Weighing the articles called for in a recipe is often a less convenient method than measuring; therefore, in the preparation of foods, measuring is more often resorted to than weighing.
As accuracy in measurement is productive of the best results, it is necessary that
all measures be as accurate and definite as possible. For measuring the
ingredients called for in recipes, use is generally made of a measuring cup like
that shown in Fig. 8. Such a cup is designed to hold 2 gills, or 1/2 pint, and it is
marked to indicate thirds and quarters, so that it may be used for recipes of all
If a liquid is to be measured with such a cup, it should be filled to the brim, but if dry material is to be measured with it, the material should be heaped up in the cup with a spoon and then scraped level with a knife, in the manner shown in Fig. 9. In case fractions or parts of a cup are to be measured, the cup should be placed level and stationary and then filled evenly to the mark indicated on the cup itself.
Many times it will be found more convenient to measure dry materials with a spoon. This can be done with accuracy if it is remembered that 16 tablespoonfuls make 1 cup, or 1/2 pint; 12 tablespoonfuls, 3/4 cup; 8 tablespoonfuls, 1/2 cup; and 4 tablespoonfuls, 1/4 cup. If no measuring cup like the one just described is at hand, one that will hold 16 level tablespoonfuls of dry material may be selected from the kitchen supply of dishes. Such a cup, however, cannot be used successfully in measuring a half, thirds, or fourths; for such measurements it will be better to use a spoon.
As a rule, it will be found very convenient to have two measuring cups of standard size, one for
measuring dry ingredients and the other for measuring moist or wet ones. If it is impossible to have more than one, the dry materials should be measured first in working out a recipe, and the fats and liquids afterwards. Whatever plan of measuring is followed, however, it should always be remembered that recipes are written for the definite quantities indicated and mean
standard, not approximate, cupfuls, tablespoonfuls, and teaspoonfuls.
--In addition to a measuring cup or two, a set of measuring spoons will be found extremely convenient in a kitchen. However, if it is impossible to obtain such a set, a teaspoon
and a tablespoon of standard size will answer for measuring purposes. Three level teaspoonfuls are equal to 1 tablespoonful. When a spoon is used, it is heaped with the dry material and then leveled with a knife, in the manner shown in Fig. 10 (a). If 1/2 spoonful is desired, it is leveled first, as indicated in (a), and then marked through the center with a knife and half of its contents pushed off, as shown in (b). Fourths and eighths are measured in the same way, as is indicated in Fig. 11 (a), but thirds are measured across the bowl of the spoon, as in (b).
Precautions to Observe in Measuring.
--In measuring some of the materials used in the preparation of foods, certain points concerning them should receive attention. For instance, all powdered materials, such as flour, must first be sifted, as the amount increases upon sifting, it being definitely known that a cupful of
unsifted flour will measure about 1-1/4 cupfuls after it is sifted. Lumps, such as those which form in salt and sugar, should be thoroughly crushed before measuring; if this is not done, accurate measurements cannot be secured, because lumps of such
ingredients are more compact than the loose material.
Butter and other fats should be tightly packed into the measure, and if the fat is to be melted in order to carry out a recipe, it should be melted before it is measured. Anything measured in a cup should be poured into the cup; that is, the cup should not be filled by dipping it into the material nor by drawing it through the material.