From ounces, cups, teaspoons and degrees to pounds and pinches, the kitchen can make you wish you really had paid closer attention in math class. Luckily there are a number of items that can help even the most math-deficient cook make sense of all those numbers and measurements found in most recipes.
Measuring spoons are used mainly for measuring dry ingredients such as spices, seasonings and baking powders. Many recipes call for multiple ingredients and some, especially baking recipes, require exact measurements for optimal results. Many sets come in small increments and can measure ingredients from 1/8 teaspoon up to one full tablespoon. Measuring spoons are manufactured with a variety of materials, including plastic, aluminum, copper, stainless steel and chrome-plated steel.
Like measuring spoons, measuring cups come in a wide variety of materials and are used for both dry and liquid measuring. Dry measuring cups usually measure from 1/8 cup up to a full cup. Liquid measuring can sometimes be made of glass or clear plastic to help see the liquid volume more clearly and will typically be equipped with a handle and pouring spout. Larger liquid measuring cups can sometimes have a number of different measurements marked on their surface differentiating enabling to measure ingredients in standard or metric volume and can measure in liters or gallons.
Electronic and spring scales can help measure weight of ingredients or items helping to ensure accuracy of ingredients or consistency in portion size. Baking or grilling time will vary with the size and weight of meat items. A ham, for example, may recommend baking for 15 minutes per pound, so an accurate weight is important when attempting to gauge doneness, especially if a thermometer is not available. Baking recipes may also require measuring out a specific weight of dough or other ingredients to help ensure a successful end result.
Thermometers have a wide range of usage around the kitchen and can come in many forms. Freezer and refrigerator temperatures can be kept at optimal temperatures by monitoring thermometers placed in those storage compartments. Probe-type thermometers can help determine the doneness of meats and other items when inserted into the core product. Liquid and candy thermometers can be useful for monitoring tempered liquids used for baking or confection-making and grease used for deep frying.