Equipment Review: Messless Measuring

October 11, 2006 at 1:06 am (Equipment reviews)

I’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately, but I’ve been wanting to give some recommendations for kitchen items as well. I’m going to start with measuring utensils, such as measuring spoons, cups, scales, etc.

Measuring spoons are probably the most commonly used utensils in my kitchen. I think the Cuisipro Oval Stainless Steel measuring spoons are the most perfectly designed spoons ever. I love these spoons for a number of reasons:

  1. They’re oval, so they fit into narrow spice jars.
  2. Their handles are curved so that the spoons lie upright when you set them on the counter, i.e. they don’t tip when you set them down.
  3. They’re made of a very thick, solid metal, so they never bend.
  4. They come in odd but handy sizes like 2/3 tsp., 1.5 tsp., and 2 tsp.  If only they’re was a 3/4 tsp.!

Cuisipro Oval Measuring SpoonsMy only complaint is that I wish the measurements were a little more visible. I’ve accidentally grabbed the 1.5 teaspoon a number of times rather than the one teaspoon measure. Another small annoyance is that the smallest spoon falls through the holes in the cutlery drawer in my dish rack.

Someday I’m going to put a bunch of nails in the wall right above my cutting board, and hang all my measuring spoons up on the wall within immediate reach, with very visible labels posted above them.  And I’ll have two of the most commonly used measurements.

I’m less picky about dry measuring cups, but I do look for cups with medium long handles, and that don’t tip when empty. Ideally, I’d prefer measuring cups that don’t have a crack between the handle and the base (since the crack always gets full of flour), but they’re difficult to find in stainless steel.  Cook’s Illustrated likes the Amco stainless steel cups, which are nice but have that crack.  I also have a set of hard plastic measuring cups, which are okay but the handles are a bit short and I don’t like to put plastic in the dishwasher.

Mini Measure Shot Glass Measuring Cup

Another favorite measuring item is my mini (or multi) measure: a shot glass sized pyrex cup for measuring 1 tsp. to 2 Tbs. of liquids. I use it all the time to measure oil, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, or any other liquids that used to get my measuring spoons all messy. No more! I have two of these glasses, and they minimize the mess. If you don’t have one I’d strongly recommend buying one. They’re only a few dollars. The only downside of these glasses is that if you put them in the dishwasher the markings will quickly come off.  Also, I’m not that sure about the accuracy of the markings.

I also have pyrex liquid measuring cups: two cup, four cups, and eight cups.  The eight cup one is pretty large and heavy, and I rarely use it.  I would prefer to have one 2 cup and one 6 cup, but I can’t find a 6 cup one anywhere.

Finally, I love having a digital scale. Eventually I’d like to have weight measurements for all my recipes, especially for vegetables. I mean, how much is three cups of shredded cabbage anyhow? Mine is the Soehnle model 65055, recommended by Cook’s Illustrated. It’s relatively small and stylish, and it’s pretty easy to read since the display extends forward of the weighing platform. If I try to weigh something in a large bowl, however, it’s sometimes difficult to see the display. The Soehnle has the essential tare function, and it’s easy to switch batch and forth between grams and ounces. It also can weigh relatively small amounts, down to 1 gram or 0.05 ounces. It has an auto-off feature, which is generally helpful but sometimes annoying.  I wish there was a way to temporarily extend the time until it turns itself off.  I’m not sure what the maximum weight it can read is, but I don’t think I’ve ever reached it. That said, my main gripe is that for some reason if you put something heavy on the scale, then turn it on, it doesn’t register. You have to turn it on, let it register zero, then put the heavy item on and then tare it. I don’t know what the problem is, but I don’t have this problem with light items, only heavy ones. I thought when I bought the scale that the weighing platform could be removed for cleaning, but I think that was a different model. It’s not that big of a deal to just wipe it down with a damp sponge, but I wish I could put the glass disk in the dishwasher.  I used to have the Salter Housewares Aquatronic Baker’s Dream, but I like my Soehnle better because it’s nicer looking, it’s more consistent, it’s easier to read, and it can weigh smaller increments.  In 2008 Cook’s Illustrated updated their review and recommended the OXO good grips food scale.

One last measuring item I own is one of those Wonder Cups that Alton Brown loves, but I use it rarely, and I wouldn’t recommend getting one. Supposedly it’s really useful for measuring sticky things like peanut butter or molasses, but I’d rather have fewer tools and just measure those items in an oiled measuring cup.


  1. Jim Casey said,

    I saw your pyrex shot glass with measurements on the side. Would you be able to let me know where you bought it?

    • captious said,

      Just search for “minimeasure” and you’ll find it.

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