Tuesday, July 6, 2010
When Mum and Dad came to visit, they gave me these charming measuring cups. The cups open out like Russian dolls to give six standard-sized measuring cups, marked inside. I already own a set of four stainless steel measuring cups that will probably outlast me--they're from Paderno ("Pots for Eternity"). But these new measuring cups are getting used quite a lot too--they have 3/4 cup and 2/3 cup measures that my other set doesn't, and they are so fun that I can't let them fall into disuse.
Measuring cups are a common item with which friends leave my house. When I lived in London I had a supply of cheap plastic ones to give away with recipes when someone asked. Even though I use both weight and volume measurements on my blog, a lot of internet recipes are unaccessible to a cook without a set of measuring cups. In the UK, measuring ingredients by weighing is usual, but the USA, Canada, and Australia all use recipes with cups.
Whether it is better to weigh or scoop is a topic of debate. It is much faster and easier to use cup measures, unless you are very skilled with your scale. On the other hand, it's more accurate to weigh ingredients such as flour, since a cup can be packed to a greater or lesser degree. When cooking starts to get more science-y, for example, with some bread or cake recipes, having the exact amount of flour can make an impact, and in these cases it's safer to weigh it out. (Not least because different brands and types of flours have differing densities.) Another reason weighing is clever for cooks is that it is much easier to know how much is 500g of sweet potato, rather than a recipe which calls for 2 medium sweet potatoes. I use the scale to help me standardise my recipes for use here.
At least for now I will continue with my measuring cups for the most part, turning to my scale from time to time. Measuring cups as cute as these demand to be used! Which do you prefer, cups or the scale?