking class, and told that a pint of water, or ANY liquid >>equals a pound.

>The above is flat WRONG! (See preceeding post)

Well, yeah, that's why I asked my question. (See preceeding question).

So, there's no rule of thumb on the oil/water/honey issue. Nevermind. I'll measure/weigh them myself.

Edited by elyse (log)
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Great! If you only knew the specific gravity it is done easy on a calculator.

But to find out the specific gravity your self you would have to know the volume and weight. Your empiracal method will work just fine. I hope you share your findings.

I have taught too long to answer a question. :biggrin: But I will help you find out.

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Second nature to some of us now, I'm sure, but never hurts:

It's also helpful to find out what your "natural" measurements are (no, not those!). What I mean is:

-- when you gloop a little EVOO in the pan -- how much is it?

-- when you do a three-fingered salt grab for seasoning a fish filet or brightening a stew -- 1/4 teaspoon? 1/2?

-- how much water is in the pot when you decide it's full enough for pasta?

I also practiced running tap water for one cup, two cups and so forth, just to see how close I could estimate (leftover from bartender training -- how long a pour is one ounce, one-and-a-half, and so forth).

Knowing things like these has saved me time by not having to reach for the measuring spoon/cup all the time. For instance, if I need to reduce to 1/4 cup, I know what that looks like because I roughly know the volume of 2T of oil.

That's it!

We use a scale for pastry excursions, but otherwise we eyeball it.

And we did exactly as Dave suggests. We took out our measuring cups and threw various quantities into various pans. Actually, it was so long ago I had fogotten we did it.

But it all comes with experience. Cook day in, day out, year after year, and the confidence level builds.

And so your reduction is one tablespoon off? Rarely makes a big difference for the home cook.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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