Measuring?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by teamfat, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. teamfat

    teamfat

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    So I'm watching this cooking video and the chef is going to sweat some onion.  He very carefully measures exactly two tablespoons of oil into his skillet.

    And it occurred to me I have no idea when I last measured oil into a pan like that.  Do you measure, or guess?

    mjb.
     
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    That's enough to turn me off from watching.  I like Ina Garten but measuring out pepper?  weird 

    I suppose some people need that but it's a paint by numbers type of cooking.  I go freestyle!
     
  3. mtullius

    mtullius

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    Me too. With the exception of baked goods and candy, I can't think of anything I make that I measure. Even when I make jam, I don't use pectin so I can just sweeten to taste.

    I can see the need for it in restaurants for quality and cost control. But for me its just extra work and dirty dishes.

    Oh I do measure when cooking rice.
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It depends on your goals as a cook or a video producer.

    Overall,  I think it's highly reasonable for a video oriented guide to measure, or at least pre-measure. For a casual cook, eyeballing is likely to lead to waste and consuming more oil than they should. Experienced cooks really aren't the target market. 

    Most of the people producing videos really aren't as experienced as the common poster here at cheftalk in my opinion. 
     
  5. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    This is done for the novice housewives that never cook, and whose idea of dinner is reservations out .!
     
  6. maryb

    maryb

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    Measure? What is t hat? Outside of baking no need.
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Or for husbands like mine, who's wife never gives up reign of the kitchen except on nights I'm out.
     
  8. teamfat

    teamfat

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    For the bean challenge I did a batch of red beans.  A key ingredient in the way I make it is pickle meat.  The original recipe I started with called for 12 black peppercorns.  Really?  Will 13, or 11, or 15 ruin the dish?

    mjb.
     
  9. butzy

    butzy

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    I do measure somewhat when making spice mixes (like cajun spice or shawarma spice), just to keep the proportions right.
    And for baking.
     
  10. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    I always measure scrupulously when baking something --especially the first time I make it. And when I'm doing spice rubs or marinades, I like guidelines for proportions although I almost always double the garlic! Rice and grains I always measure--and still often end up with sticky or undercooked rice. I think I need a rice cooker but have no room for one. Coffee--I always measure my coffee, A disappointing cup of coffee is so, well...disappointing. I don't think I've ever measured the amount of oil I put in a pan to sweat or saute aromatics.
     
  11. mikelm

    mikelm

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    "...I almost always double the garlic!"

    Isn't that the way everybody cooks?

    Well, except for the "almost" part.../img/vbsmilies/smilies/smiles.gif

    Mike
     
  12. french fries

    french fries

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    I usually double garlic, double ginger, double fish sauce, double everything pretty much. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
     
  13. genemachine

    genemachine

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    I tend to drive a lot of my friends nuts when they ask me for a recipe. "Man, that was tasty, got a recipe" - "Yeah, well you take this, this and this..." - "How much of it?" - "Hm, well, enough that it tastes right": 

    Outside of baking or certain desserts, I do everything to taste and measure nothing.
     
  14. chefross

    chefross

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    I have found that many people can not cook without a recipe in front of them.

    They can not conceive cooking without measuring ingredients just as written. 
     
  15. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I double the garlic even if the recipe calls for no garlic.  

    When I look for new recipes I read only the ingredient list and skim through the instructions.  I figure that if I'm familiar with the technique I know which order the ingredients need to go in.

    It goes without saying that in a recipe where the chemistry needs to work out there needs to be measuring, like baking and grains sometimes.  I don't even measure with rice, just cook it like pasta most of the time.  Sometimes however you can get away with ratios like bechamel, spice mixes etc.

    There is also nothing wrong with measuring or with following recipes.  It's great when people start out cooking and shouldn't feel discouraged to do so.  I prefer when watching a cooking program though to see a chef cooking without strict measurements like Jamie Oliver.  I can imagine though that someone else that's never made a pasta dish for example would feel overwhelmed by his movements and be made to feel like they can't do it themselves.  Luckily his printed recipes do include measurements.

    I also find it annoying when recipes or tv cookies measure certain ingredients such as one cup full of onion, one tbsp of minced garlic, 3/4 cup of diced celery...  what?  I measure by whole produce not tbsp and cups of grated portions of produce.
     
  16. teamfat

    teamfat

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    If the recipe calls for one tablespoon of minced garlic and the cloves I used generate one and a quarter tablespoons, of course I throw the excess into the dumpster.  Honest, trust me, would I lie to you?
     
  17. maryb

    maryb

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    Only double the garlic? I tripl eit or more if it is for just myself. I am a serious garlic freak, I will sprinkle a little salt on a slice and eat it raw.
     
  18. mikelm

    mikelm

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    MaryB-

    You and I should get together, nibble a little garlic and breathe on each other /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smoking.gif

    Mike

    Well, as long as our spouses don't find out
     
  19. jaycobb1045

    jaycobb1045

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    As a home cook, I have developed a system that is a sort of hybrid of the approaches mentioned so far in this thread.  Whenever I'm making a dish for the very first time, I research several recipes for the same dish to get a feel for what is going on in the dish.  Then I pick just one recipe from a trusted source.  Then I do follow it to the letter, but just the very first time.  I find that doing so gives me a baseline of what at least one person thinks the "standard" is for this dish.  After that, whenever I'm repeating the dish or coming up with my own variations on it, that's when I double the chiles, triple the garlic, etc.  

    Aside from that most of the time I'm just eyeballing things to what feels or tastes right.  A few exceptions as mentioned previously in the thread are spice rubs, marinades, pickling spice, and things like that where I've come up with what I think is the "perfect" balance after repeated tries.  Then it's just easier to go down the list.
     
  20. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    It depends.  If one is a novice, a video or following a specific recipe is important/helpful.  When I try a new dish, I read through the ingredients & method, & may or may not make my own changes.  I look at a recipe as a formula, in achieving the proper result - what the recipe is trying to achieve/the desired outcome.  Baking, for me, is a different ball game - very precise. I do make my own adjustments when it comes to adding salt & pepper.  I have noticed, now, that more & more "recipes" say "to taste."  Re the sweating onions - how much onion, what kind of cookware, what kind of oil, heat temp, & on & on.  Once, one has the basics down, one can change it up however one likes, IMO.