Author Topic: Measurement conversions for Generation Y  (Read 4355 times)

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« on: September 23, 2013, 09:52:32 PM »

Those of us who pre-date the X Generation probably learned how to cook without the benefit of celebrity chefs and "recipes". To some of us, a "recipe" is a list of ingredients, not measurements. Our parents and grandparents, when imparting their knowledge of cooking, searched for terms that had some sort of meaning, regardless of how vague.

In Wofy's thread on a basic baking mix, Moe brought up the difficulty in trying to document a mixture that was never constructed in the precise terms upon which a technologically oriented person has come to rely.

Soooo?.Here's Ol' P's quick and dirty reference for those who require precise measurements.

    Tad - 1/8th teaspoon
    Dash - 1/8th teaspoon
    Pinch - 1/2 of a dash (1/16th tsp)
    Smidgen (smidge, for short) - 1/2 a pinch (1/32nd teaspoon)
    Drop - 1/76th of a teaspoon
    Hint - a trace

When it comes to other larger measurements, it gets a little tricky.
A "scoop" can be anywhere from 1 cup, to 2 ? cups. Depends upon the size of the scoop. Duh?

But terms like "palm full" can be better approximated, even though different cooks have different sized palms. With the palm cupped, a goodly portion of ingredient that fills the palm is around a Tablespoon. 1/3 that amount is a Teaspoon.

It would behoove someone who is serious about learning to cook (and not just read recipes) to get a feel for the stuff that goes into a dish. Get out the measuring spoons, measure out a teaspoon of salt, and pour it into your palm. Look at it. Understand it. That's what a teaspoon of anything (dry or liquid) looks like in the palm of your hand. Now do that with a Tablespoon measure. Same thing. Get used to it.  It won't take very long before your measuring spoons are gathering dust in the drawer.

Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline wolfy

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 10:04:41 PM »
 :thumbsup: Reminds me of my Grandma O. giving her recipe for molasses cookies over the phone to Mom one time, years ago.  Most everything was in handfuls, pinches, etc., but the measurement for the molasses itself was measured by the number of 'glugs' from the bottle. :shrug: :lol:

Oh yeah,.....and a 'lump' of butter is the size of a hen egg :P




I ripped this off from my 'Flour Barrel' thread, where The Professor was talking about the same method for building a quick bread.   These are his words on the subject......

Another way to make a basic mix was all measured "by hand."  Use one mounded hand full of flour, a 5-finger pinch of sugar, a 4-finger pinch of baking powder, and a 3-finger pinch of salt.  Use enough water to make a dough, then shape the dough into biscuits on a floured corner of a canvas tent flap!  Don't worry about shortening; just bake your biscuits in a frying pan with a little bacon grease.

Keep those "flour barrel" recipes coming!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 10:16:32 PM by wolfy »
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 10:20:03 PM »
:thumbsup: Reminds me of my Grandma O. giving her recipe for molasses cookies over the phone to Mom one time, years ago.  Most everything was in handfuls, pinches, etc., but the measurement for the molasses itself was measured by the number of 'glugs' from the bottle. :shrug: :lol:

Oh yeah,.....and a 'lump' of butter is the size of a hen egg :P




I ripped this off from my 'Flour Barrel' thread, where The Professor was talking about the same method for building a quick bread.   These are his words on the subject......

Another way to make a basic mix was all measured "by hand."  Use one mounded hand full of flour, a 5-finger pinch of sugar, a 4-finger pinch of baking powder, and a 3-finger pinch of salt.  Use enough water to make a dough, then shape the dough into biscuits on a floured corner of a canvas tent flap!  Don't worry about shortening; just bake your biscuits in a frying pan with a little bacon grease.

Keep those "flour barrel" recipes coming!
I read that post by the Professor and went, " :thumbsup: Right on!"
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2013, 10:47:35 PM »

  Dang,  it's nice to know I'm not the only one.   :)
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Offline Professor

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2013, 09:05:18 AM »
:thumbsup: Reminds me of my Grandma O. giving her recipe for molasses cookies over the phone to Mom one time, years ago.  Most everything was in handfuls, pinches, etc., but the measurement for the molasses itself was measured by the number of 'glugs' from the bottle. :shrug: :lol:

Oh yeah,.....and a 'lump' of butter is the size of a hen egg :P

Here's a little of my back story:  My wife majored in Home Ec in college and taught me the history of Fannie Farmer and "level measurement."  The idea was to measure consistently so that the recipe would be repeatable and turn out exactly the same again and again.

I was a physics major in college, and so coverting units and measuring are part of my professional training:  I even published an article about a convenient way of measuring magnetostriction a few years ago that maybe 10 or 11 people world-wide have read!

All that said, I began measuring shortening with the "lump the size of a hen's egg" because I was lazy and hated to wash measuring cups after they had been filled with greasy shortening.  I would scoop up  some on the back of my wooden spoon (much to my wife's chagrin) and drop it in the bowl.  End result: I couldn't tell a bit of difference in the taste of the final product, because most measurements are not that critical anyway.

When I am bored sometime next winter, I want to try this:

Using my wife's digital electronic balance, weigh out 30 or more "5-finger pinches" of sugar and calculate the mean and standard deviation in grams.  Convert these measurements to teaspoons and see how these measurements compare to Betty Crocker's way of making biscuit dough.

Then again, maybe I'll just make up some biscuits and put on another pot of coffee...



I ripped this off from my 'Flour Barrel' thread, where The Professor was talking about the same method for building a quick bread.   These are his words on the subject......

Another way to make a basic mix was all measured "by hand."  Use one mounded hand full of flour, a 5-finger pinch of sugar, a 4-finger pinch of baking powder, and a 3-finger pinch of salt.  Use enough water to make a dough, then shape the dough into biscuits on a floured corner of a canvas tent flap!  Don't worry about shortening; just bake your biscuits in a frying pan with a little bacon grease.

Keep those "flour barrel" recipes coming!
I read that post by the Professor and went, " :thumbsup: Right on!"
...and I'll see you soon!

Offline madmax

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2013, 09:47:40 AM »
Hahahahaha!  Great thread.

 :)
At least it's not a femur through the pelvis.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 12:39:56 PM »
...
When I am bored sometime next winter, I want to try this:

Using my wife's digital electronic balance, weigh out 30 or more "5-finger pinches" of sugar and calculate the mean and standard deviation in grams.  Convert these measurements to teaspoons and see how these measurements compare to Betty Crocker's way of making biscuit dough....

I think we've just witnessed a new definition of 'anal retentive'......
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 01:26:05 PM »
Well how much is a "boat load"?  Is it more than a schit load?
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 01:38:56 PM »
Well how much is a "boat load"?  Is it more than a schit load?
A Boat Load in enough to fill a small freight canoe. A Schit Load is enough to fill your standard sized manure shovel.

(Actually, I have no freakin' idea.)
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 01:46:25 PM »
Like this? :D

Skip ahead to 8:30.


Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Measurement conversions for Generation Y
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 02:35:14 PM »
Like this? :D

Skip ahead to 8:30.


Yep!! Justin Wilson is my main man! LOVED that guy! Ain't no dish that ain't better with enough wine! More better that way!
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!