This section is from the book "The New Cookery", by Lenna Frances Cooper. Also available from Amazon: The New Cookery.
Exact proportions or correct measuring is as essential to good cooking as to the work of the chemist. Indeed the cook is dealing with chemical combinations as truly as is the pharmacist or chemist.
The following articles are necessary for measuring: half pint measuring cup divided into fourths and thirds, a tablespoon and case knife. Exact measurements call for level measurements.
The tablespoon and teaspoon should be the regulation size. Sets of measuring spoons may be bought at most hardware stores and at stores where kitchen furnishings are kept. To measure a cupful, fill to a little more than the brim by placing materials into the cup with a spoon, never dragging the cup through dry materials. With the cutting edge of the knife brush off all materials which are piled above the brim. Do not shake the cup to level the materials. For measuring liquids fill just to the brim.
To measure a tablespoonful, fill the spoon rounding or heaping full and with the cutting edge of the knife brush off all that extends above the edge of the spoon. If a half tablespoon is desired, divide the contents of the spoon lengthwise and push off one half. If a fourth is desired, divide the remaining half crosswise of the spoon and push off the portion not desired. If one-eighth is desired, divide the remaining one-fourth crosswise and push off the undesired portion. If one-third of a spoonful is desired, divide the contents of the spoon crosswise into thirds, pushing off the undesired portion. The teaspoon is measured in the same way.
To measure spoonfuls of liquid dip the spoon into the liquid.
To measure butter or other solid fats, pack solidly into the measure and level off with the knife the same as for dry materials.
It may sometimes be necessary to vary the constituents somewhat owing to the variation in the quality of the materials. Recipes in which flour plays an important part are necessarily only guides, as different qualities or varieties of flour require different amounts of liquid. A recipe in which eggs form a chief constituent may also be varied according to the size of the eggs. Materials which pack, such as flour, powdered sugar, corn meal, etc., should be sifted or stirred before measuring.
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