100 Years Ago – A Most Unusual Measuring Chart

This post is another installment in the 100 Years Ago series based on writings found in a home reference manual written in 1902.

100 year old book

I take my measuring cup for granted. I bet you do too. Measuring cups and spoons have become the universal language of the kitchen that make it easy for cooks to create and share recipes with accuracy. What would we do without them?

I guess I do have one little strategy for when I’m without measuring spoons. My mother told me years ago that if I didn’t have measuring spoons handy, to just use a “regular” spoon for a teaspoon and to use a soup spoon for a tablespoon. I’m guessing this was a piece of advice she learned from her mother back in the day. Every now and then I still fall back on that strategy when I’m in a hurry. Is it accurate? I’ve never taken the time to find out.

That kind of approach to cooking and measuring must have been much more common 100 years ago, based on this handy “Kitchen Weights and Measures” chart that I found in my old book. The chart started out sounding pretty familiar, but got more interesting as it went along:

“2 and one half teaspoonfuls = one talblespoonful
Four tablespoonfuls = one wineglassful
Two wineglassfuls = one gill
Two gills = one teacupful
Two teacupfuls = one pint”

Kind of makes you wonder if all wineglasses and teacups were the same size back then, doesn’t it? They must have been for a chart like this to work. And how full were they filling those wineglasses and teacups? Almost full? Right to the tippy top full? Seems rather confusing to me.

But that’s probably only because I’ve become so reliant on my measuring cup with lines that tell me exactly what to do. Reliable I guess, but not very adventurous.

Maybe next week, just for fun, I’ll try making some recipes with winglasses and teacups.

Can’t wait to see what the family says about that!

Need a few more bright ideas?
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  1. So true that accurate measuring can be more helpful in baking. A little more or less salt in a meat dish is not going to make that much difference, but a little too much or too less flour in your cookies can leave you with some sad results.

  2. PS I just posted a link to your site and several of your posts. Your site is awesome!

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  3. I know I eyeball stuff too much when it comes to cooking. However, when it comes to baking, I am little more serious.

    Found you from BlogFrog and am following you:)

  4. I think old time cooks had a much better feel for improvising with what was available. They cooked more by look and feel than we do. But we're learning!

  5. I totally admire the cooks of 'old times.' We have it so easy with all our modern conveniences, don't we! I think they must have also learned from one another much more than we do today.

  6. Our grandmother's made some pretty awesome food with their measuring tricks, didn't they? That reminds me of how my grandmother and mother measured fabric by stretching it from their nose to the end of their arm. That was supposed to equal one yard. I still do that sometimes too!