How much air is in your cup?

You may have noticed I used to write the ingredients of my recipes both in grams and cups but lately I am mainly writing them in grams only.

Butter on digital kitchen scale

I still love you american friends and truly hope you have been trying some of my recipes and will continue to do so, but my cups didn’t make it to Europe. I don’t need them because almost all of my recipes are originally from Italy or some other part of the world were they measure by weight and not by volume. I used to manually convert everything to cups by measuring all the ingredients every time I attacked a new recipe, but not anymore, too much work (and no cups).

I never understood this measuring by volume anyway. Measuring some ingredients by volume doesn’t make any sense. 3 tablespoons of butter? C’mon! But also, I am an engineer with a possible slight obsessive-compulsive disorder :P Measuring by volume is highly inaccurate, for example, a cup of walnuts: depending on whether they are just halved or how coarsely chopped they are, there can be quite a bit of difference in how many will fit in your cup! How much of that cup is air? Or a cup of flour, some people pack it really tight others just scoop it!

When I moved to the US I tried to adapt to this new system. I bought measuring cups and tried to use them, the result? Soon enough I quit backing! Things just weren’t turning out right. There is no website that offers reliable conversions, and this is probably because of the reasons I explained above, it is a highly unreliable way of measuring, how can someone state how much a cup of walnuts weights? It really depends on how you packed them and how big each piece is. Plus there are so many ingredients that it is impossible to chart them all. So after a long period of no backing I resolved to put an end to my misery and buy a kitchen scale :)

There are things that won’t bother for a little more of this or a little less of that. But others, like baked goods, do need for all the ingredients to be measured precisely. Or if you are on a diet and are counting your calories, you really can’t rely on a volume based system when all the labels on food are in grams, or ounces. I use a digital kitchen scale and I love it! I bought it in the US so it has a little switch to change from grams to ounces, a wonderful little device!

Another plus of a kitchen scale is that you can measure in whatever container you want, scales always have a tare button. When using cups I had to go through all the ingredients and measure first all the ones that don’t mess up the cup, for example flour needs to be measured before milk!! And sometimes you just forget and end up having to wash the damn cup and then measure flour with a humid cup :/ Or I would resort to measure one cup with two half cups… never a good thing, I was doubling the inaccuracy ;)

So, I would suggest to you all to go get a kitchen scale and put a little engineering in your daily recipes ;)

PS: scales are inexpensive (mine was 15$ at walmart).


10 Responses to How much air is in your cup?

  1. Ad vocem:
    cheers :)

  2. I quite agree about the cup thing, I have had so many problems with my American cooking, grams/ounces are so much easier and more accurate. Love your web site. Keep it up.

    • Thank you Jennifer!

  3. FINE. Buying scales. I’m sure that’s why my baked goods never turned out. I will blame the measuring cups ;-)

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