Measure For Measure

I love collecting recipes & getting cookery books & magazines.

IMG_20150630_115319518

 

 

 

 

 

A Selection of Polish Cookbooks

 

 

 

 

I have recipes from Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America as well as from other countries that I have visited & from some I have not.

I write up recipes on cards for many of my favourite recipes as I find it hard to remember all the details and amounts.

IMG_20160902_175901809

 

 

 

 

 

The hardest thing I find is getting the measurements right.

When trying to get a recipe from my mother she would say in Polish things like “ just add enough flour until it is the consistency you want” or ” add the milk until it is right”.

I used to find this so hard, however now I find I say similar things especially when writing for this blog.  It is difficult as there are so many variables that all make a difference, such as the type of flour, the temperature & humidity in the kitchen and so on.

At least you can be sure with weights & measures!

Well sadly  – not always – hence this post.

For many recipes the exact amounts do not matter that much however with cakes & pastries the correct proportions do matter .

Let me start with weights.

I used to use pounds & ounces – especially when this was how everything in England was sold & how it was written in books.

Many years ago  I bought some balance scales and a set of metric weights.

Balance scales I think are more accurate than the ones with just one top pan especially for small weights & I love the way they work.

IMG_20160315_123751841

 

IMG_20160827_121901897 IMG_20160827_121836947

I know the new electronic scales are good especially as you can zero the bowl and add ingredients – I just love using the balance scales – there is a sense of symmetry that just appeals to me.

Well going totally metric has not happened in England but recipe books & magazines tend to be in metric and imperial  –  I just stick to the metric.

At least I thought I am safe with my Polish books as they use metric weights!

How wrong I was!

Some of my Polish cookery books are written using grams & kilograms – but not all of them and especially not my favourite old book – which was also my first.

Kuchnia Polska - Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery
Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

In this book the weights are given in dekagrams (decagrams) – abbreviated to dkg  (deka is from  Greek and means 10 – so  1 dekagram is 10grams.

When I went to Poland I found that when shopping for food my cousins all talked in deko or deka and they would ask for 20 deka of  sausage when I would have asked for 200grams.

So not too big an adjustment to make when using a recipe however my biggest problem was not concentrating and half way through I would forget and when seeing for example 25dkg of something – I would add 25g!

I did have a few disasters!

Now I always write out the weights in grams – usually on post it notes & leave these in the book – especially for recipes I use often. This is a useful hint for recipes that you want to halve as well – as lack of concentration halfway through can also  have disastrous results.

IMG_20160902_180341244_HDR IMG_20160902_180545243

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160902_180458122

 

So is it any easier using volume?

Measuring in pints or litres should be easy if you have a jug with graduated markings but there is a little problem as UK pints and American pints are different. An American pint is 16 fluid ounces & a UK pint is 20 fluid ounces.

IMG_20160829_073152731_HDR

In American recipes the quart which is 2 pints  is often used – but the American quart is smaller than a UK quart.  My auntie in America was correct when she said a quart was near enough the same as a litre.

In many American recipe books you will often find that volume measurements in are given in cups.

If you use the same cup as someone else then it is no problem in measuring and not much of a problem with liquids, with solids then it does make a difference in how tightly you pack in the ingredient and how level or heaped is the top.

So no wonder there are charts published which give the weight equivalents for cup volumes of different foodstuffs.

All this then begs the following question

What is a cup?

or in Poland

What is a szklanka (glass/tumbler)?

IMG_20160901_075146401 IMG_20160901_075045753(1) IMG_20160901_075040769

IMG_20160831_062122745 IMG_20160831_061821677

A szklanka in Poland is 250ml – a quarter of a litre – this is a metric cup.

An America cup is  is 8 fluid ounces (half an American pint) and approximately 240ml.

There is an Imperial cup which is  10 fluid ounces (half a UK pint) and approximately  284ml  – you might find this in older UK cookery books.

I had a look at some of my cups and found that only 2 of them held the equivalent of an American cup – whereas 2 of my tumblers held 250ml – so definitely a Polish szklanka.

IMG_20160902_180033718

IMG_20160831_062141355 IMG_20160831_062122745

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found that some of my mugs were the old Imperil cup – half a UK pint

IMG_20160906_085131183

IMG_20160827_122103058

I looked at my bought measuring cups and saw that they were different  – one was an American cup the other a metric cup  – I must remember that when I use them next.

IMG_20160905_120159975 IMG_20160905_120144185

 

What size is your spoon?

IMG_20160831_090552632 IMG_20160831_090558793

 

In Europe certainly before 1700 it was common practice to have your own spoon with you when you went travelling.  Just as now when you would rarely leave the house without your wallet, mobile phone and keys, then having our own knife and spoon was very common.  Indeed the English expression ” being born with a silver spoon in your mouth” – refers to this – as well as being rich.

In later times and especially with the introduction of the new invention from Italy of the fork it became more common for households to have sets of cutlery for guests.

Sizes of spoons evolved for different uses but now  in recipes there are mainly 3 sizes used for measuring –  teaspoondessert spoon and  table spoon with  1 tablespoon being  3 teaspoons & 1 dessert spoon being 2 teaspoons.

The sizes of these spoons are different in the UK, in the USA and in Europe with the ones in the USA being nearly the same as the metric ones.

In the UK a teaspoon is nearly 6ml and a table spoon is just under 18ml.

In Europe a teaspoon is 5ml and a tablespoon is 15ml whilst in the USA the teaspoon is just slightly less than 5ml and a tablespoon is just slightly less than 15ml   – so for practical purposes they are the same.

IMG_20160831_090537676 IMG_20160831_090513752

I have some measuring spoons which have both the UK and metric sizes on them but I have noticed that ones for sale now just have the metric sizes on them.

IMG_20160906_082043379 IMG_20160906_082029844_HDR IMG_20160906_081936491

 

Note

I have not covered the variations that are to be found in Australia & Canada & other countries.

In Conclusion

Just be aware of differences in measurements if you are using recipes from other countries.

Make notes & keep them with your recipes, or even rewrite your recipes on cards so you do not forget any changes you make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Published by

jadwiga49hjk

I love cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes and currently am trying out many old favourites from my Polish cookbooks and family recipes. I am trying out many variations, often to make them easier but still delicious. I collect glass cake stands and china tableware, mainly tea plates, jugs and serving dishes, many of which I use on a daily basis. They are an eclectic mixture from the 20th & 21st century.

One thought on “Measure For Measure”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s