Measurements for cooking

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I had a funny encounter in Walmart yesterday and I want to share it with you. I was looking for measuring cups which you can take quite literally in the United States. Whereas the Germans and most of the world measure in ml and l, the US uses a slightly different system of “cups” and oz. I will do a separate post on oz and other measurements and focus on cups today.

What are cups?

Well, Wikipedia defines it the following way:

The cup is a unit of measurement for volume, used in cooking to measure liquids (fluid measurement) and bulk foods such as granulated sugar (dry measurement). It is principally used in the United States and Liberia where it is a legally defined unit of measurement. Actual cups used in a household in any country may differ from the cup size used for recipes; standard measuring cups, often calibrated in fluid measure and weights of usual dry ingredients as well as in cups, are available.

OK, great, it is something to measure for cooking, baking, and so on but may not be consistent… The Wiki-entry is followed by the “metric cup”, the “US customary cup”, and the “US legal cup” in contrast to the “UK cup” and the “Japanese cup”.

So what is a “customary cups” now? Well it’s half a customary pint which equals to 8 fluid ounces (oz).

And what is a “legal cups“? It’s defined by law to be 240 ml – great, finally something I understand… For the metric cup this equals to 250 ml.

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No clue but here is the next step in measuring… The cup is divided into smaller units for baking, cooking, and making drinks.

  • 1 cups = 240 ml
  • 2/3 cup = 160 ml
  • 1/2 cup = 120 ml
  • 1/3 cup = 80 ml
  • 1/4 cup = 60 ml
  • 1/8 cup = 30 ml
  • 1 Tbs = 1 Tablespoon = 15 ml
  • 1 Tsp = 1 Teaspoon = 5 ml
  • 1/2 Tsp  = 2.5 ml
  • 1/4 Tsp = 1.25 ml

So far so good – those are the ones I knew and most of them are in my kitchen drawer… But yesterday I found the following funny “cups” (spoons):IMG_5412

Dash = 1/8 Tsp = .6 ml

Pinch = 1/16 Tsp = .3 ml

Smidgen =1/32 Tsp = .15 ml

I had a good laugh about these because I never know how much it is supposed to be and I just add these ingredients by “feeling”…

By the way, I did bring some of these measuring cups back home after my AuPair-year because it enabled me to cook my American recipes without to many calculations…

IMG_5415 IMG_5414 IMG_5413

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