Author Topic: An Adult Should Really Know This - Silly Things You've Had to Tell People  (Read 301868 times)

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Ereine

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Most of my sewing and measuring things include both metric and English measurements. And we don't really even use the English system, I assumed that was common. It is handy when using American recipes.

I find American recipes quite frustrating, because they ask for "cups" of everything.  I have no idea how much that is and websites seem to disagree on how much a cup of various items is as well.
That's because it varies, on how much a cup of something is. :)
A liquid cup is 240 ml. Dry ingredients vary more because they pack into a cup differently. For example, with brown sugar you pack it into the cup as tightly as possible, whereas flour may be measured 'loosely'.
I wouldn't even try making metric recipes without using metric measuring cups. That's why I have no real motivation to switch to metric, because I'd have to buy new measuring cups and spoons, and possibly even new pans, to be able to replicate the conditions under which the recipe was tested. And then there's the oven: it has its degree measurements in farenheit!
You may be able to find metric measuring cups somewhere but it would not make sense to buy them, you see, people do not use volume to measure solids over here, we use weight instead because that is much less ambigious.

In weight 100 gram of flour is 100 gram of flour regardless of how tight you pack it, I can understand that people do not want to go to the trouble of going to metric metric (Though it would be a kindness to the young and future generations if you did) What I will never understand is why Americans keep measuring solids in volume instead of weight.

I don't think that's restricted to Americans. Measuring the weight is better (though my kitchen scales are vintage and not at all exact) but almost all Finnish recipes use volume (usually deciliters and liters). From what I can find Swedes seem to do it as well (not surprising as we usually get that sort of traditions from them) and a random Norwegian recipe site I found uses both.

jpcher

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Back on topic, I recall a woman in the supermarket asking a worker where the pecans were. She was subsequently directed to the tinned peas  ::)

LOL! I had to think about that for a minute.

Which brings up another question of pronunciation . . .

is pecan pronounced

p-CAN

or

p-CON


VorFemme

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Back on topic, I recall a woman in the supermarket asking a worker where the pecans were. She was subsequently directed to the tinned peas  ::)

LOL! I had to think about that for a minute.

Which brings up another question of pronunciation . . .

is pecan pronounced

p-CAN

or

p-CON



Depending on where you are - both ways.

I've also heard it with a soft e - peh-con or peh-can, rather than the hard e in pea-con or pea-can.

I've never heard the can part sounded out as cane...no telling what someone from an area without pecan trees would try calling them, though.
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Jocelyn

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What I will never understand is why Americans keep measuring solids in volume instead of weight.
Because a measuring cup remains the same size, year after year, whereas scales will get miscalibrated over time?

Snooks

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What I will never understand is why Americans keep measuring solids in volume instead of weight.
Because a measuring cup remains the same size, year after year, whereas scales will get miscalibrated over time?

But as someone else pointed out it depends how tightly you pack the cup.

Outdoor Girl

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But if you are consistent with your measurements every time you make the recipe, it works out.  You can adjust your liquid volume a bit if you have to.  Bread purists swear that you have to weigh your flour to get good quality bread every time.  I use cup measures and have never had a batch flop (unless the yeast was too old and I didn't proof it properly).  What I do, though, is shove the cup down into the middle of the flour, lift it out and level it off by running a knife or my finger across the top.  So every cup of flour I use is going to be pretty close to the same weight.  I don't shake the cup or pound it on the counter, which would settle the flour and let the cup measure more than I intended.

And if you use the same cup to measure your liquids that you use to measure your solids, then everything is reasonably proportional.
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Julian

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For years I've used one of these - a measuring cone which converts volume to weight depending on the substance being measured.  They're easy to use, and many have both metric and imperial measurements on them.


http://www.getprice.com.au/Cooks-Dry-Measuring-Cone-Gpnc_251--41989765.htm

Jocelyn

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   Bread purists swear that you have to weigh your flour to get good quality bread every time.   
My mother once told me that my grandmother never used a recipe for making bread- she just made it. Until one day when she broke her bowl, and for awhile after that, the bread wasn't as good, until she learned how much of each ingredient to put into the new bowl!

Katana_Geldar

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Measuring accurately is no substitute in knowing how something is meant to be. Particularly with dough if I'm making scones or pastry. It needs to feel right.

Elfmama

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My biggest problem is when recipes (regardless of nationality) call for one can of this, one cube of that or one package of something else... without saying how much is in a can, a cube or a package!!!
It can be equally frustrating when it's done here, too.  I tried to help a friend redact an old family recipe from her DH's late grandmother.  "Take a 50-cent box of vanilla wafers, mush them up, put them in the blue bowl and add milk until it looks right."
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RegionMom

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My granny used to make drop biscuits in a brown wooden bowl that she kept in a cupboard, always with a lining of flour. 

she just dabbled a bit of this, a gob of that, and mixed it by hand.  Sooooo good!!

I so wanted that bowl after she died, but alas, it was already gone.  I hope whoever got it actually uses it.

I do have many of her recipes, and I sat down with her years ago and went over the sizes of cans and boxes so I would know. 

 :)
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menley

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My biggest problem is when recipes (regardless of nationality) call for one can of this, one cube of that or one package of something else... without saying how much is in a can, a cube or a package!!!
It can be equally frustrating when it's done here, too.  I tried to help a friend redact an old family recipe from her DH's late grandmother.  "Take a 50-cent box of vanilla wafers, mush them up, put them in the blue bowl and add milk until it looks right."

My mom had the same issue with my dad's mother's recipes! She had lots of traditional family recipes from their home country, but they were all things like "Use a dime's worth of salt" and "mix a few handfuls of flour into an egg or two until the consistency is right." If she had been able to try baking them with her when my grandmother still had her memory, it would have been one thing - she could've seen what was meant - but my grandmother had Alzheimer's and by the time we came across the recipes, she couldn't be trusted in the kitchen for safety reasons. It's really quite sad because she was apparently legendary in her hometown for her pastries.

BB-VA

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Alton Brown ("Good Eats") preferred measuring dry ingredients by weight instead of volume.

I have an old edition of the "Mennonite Community Cookbook".  The cookbook was compiled from family recipes and each recipe was "calibrated" to use modern measurements.  The author included comments about some of the measurements she found - one of which was 10 "blubs" of molasses.  She also comments on an older lady who, in telling her how to make cookies, told her to add flour until it looks right, but not to add too much because then the cookies would be too dry.
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Piratelvr1121

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Gigi, my maternal grandmother, was an amazing cook. I still miss her deviled crab. I've seen deviled crab cakes available in the grocery store and everytime I look at them I think "they won't be as good as Gigi's." 

When I was a child she once made up a cookbook of not only her recipes but those of her family members.  She had them contribute recipes and had it all printed and typed up and I got my own copy that she signed for me. :)   I still have it and have used it to make a crab dip that's delicious, and her deviled crabs were quite spicy but that's what made them so good.  I remember one year when DH and I were living in California because he was stationed there, and Gigi mentioned to me that she'd made her deviled crabs.  (she lived on the East coast and there was no way to get back home anytime soon).  I told her she'd made my mouth water so she mailed quite a bit out to me. :)

I tried making them once but since we couldn't afford real crab meat at the time I used the fake stuff and it wasn't bad but it just wasn't the same.
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TootsNYC

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Most of my sewing and measuring things include both metric and English measurements. And we don't really even use the English system, I assumed that was common. It is handy when using American recipes.

A great many of ours do, too--and it's useful when using European recipes.
But the smaller measuring spoons and the dry measuring cups are one-system only.

And all our recipes are written that way (as you point out).


I remember once finding an op-ed piece of some sort written by someone who advocated the "use the scale" method of measurement. He said that *it was a conspiracy* to keep the recipes in magazines, cookbooks, etc., in the imperial system.

Since at the time I worked for a high-profile publisher of food magazines and cookbooks, I got a huge kick out of it.


My biggest problem is when recipes (regardless of nationality) call for one can of this, one cube of that or one package of something else... without saying how much is in a can, a cube or a package!!!
It can be equally frustrating when it's done here, too.  I tried to help a friend redact an old family recipe from her DH's late grandmother.  "Take a 50-cent box of vanilla wafers, mush them up, put them in the blue bowl and add milk until it looks right."

At that same publishing company, they wanted to drop the "1/2 cup" and just start saying, "1 stick of butter." I guess for now everybody would know, but it just really bothered me, as a copyeditor.

"Stick" is not a universally agreed-upon unit of measurement.


My mother tells the story of her best friend's mom, who made the most wonderful biscuits. Until the coffee cup she was using to measure broke, and the new one she got was a different size and held a different volume of flour.

And I once read a mystery where the heroine ran a bakery, and there were recipes sprinkled throughout the book. She measured her flour by PACKING IT into the cup very firmly. I thought that would probably be a more accurate way to measure flour by volume than sifting it is.

I had a never-fail choc.chip cookie recipe that suddenly started going wonky. I couldn't figure it out. I theorized that I was not getting the right amount of flour, so I started measuring, then weighing what I was measuring. I discovered that actually it was pretty consistent. (Turned out to be that I'd forgotten the 30 seconds that belonged on the cooking time--I had a timer that would keep the minutes for the next batch, but lose the seconds.)