I was talking with a good friend who lives in New York yesterday and she was griping about a dessert recipe that had gone horribly wrong. Griping? perhaps I should say she was bellowing like a stuck pig that her culinary concoction was a flop. I said what any friend would say, “Did you measure and weigh correctly?”
She swore she measured appropriately but she doesn’t weigh anything because she doesn’t have any kitchen scales. What??? In the land of the free and the home of the brave where streets are paved with gold – Anna doesn’t have kitchen scales? She said that she only knows of one person who uses them and that’s because her friend is always on a diet.
Kitchen scales are considered a must-have by home cooks everywhere – everywhere but the US. I suppose all the recipes are by volume because they know that most people don’t have scales.
Imagine my frustrating cooking when everything was in celsius and metric when I moved from the states to Australia? Cooking went from being something I loved to being something I dreaded. My partner thought I didn’t know how to cook and for 6 months he did all the cooking. I made the mistake of taking over one night when he was on the phone and he hasn’t cooked since. Why oh why did I do that? I could be living the life of Riley being waited on hand and foot.
I think in metric now but I still keep my handy converter close by so I can still use all my favorite recipes that mom and nana raised me with.
Kitchen scales aren’t expensive and they’re so easy to use. When I make bread in my bread machine I take the bucket thing out and sit it on my scales and add the water, clear the amount and then add the flour and it takes about one minute to get the loaf in the machine and the only thing that’s dirty is the spoon. Do I sound lazy to you? Also, I know that everything was measured accurately and I’ll get consistent results.
Once you get the hang of it, using scales results in quicker more reliable results. If I had to choose one piece of kitchen equipment that I wouldn’t want to be without, it’s my scales. When measuring by volume it’s so easy to pack flour in a cup so you end up with more flour than the recipe calls for. Don’t get me started on sifting before measuring. If a recipe calls for one cup of flour, that’s 4 3/8 ounces or 126 grams.
Most scales will measure in ounces or grams so if you share your recipe with a friend or online, the cook will be able to reproduce your recipe exactly. No more, “I don’t know why it doesn’t look as good or taste as good as yours.” If I say one cup of chopped onions, how small you chop them makes a difference in how much onion you’ll use. No problem if the recipe says 200 grams or 7 ounces of chopped onion.
If you don’t have scales in your kitchen, it’s time to ask for them for your birthday or Christmas or just because you’re wonderful. Buy them for yourself, you’re worth it and the meals and desserts will make you a better star than you are now. You ARE a star, right?