Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Importance of Imperial Units

"Be careful what you wish for", they said. But I wasn't careful so I actually got what I wished for: measuring cups with imperial units. One who does not bake so often probably can't understand why it is so unbelievably handy to have the correct measuring cups. There is Google, indeed, and it's really easy to convert units to other units. Cups to deciliters, no problem, just google it. But it's just pain in the ass really, there are usually several measurements to convert and you have to round them down or up in a weird way. It takes time and the actual baking is annoying because you have to stare at your one deciliter measuring cup and wonder how on earth do you measure 0,36588 deciliters with it. Have you ever tried it? You just can't do it very accurately. And did I already say that it is annoying. It makes you wonder why you chose such a recipe and what is wrong with Americans in the first place.

I assume that my boyfriend chose the measuring cup set based on the functionality (it's not exactly easy to find measuring cups with imperial units here in Finland as they are not the official units here) but they are actually really pretty and please my aesthetics. Somehow I wish all my measuring cups and bowls and other baking equipment were as pretty. I enjoy pretty things in the kitchen too and I am quite of a snob sometimes. Not snob enough to use my ugly old plastic bowls though but still snob enough to wish they were prettier.

Having these measuring cups as actual physical objects also helps me to understand their size better and how they relate to each other. It's easy for me to imagine how much is one or two deciliters since I'm very used to the size of their measuring cups. It's like knowing the size of a regular mug or a glass. You just know how big they generally are. But trying to imagine the exact size of 2,36588 mugs or glasses: considerably harder. So it is difficult for me to imagine the size of the dough when reading through a new recipe. I know how much one cup is in deciliters but multiplying that with one or two or three... I just get lost. Three cups doesn't sound much but it is actually quite a lot of flour, enough to bake one bread! I believe that being able to actually hold the measuring cups, being able to feel their size and to see their size, will definitely help me with this, especially when I get more and more used to them. I expect that eventually one cup becomes one cup for me, and not 2,36588 deciliters. It's a nice thing to think about.

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