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  #1  
Old 01-11-2014, 04:12 AM
Doctor_Why_Bother Doctor_Why_Bother is offline
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In cooking, what exactly is a 'cup'?

One of my New Year resolutions is to become a better cook. However, I'm having a hell of a lot of trouble deciphering the recipes in my cookbook, because a great many of them insist on using the random, generic, and entirely arbitrary measure of a 'Cup' when measuring quantities. I have lots of cups in my kitchen. Some are tiny, some are bloody massive, and there's considerable variation in the ones in between. Which one do they want me to use?

Could anybody please tell me what a 'Cup' is in grams and/or ounces? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2014, 04:16 AM
Vagabond Vagabond is offline
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A cup is a measure of volume, not weight IIRC.

Go to the grocery store, they will have measuring cups. That is what you need.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:17 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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A cup is half of a pint - 240ml or 8 fluid ounces. 16 tablespoons, if you will.

Last edited by Smapti; 01-11-2014 at 04:20 AM..
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  #4  
Old 01-11-2014, 04:20 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Yes - a cup is a volume measurement - consider - a cup of Lithium would not weigh the same as a cup of Plutonium.

Few recipes call for those ingredients, of course, but a cup of sugar is a little heavier than the same cup of cornflour.

It's further complicated by the fact that standard measuring cups aren't exactly the same internationally. More info on cups:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cup_%28unit%29

Personally, I prefer recipes in grammes for dry/solid ingredients and millilitres for liquids.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:14 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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Don't overcomplicate things for someone who doesn't know how to use a measuring cup, guys! (seriously, OP, become a better cook or start learning how - I shudder to think what you've come up with so far trying to follow a recipe not knowing 8oz volume is a cup)

OP - get yourself a set of measuring cups, they come all together nested usually from 1c to 1/4c. Then get yourself a set of measuring spoons, they come all together nested usually from 1Tbsp (tablespoon) to 1/4 or even 1/8tsp (teaspoon). These days, the measures will most likely also have metric on them.

To keep things simple, only use recipes that give measurements that correspond with the tools you have, cups and spoons. These are not random, generic, or arbitrary measurements. Once you get good at those and have an idea how to eyeball those amounts, you can expand to euro measures.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2014, 05:47 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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The cup, as a measurement, is very much an American thing (as are tablespoons, and other types of spoon, if used as any sort of exact measure). I suspect that Doctor_Why_Bother is not American, otherwise he/she would know this. As Smapti says, the (US) cup is half a pint, but that is half an American pint of 16 fluid ounces, which is very different from a British pint (20 fluid ounces). A British pint is not divided into two cups, but into four gills (though this is a relatively rarely encountered measure). (I am not sure what a pint is in Canada or Australia or other countries that may use pints. My guess is that most such countries, with the possible exception of Canada, use the British pint.)

Anyway, as Smapti says, a cup, as used in an American recipe, is 8 fluid ounces. (Fluid ounces, just to keep things confusing, are a measure of volume, not weight or mass, but at least they are the same in different countries, unlike pints, gallons, quarts, etc.)

Last edited by njtt; 01-11-2014 at 05:52 AM..
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:57 AM
gracer gracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
(seriously, OP, become a better cook or start learning how - I shudder to think what you've come up with so far trying to follow a recipe not knowing 8oz volume is a cup)
The OP said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor_Why_Bother View Post
some are bloody massive,
[bolding mine]

OP might be English, Aussie or Kiwi. In the UK people don't use cups as much, probably because cups are frankly a terrible way of measuring ingredients.

OP, just use recipes that use weight measurements. If you find a recipe that wants cups you can easily google for a conversion. You can also buy some cups, but you have to find a way of not freaking out about the thought that if you compress the flour more flour will fit in the cup...

ETA: got distracted while writing (coffee ) and got ninja'd by njtt!

Last edited by gracer; 01-11-2014 at 05:59 AM..
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:16 AM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
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As mentioned upthread, in US cooking, a cup is a unit of volume. If you're going to start cooking I recommend you get 1) a set of nested measuring spoons, B) a set of nested measuring cups, and III) a 1 or 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:19 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
As mentioned upthread, in US cooking, a cup is a unit of volume. If you're going to start cooking I recommend you get 1) a set of nested measuring spoons, B) a set of nested measuring cups, and III) a 1 or 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup.
Outside of the USA (and perhaps Canada) you probably can't. Not ones that are calibrated to US measures.
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  #10  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:26 AM
Bozuit Bozuit is offline
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This may be useful. It converts measurements of various common cooking ingredients from volume to weight.
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  #11  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:28 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
The cup, as a measurement, is very much an American thing (as are tablespoons, and other types of spoon, if used as any sort of exact measure). I suspect that Doctor_Why_Bother is not American, otherwise he/she would know this....
I suspected the same thing immediately after reading the OP. This is similar to reactions from non-Americans to the infamous "PC LOAD LETTER" message. Most non-Americans do not use "letter" (i.e. 8.5"x11") size paper.
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  #12  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:31 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Doctor_Why_Bother, where are you? Where does the cookbook you're using come from? Knowing this would give us information that would allow us to help you better.
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  #13  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:34 AM
Giles Giles is online now
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In Australia we have "metric cups", where 1 cup = 250 ml. That's close enough to the American cup for most purposes.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:50 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Outside of the USA (and perhaps Canada) you probably can't. Not ones that are calibrated to US measures.
You can get them here in the UK, in most cook shops and hardware stores.

Accurate electronic scales are also quite cheap here - my advice would be to get cups and scales and when you encounter a recipe that specifies cups, make it that way the first time, but weigh as you go, then make it by weight in future.

Working by weight is better for all-in-one type recipes, because you can just zero the scales and start weighing in the next ingredient.

And BTW, OP, if you come across a US recipe that specifies 'sticks' of butter, that's approximately 115g per stick.
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  #15  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:51 AM
chela chela is offline
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Congrats on trying to become a better cook. Yes get the right measuring tools for liquids and solids. realize that cook books are a set of guidleines mostly but you really have to have your heart and soul in to get a good result. Use your senses to guide you, and don't be afraid to improvise!
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  #16  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:57 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by gracer View Post
OP, just use recipes that use weight measurements. If you find a recipe that wants cups you can easily google for a conversion. You can also buy some cups, but you have to find a way of not freaking out about the thought that if you compress the flour more flour will fit in the cup...
That way is by learning that when using volume measurements, one does not pack flour. White sugar isn't compactable, so it doesn't matter. Brown sugar is compactable, and should be compacted when using volume measurements. Those are your main three powders regularly subjected to cups, so that's all you really need to remember: flour, spoon it into the cup lightly and level it off with the back of a knife. Sugar, scoop it with the cup and level it off by shaking it gently (or with the back of a knife). Brown sugar, mash it into the cup with your clean hand, and then resist the urge to lick the residual brown sugar off your fingers if your mother-in-law is in the kitchen with you.

And, yes, weights are more accurate. But the dirty little secret of cooking that keeps people scared until they learn it: Accuracy doesn't matter very much in cooking. It matters a bit more in baking, but its impact is overstated for the home baker making small batches. Americans have been turning out a ridiculous number of cakes, cookies, pies, donuts and other pastries over the last 300 years, and we've managed to do it just fine with volumetric measurements!
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:03 AM
Learjeff Learjeff is offline
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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
In Australia we have "metric cups", where 1 cup = 250 ml. That's close enough to the American cup for most purposes.
Bingo. It's not just Australia, it's anywhere that metric is used, I believe.

A more accurate conversion is 238 ml/cup, but recipes rarely need such accuracy, and so the 250 ml cup is the usual simple conversion.
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  #18  
Old 01-11-2014, 09:08 AM
Learjeff Learjeff is offline
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BTW, when I was first living alone, I found a book called "Campus Survival Cookbook". It may not have been a great cookbook, but it was great since it explained things practically all other cookbooks assume (reasonably so) that you know how to chop an onion, etc.

I strongly recommend you look for a "Cooking for Dummies" or similar type of book, which can walk you through the basics and quickly get you to the point where you can understand most ordinary cookbooks.

Those who love to cook are thrice blessed. Not only can they enjoy making their creations, and then eating them, best of all, they can share them with the people in their lives. It's an excellent skill to develop and a great interest to cultivate. I confess I failed at this; I'd rather do the dishes than cook, but since my wife loves to cook and is excellent at it, it works out quite well.

Good luck!

BTW, you will also want a set of measuring spoons. They usually come in a set of 4 or 5, from tablespoon down to half teaspoon. Plus a number of other standard items -- get that beginner's book and buy whatever they recommend. Also, watch cooking shows on TV. You can learn a lot of tricks for doing things quickly that way.

Last edited by Learjeff; 01-11-2014 at 09:11 AM..
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  #19  
Old 01-11-2014, 09:13 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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For more precise things like baking, you can find charts that give conversions from volume to weight for common ingredients. I keep such a chart on my fridge since I often prefer to bake by weight.
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  #20  
Old 01-11-2014, 09:13 AM
Learjeff Learjeff is offline
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Of course the beginner's book will explain this, but there are two kinds of measuring cups: the glass kind you fill to a line, and the metal kind you fill to the top and then swipe off any extra. (Wet vs dry measures.) They're the same measures, just different ways of handling it for different kinds of stuff.
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  #21  
Old 01-11-2014, 09:14 AM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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I entirely agree. Inviting people round to dinner is one of life's pleasures. I do the cooking and Mrs Bob does the table etc. Food (hopefully good, though I have been known to fail), good wine, and above all good company.
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  #22  
Old 01-11-2014, 09:37 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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How to Boil Water <excellent book for the truly beginner cook. I like it because it doesn't stop with grilled cheese and salad (although those are in there) but also includes recipes with slightly more exotic ingredients, like fresh herbs and fresh mozzarella - nothing you can't find at a decent supermarket, but real grown up food.
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  #23  
Old 01-11-2014, 10:12 AM
Xema Xema is offline
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Originally Posted by Doctor_Why_Bother View Post
... a great many of them insist on using the random, generic, and entirely arbitrary measure of a 'Cup' ...
Because (as you indicate) arbitrary measurements make little sense in a recipe, it might have been wise to infer the possibility of this being a standard unit of measure. A search on "cup unit" readily confirms this.
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  #24  
Old 01-11-2014, 10:13 AM
Xema Xema is offline
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Originally Posted by Learjeff View Post
A more accurate conversion is 238 ml/cup
Actually, 236.588.
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  #25  
Old 01-11-2014, 10:19 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Actually, 236.588.
No, 238 ml is indeed more accurate than 250 ml, as stated.
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  #26  
Old 01-11-2014, 10:39 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Originally Posted by Doctor_Why_Bother View Post
However, I'm having a hell of a lot of trouble deciphering the recipes in my cookbook, because a great many of them insist on using the random, generic, and entirely arbitrary measure of a 'Cup' when measuring quantities.
As you have seen here, a "cup" in a cooking recipe is not random, generic, nor arbitrary. I'm quite curious, however, how you came to have a cookbook that uses this term whereas you were not familiar with it. A gift from overseas, perhaps?
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  #27  
Old 01-11-2014, 11:05 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by gracer View Post
OP, just use recipes that use weight measurements. If you find a recipe that wants cups you can easily google for a conversion. You can also buy some cups, but you have to find a way of not freaking out about the thought that if you compress the flour more flour will fit in the cup...
Ha! Here's what Cooking for Engineers has to say about Nestlé Toll House Cookies:
Quote:
The recipe calls for 2-1/4 cup flour (which is 280 g if the flour has been sifted or up to 360 g if the flour has completely settled)…

You may have noticed that I was not precise with the mass of the flour. This is because Nestlé's recipe only states: "2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour". Is this flour sifted (as all flour should be before measuring), unsifted, or settled for one year and then packed down to fit as much as possible in a cup?
The author conducted several tests, resulting in a 'trashcan full of excess cookies, empty Costco bags of Toll House morsels, and a colleague... who ate over 2000 calories of soft, gooey cookies during two or three hours…', and concluded that the intended amount of flour in the recipe was 160 g per cup, or 360 g total for the recipe. So in this case, the flour is to be scooped out of the bin as-is. The author says that the best way to achieve repeatable results is to sift the flour and measure by weight. For the cookies, that would be 2.75 cups of sifted flour.

Speaking of 'cups', my coffee maker says it makes 12 cups. It doesn't. It fills my coffee cup four or five times. It seems a 'cup' of coffee is six fluid ounces.

Cooking needn't be precise. I like to follow the recipe the first time I make something so that I can expect the result to be as the recipe-writer intended. Following a recipe is handy when I'm making something I don't make often, as well. But once I'm comfortable with a dish, or if I'm improvising, I use the TLAR method.

I do have the nested measuring cups, but I find them useful for approximations. If I want to be more precise, I use a one-cup or two-cup glass measuring cup. These are graduated in fractions of cups, ounces, and millilitres, and you can see the meniscus for liquid measurements. But as I said, cooking isn't that precise. Just get the ratios approximately right, and you'll be fine. But the glass measuring cups are handier (for me) than the nested metal or plastic ones.
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:28 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Because (as you indicate) arbitrary measurements make little sense in a recipe...
There is, however, the infuriating (to a new cook) "to taste" measurement! As in, "salt and pepper to taste" or even worse, "oregano, to taste."

"To taste" means - as much or as little as you need to get it to taste how you like it. This isn't so annoying for salt and pepper, as you can add a little, taste it, and add more and see how it changes. As long as you go slowly, you can generally find the point where it's perfect for you.

But there are some things, like oregano and garlic, which change dramatically in flavor as you cook them! So putting "to taste" for those kinds of ingredients is killer on a new cook. An experienced cook will know about how much oregano a dish needs even if it's a new recipe. A beginner has no idea! They've got to guess, and then taste the finished dish and if it tastes awful, they've got to try to guess which ingredient did it and if it was too little or too much.

My family is notorious for the measurement, "enough". As in, "how much vinegar do I add?" "Enough." Related measurements are "so much," "a skosh," "a bit," "a dollop" and "some." Luckily for the world, we only inflict such "recipes" on each other, and not for publication!
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  #29  
Old 01-11-2014, 11:31 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Ha! Here's what Cooking for Engineers has to say about Nestlé Toll House Cookies:

The author conducted several tests, resulting in a 'trashcan full of excess cookies, empty Costco bags of Toll House morsels, and a colleague... who ate over 2000 calories of soft, gooey cookies during two or three hours…', and concluded that the intended amount of flour in the recipe was 160 g per cup, or 360 g total for the recipe. So in this case, the flour is to be scooped out of the bin as-is. The author says that the best way to achieve repeatable results is to sift the flour and measure by weight. For the cookies, that would be 2.75 cups of sifted flour.

Speaking of 'cups', my coffee maker says it makes 12 cups. It doesn't. It fills my coffee cup four or five times. It seems a 'cup' of coffee is six fluid ounces.

Cooking needn't be precise. I like to follow the recipe the first time I make something so that I can expect the result to be as the recipe-writer intended. Following a recipe is handy when I'm making something I don't make often, as well. But once I'm comfortable with a dish, or if I'm improvising, I use the TLAR method.

I do have the nested measuring cups, but I find them useful for approximations. If I want to be more precise, I use a one-cup or two-cup glass measuring cup. These are graduated in fractions of cups, ounces, and millilitres, and you can see the meniscus for liquid measurements. But as I said, cooking isn't that precise. Just get the ratios approximately right, and you'll be fine. But the glass measuring cups are handier (for me) than the nested metal or plastic ones.
There are some things that it just makes no sense to specify by volume. "Add 1/2 cup of mushrooms/tomatoes" is meaningless. Chopped? Whole? Diced?
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  #30  
Old 01-11-2014, 11:33 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
It seems a 'cup' of coffee is six fluid ounces.
Yes it is. I'm not sure why the coffee people chose to be ornery and concoct their own definition for a "cup" but there it is - six fluid ounces of coffee per cup.

Unless people are into demitasse servings, nobody drinks a "cup" of coffee - my coffee "cup" at work measures out to a comfortable 20 ounces.
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  #31  
Old 01-11-2014, 11:36 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
There are some things that it just makes no sense to specify by volume. "Add 1/2 cup of mushrooms/tomatoes" is meaningless. Chopped? Whole? Diced?
Almost always, the stated amount for that type of thing is meaningless. Chopped, whole, minced, or diced should be obvious based on what you're making; but I find the amount is usually too little. Too much salt or a particular spice is one thing. But bulky things like vegetables or shredded cheese or meat is another.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:38 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Since this thread has progressed beyond the factual question asked in the OP and has moved on to include general cooking advice (and it has made me develop a sudden craving for cookies), let's move it over to Cafe Society.

Moving thread from General Questions to Cafe Society.
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  #33  
Old 01-11-2014, 01:01 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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IF the OP is from an English-speaking country other than the USA, why is he (or she) encountering cookbooks with recipes that call for CUPS (as opposed to metric weights [or more pedantically, masses])?
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  #34  
Old 01-11-2014, 01:12 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Rice cookers ask for a 'cup' of rice or water, but they invariably mean that little plastic cup that comes with it, which is only 180 ml.

Edit: kaylasdad99, my guesses were second-hand cookbooks, or perhaps cookbooks bought from overseas (even via Kindle etc.) by various 'celebrity' chefs or that are supposed to be 'standard' cookbooks but weren't converted for the local market. As an American, I've bought cookbooks from the UK or Australia that obviously were written with their home audience in mind. Some US cookbook writers try to take metric measurements into consideration as a secondarily-noted measurement, but with varying levels of success.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 01-11-2014 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:16 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is online now
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You can certainly buy US measuring cups in Canada and most of our recipes use them. I find cups quite convenient. In most cases, the measurements are not crucial. I mean if a recipe calls for 2 cloves of garlic, you can see that that is horribly imprecise. In the end you have to use your judgment. I find it quite easy to cook using volumetric measurements. I do own a scale but rarely use it.

BTW, the US and Imperial ounce are also not the same. So that a US pint is about 5/6 (not 4/5) of an Imperial pint. Does that matter in cooking? Short answer: no.
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  #36  
Old 01-11-2014, 01:40 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Cups are easy to use. You never pack flour into a measure cup. Scoop it full and gently level off the top with a knife. Simple.

Sometimes a recipe will tell you to pack the cup. Thats usually brown sugar. I can't think of anything else.

liquid measures are based on factors of 8

8 oz to a cup
16 oz to a pint
32 oz to a quart
64 oz half gallon
128 oz in a gallon

2 tablespoons equals 1 oz

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-11-2014 at 01:42 PM..
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  #37  
Old 01-11-2014, 01:45 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
...an American pint of 16 fluid ounces, which is very different from a British pint (20 fluid ounces).
You need to retain space for the head or the beer goes all over the bar.
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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
In Australia we have "metric cups", where 1 cup = 250 ml. That's close enough to the American cup for most purposes.
And as an ingredient list really only shows the proportions of each ingredient, if you consistently use the same measuring tools you will end up with a fair approximation of what the writer intended. The art comes from knowing the adjustments to make so it tastes the best to you. To wit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
There is, however, the infuriating (to a new cook) "to taste" measurement! As in, "salt and pepper to taste" or even worse, "oregano, to taste."
...
My family is notorious for the measurement, "enough". As in, "how much vinegar do I add?" "Enough." Related measurements are "so much," "a skosh," "a bit," "a dollop" and "some."
I use "about yea" a lot, but I am giving visual demonstration at the time. Cooking is a skill learned by doing it, and recipes are just rough guidelines. America's Test Kitchen, though, claims its recipes are the results of many experiments, and even the failure were probably pretty darn good. I'd be morbidly obese if I worked there. Oh, wait....
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:15 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Cooking needn't be precise.
This. For a lot of things, a wide range is close enough. So a "cup" is about a quarter liter, and you can use a little more or less to suit your taste.

Asking my wife, the only exception would be making cake from scratch, where the ingredients need to be in the right proportion. It's important for bread, but you need to do that by feel (she says). You can add a little water or a little flour to get the right consistency.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:15 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Please allow me to fill in some blank spots.

When measuring liquids, surface tension pulls the liquid a little higher than the actual surface (that's called the meniscus.) To get a standard cup, the top of the meniscus comes to the line.

For dry measures, fill a little above the measuring cup, and level it off by dragging a straight edge across the top.

In the coffee making world, for some reason, a cup is 5 ounces.

Flour is tricky stuff. Scooping it up can compress it, and sifting can inflate it unreliably. It's better to weigh it. The chart I use says a cup of flour is 140g. If you're paying attention, you noticed that differs from the chart in Bozuit's link. In my bread making, 140 works very well.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:21 PM
Balance Balance is offline
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My family is notorious for the measurement, "enough". As in, "how much vinegar do I add?" "Enough." Related measurements are "so much," "a skosh," "a bit," "a dollop" and "some." Luckily for the world, we only inflict such "recipes" on each other, and not for publication!
You left out "until it smells right", which is a point of minor contention in my family.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:24 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by AskNott View Post
When measuring liquids, surface tension pulls the liquid a little higher than the actual surface (that's called the meniscus.) To get a standard cup, the top of the meniscus comes to the line.
I mentioned the meniscus earlier. When using laboratory glassware, you read the bottom of the meniscus. Is the convention different with kitchen measuring glassware? (Not that it's going to make a difference in cooking.)
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:40 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
IF the OP is from an English-speaking country other than the USA, why is he (or she) encountering cookbooks with recipes that call for CUPS (as opposed to metric weights [or more pedantically, masses])?
I not sure why you think cups are rare outside the US. I've been seeing and using cups, 1/2 cups, tablespoons, teaspoons etc in recipes in New Zealand and Australia for years.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:40 PM
Girl From Mars Girl From Mars is offline
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Use of cups as a measure is still very common in Australia and NZ, although as mentioned it's a metric cup, not the US one. Recipes often include a weight as well (particularly when baking as noted above) - but I reckon just about every household would have a cup measure. There are stores that sell the US version too, but I always just manually adjust down a little.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:47 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I mentioned the meniscus earlier. When using laboratory glassware, you read the bottom of the meniscus. Is the convention different with kitchen measuring glassware? (Not that it's going to make a difference in cooking.)
No, it shouldn't be different. Perhaps we're describing it differently between people?
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:58 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
No, it shouldn't be different. Perhaps we're describing it differently between people?
Here is what I mean. That's for the image, which may not be linkable. From the page (red emphasis mine):
Quote:
So, here’s the rule to follow: the bottom of the meniscus has to touch the top of the line. Glass is hydrophilic, so water in a glass container is attracted to the glass, forming a curved surface. That curved water surface is called a meniscus. Thus, the official way to fill glassware, to account for both the curve of the meniscus and the thickness of the fill-lines, is to carefully line up the bottom of the meniscus with the top of the desired line.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:38 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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inside a glass cylinder water will have meniscus that has a bottom.

at the top of a vessel it will rise slightly above the top edge of the vessel.
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Old 01-11-2014, 06:29 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
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Originally Posted by gracer View Post
"... In the UK people don't use cups as much, probably because cups are frankly a terrible way of measuring ingredients..."
Cups are a very good way of measuring

Say your recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 2 cups of oatmeal and 2 cups of orange juice, and four cups of oatmeal, etc etc. You get out your cup and cook away!

However... In the UK you have to weigh all those ingredients

Last edited by Lukeinva; 01-11-2014 at 06:30 PM..
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:36 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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I got by for years not knowing, and not needing to know, that a "Cup" is 8 oz. (although I had occasion to learn recently).

Here's the simple approach, and all you need (for starters at least):

A "Cup" is that amount which fills a receptacle which bears the label "1 Cup" or "1 C".

So just get that set of measuring cups and spoons, and when you need a cup, or a tsp, or a half-cup or whatever: Just find the receptacle with the right label on it, and fill that to the top (or to the "fill line").
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:07 AM
InsomniaMama InsomniaMama is offline
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Originally Posted by Lukeinva View Post
Say your recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 2 cups of oatmeal and 2 cups of orange juice, and four cups of oatmeal, etc etc.
I don't think I want to eat at your house ...
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:35 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
inside a glass cylinder water will have meniscus that has a bottom.

at the top of a vessel it will rise slightly above the top edge of the vessel.
I mis-read your post; but since I hit reply already, I'll go ahead…

A measuring cup (note the American and Metric markings, BTW) usually isn't cylindrical. More of an inverted truncated cone. I happened to have a glass custard cup in the drying rack. The slope of the sides are steeper than those of a measuring cup, but the vessel is A) glass; and B) not cylindrical. I put some water in it and looked at it. The meniscus was definitely concave. Had I over-filled it, it would have been convex (above the rim).

Which is what you said in your post, except I mis-read/misinterpreted it.
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