When you read through recipes, there are often modifiers listed after the ingredients that tell you how they are supposed to be used. For instance, onions might be listed as “onions, diced” or apples might be listed as “apples, peeled and cored.” Ingredients are also frequently listed as “divided,” especially in baking recipes. When an ingredient is listed as being “divided,” the recipe is giving you the total amount of an ingredient needed for your dish while also indicating that it will not be used all at once.
At first glance, it seems like this is a confusing way to write a recipe. However, it is just as confusing to see an ingredient listed multiple times in a recipe with a different amount given each time. Since ingredients are typically only used once in each recipe, seeing it pop up a second time can also throw off a cook or baker easily.
When the word “divided” shows up, it means that you need to measure out the total amount you need, then read through the recipe to determine how to subdivide it. If you make a habit of reading all the way through the recipe before you start, you won’t be surprised when you start to measure ingredients and you’ll end up putting the correct amounts in at the right times. And for the times when you might forget to read ahead before we measure and you encounter it as you are working, just consider that the word “divided” is a reminder to stop and read the whole recipe before you add in too much or too little of whatever ingredient you’re working with.
You don’t always have to measure ingredients when cooking like you do when you’re baking. You can get away with adding a big pinch of oregano to a recipe or “eyeballing” a tablespoon or so of ground cumin when making chili. But it is nice to know exactly how much you’re adding to a recipe, especially if you get a good result and want to reproduce it the next time, or if a dish doesn’t turn out and you don’t want to make the same mistake twice. I know that die-hard “eyeballers” don’t always want to pull out measuring spoons and cups just to make a pasta sauce, but there is at least one gadget that can streamline the process.
The Portion Cooking Spoon is an all-in-one cooking tool that allows you to mix, stir and measure both wet and dry ingredients all in one gadget. It is definitely not a unitasker! The bottom of the spoon is made of heat-resistant silicone and has easy to use measurements for 1 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons. It eliminates the need to pull out a set of measuring spoons when cooking, but also allows you to get your spices and other additions measured a lot more accurately than “eyeballing” does. The handle of the spoon is hollow and can measure liquids up to 1/4 cup in volume. It is ideal for measuring a quick splash of olive oil, wine, cream or other common cooking liquids. The plastic handle also detaches from the base of the spoon for easier cleaning, too.
Most measuring spoon sets come with round spoons. This design isn’t a problem most of the time, but I’ll run into a problem with it from time to time because those rounded spoons won’t fit into some of my smaller jars. This happens with spices, especially with those stored in smaller jars, and even with some sugars that I keep in small containers, such as vanilla sugar or lemon sugar. The large spoons just don’t fit into the mouths of those jars and, frankly, it would be nice not to have to resort to only using the 1/4 teaspoon measure to get those spices out. One solution is to switch to measuring spoons that have a more streamlined design that will allow them to fit inside of spice jars and other narrow spices, like this Endurance Spice Measuring Spoon Set. The set includes 1/8 tsp, 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp , 3/4 tsp, 1 tsp and 1 tbsp measures, all with a long, narrow design. For the smallest measurements the design may not make a difference, but it is a pleasure being able to fit that tablespoon measurement into a jar with no-fuss. Many people will also find the addition of the 3/4 tsp measure, which is not found in most basic measuring sets, comes in handy more often than you’d think (I find that gingerbreads and other spice-heavy recipes often call for 3/4 tsp measures).
This kitchen gadget is dedicated to anyone out there who is a fan of the movie Transformers, the older cartoon or anyone who just loves the idea of having a robot to help around the kitchen. Of course, The Robo Cup Measuring Cups are not automated robots that are going to do your bidding or transform on their own. They are a set of standard measuring cups that that stack up into a nearly 8-inch high robot when not in use. The set includes 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup measures and all of the pieces are made of food-safe plastic. On the back of the robot, each of the pieces has the size clearly imprinted on it, so you don’t need to remember that the head is 1/3 cup and the feet are 1/4 cup on your own. While the robot will take up a bit more space than a standard set of measuring cups, it doesn’t need to be kept in a drawer. This retro robot can sit out on the counter, ready for action any time you get the urge to bake.
There are all kind of ways to save space in the kitchen. The most common is to use nesting cups and bowls, minimizing the space required for a set by allowing them to nestle inside one another. Wilton Twist’n Measure takes this concept a step further by eliminating the stack and getting you down to just one cup for most of your measuring needs. The Twist’n Measure is a measuring cup with an adjustable base that can go from 1/8th of a cup all the way up to a whole cup, simply by twisting the base. The sliding base locks into place for each measurement, and can easily be reset when the cup is empty so that you can start again for the next ingredient. It is definitely a space saver, and it can also be a time saver since you won’t need to scout around for a missing 1/3 cup measure the next time you realize you need one. The scoop is plastic and disassembles easily to that it can be washed, and it’s machine washable, too.