HERITAGE MEASUREMENTS - Deciphering Grandma's Recipe Book
Truth is, most old recipes were not much more than shopping lists with cursory prep notes. Detailed instructions were not considered necessary because it was understood that whoever cooked the food already knew the basics. Measurements are time/country/food specific.
Did you know some culinary historians say we Americans measure with objects(as opposed to weight) because of our pioneer heritage? Conestoga wagons had plenty of cups & spoons but very few reliable scales. Scientific oven temperatures and exact measurements had no place in pre-industrial kitchens...which explains why food was commonly *served forth* when it was *done.*
Standard measurements and detailed cooking instructions were a by-product of the Industrial Revolution and are commonly attributed to Fannie M. Farmer, principal of the Boston Cooking School."
Up until the 1950's both the US and Britain used the same basic measurements. The US ones were called US Standard and the Britain ones were called Imperial, some of the measurements differed slightly in actual size, weight, or volume but utilized the same names. Britain did not go metric until officially until the early 90's as a result of the EU sanctions.
|1 wineglass||1/4 cup|
|1 jigger||1.5 fluid ounces|
|1 gill||1/2 cup|
|1 teacup||a scant 3/4 cup|
|1 coffeecup||a scant cup|
|1 tumbler||1 cup|
|1 pint||2 cups|
|1 quart||4 cups|
|1 peck||2 gallons - dry|
|1 pinch or dash||what can be picked up between thumb and first two fingers; less than 1/8 teaspoon|
|1/2 pinch||what can be picked up between thumb and one finger|
|1 saltspoon||1/4 teaspoon|
|1 kitchen spoon||1 teaspoon|
|1 dessert spoon||2 teaspoons or 1 soupspoon|
|1 spoonful||1 Tablespoon more or less|
|1 saucer||1 heaping cup (about)|
|Very slow oven||below 300 degrees F.|
|Slow oven||300 degrees F.|
|Moderately slow oven||325 degrees F.|
|Moderate oven||350 degrees F.|
|Moderately hot oven||375 degrees F.|
|Quick oven||375 - 400 degrees F.|
|Hot oven||400-425 degrees F.|
|Very hot oven||450-475 degrees F.|
|Extremely hot oven||500 degrees F. or more|
|1 penny weight||1/20 ounce|
|1 drachm||1/8 ounce|
|60 drops thick fluid||1 teaspoon|
|1 ounce||4-1/2 Tablespoons allspice, cinnamon, curry , paprika or dry mustard|
|or 4 Tablespoons cloves or prepared mustard|
|or 3-1/2 Tablespoons nutmeg or pepper|
|or 3 Tablespoons sage, cream of tartar or cornstarch|
|or 2 Tablespoons salt or any liquid|
|1 pound||2 cups liquid|
|or 4 cups flour|
|or 8 medium eggs with shells|
|or 10 eggs without shells|
|or 2 cups granulated sugar|
|or 2-1/3 cups packed brown sugar|
|or 3-3/4 cups unsifted confectioner's sugar|
|or 4-1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar|
|or 4 cups grated cabbage, cranberries, coffee or chopped celery|
|or 3 cups corn meal|
|or 2 cups uncooked rice|
|or 2-3/4 cups raisins or dried currants|
|Butter the size of a egg||1/4 cup or 2 ounces|
|Butter the size of a walnut||1 Tablespoon|
|Butter the size of a hazelnut||1 teaspoon|
Special Measuring Methods:
"Correct measurements are absolutely necessary to insure the best results.
Good judgment, with experience, has taught some to measure by sight;
but the majority need definite guides."
Tin, granite-ware, and glass measuring-cups, divided in quarters or thirds, holding one half-pint, and tea and table spoons of regulation sizes,—which may be bought at any store where kitchen furnishings are sold,—and a ease knife, are essentials for correct measurement. Mixing-spoons, which are little larger than tablespoons, should not be con-founded with the latter.
Firmly packed: With a spatula, a spoon, or by hand, the ingredient is pressed as tightly as possible into the measuring device.
Lightly packed: The ingredient is pressed lightly into the measuring device, only tightly enough to ensure no air pockets.
Even / level: A precise measure of an ingredient, discarding all of the ingredient that rises above the rim of the measuring device. Sweeping across the top of the measure with the back of a straight knife or the blade of a spatula is a common leveling method.
Rounded: Allowing a measure of an ingredient to pile up above the rim of the measuring device naturally, into a soft, rounded shape.
Heaping / heaped: The maximum amount of an ingredient which will stay on the measuring device.
Sifted: This instruction may be seen in two different ways, with two different meanings: before the ingredient, as “1 cup sifted flour”, indicates the ingredient should be sifted into the measuring device (and normally leveled), while after the ingredient, as “1 cup flour, sifted”, denotes the sifting should occur after measurement.
Flour, meal, powdered and confectioners’ sugar, and soda should be sifted before measuring. Mustard and baking powder, from standing in boxes, settle, therefore should be stirred to lighten; salt frequently lumps, and these lumps should be broken. A cupful is measured level. To measure a cupful, put in the ingredient by spoonfuls or from a scoop, round slightly, and level with a case knife, care being taken not to shake the cup. A tablespoonful is measured level. A teaspoonful is measured level.
To measure tea or table spoonfuls, dip the spoon in the ingredient, fill, lift, and level with a knife, the sharp edge of knife being toward tip of spoon. Divide with knife lengthwise of spoon, for a half-spoonful; divide halves crosswise for quarters, and quarters crosswise for eighths. Less than one-eighth of a teaspoonful is considered a few grains.
A cupful of liquid is all the cup will hold.
A tea or table spoonful is all the spoon will hold.
Measuring Butter, Lard, etc. To measure butter, lard, and other solid fats, pack solidly into cup or spoon, and level with a knife.
When dry ingredients, liquids, and fats are called for in the same recipe, measure in the order given, thereby using but one cup."
Recipes by Gina - Recipe of the Moment
Cajun Shrimp Scampi
- 1/4 cup butter 1 pound shrimp, p/d
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cajun spice seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp parsley flakes
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add shrimp, green onion, garlic, parsley and pepper; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.
- Serve over cooked orzo, pasta or rice.