Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's A Weighty Subject . . .

For the first forty-two years of my marriage, I have been able to cook and bake in the kitchen without a kitchen scale.    Neither my mother nor my grandmother used one.    Nor did any of my friends except a few who, for a while, were on the diet where everything was weighed.      

But, alas, I gave in . . . . 

And today this little beauty came home with me.     Not because I'm on a food weighing diet, but rather, after spending the Spring in England, I fell in love with English food -- especially tea food.

And, if you've ever looked at an English cookbook, you'll find that recipes are all in ounces.    Sigh.

You can use the computer and translate 3 ounces of flour into whatever cup that translates to -- but to me that's a lot of bother.

It is much easier to use a scale!      And so, a scale came to the kitchen at Linderhof!      A quick trip downtown and life+style and I had my latest kitchen "gadget"!

My collection of English cookbooks started on my second trip, for in a used bookstore (which I ducked into ever time I saw one) I found this darling book . . .

Written by the infamous Constance Spry it was a darling book and a great read and that's what I felt it was -- a reading book - not a cookery book.

On my third trip, I brought home this tome . . .

The infamous Mrs. Beeton.

 She was to Victorians what Martha Stewart is to us.    The doyen of cookery and all things home related.        I'm sure the size of this book caused my luggage to be marked "heavy" for it's thicker than the New York City phone book and if not used as a cookery book would make a great doorstop!

I must admit that I showed great restraint on this trip.     Alloting myself just one cookery book and one tea book.        Found at Stourhead Gardens Gift Shop were these delightful books . . .

Full of wonderful tea foods and the companion book . . .

Full of great British recipes -- including the classic "Full English" and hints for the Sunday roast.

But, alas, as in all British cookbooks, the measurements are all in ounces.    

The scale, therefore, is a great solution, and my latest British cookery book -- The Constance Spry Cookery Book.    

As Mrs. Beeton was the "Martha Stewart" of the 19th Century, Constance Spry was the "Martha Stewart" of the 20th.      A florist, a cook, a caterer.     She was the one who invented Coronation Chicken.

The scale therefore, will let me cook from my collection of British Cookery Books.     I really am excited to have one for even when I'm cooking from an American cookbook and  when I halve a recipe, I don't have to guess if "just a little less than half" of the bag of chocolate chips should be 5 ounces.    I'll weigh them and know!

The Brits all seem to like "large" cookbooks.    Mrs. Beeton weighs a ton . . . . and Constance Spry?

Why, she weighs 2 pounds!

I did make an English tea cake today.     From one of my favorite blogs, The English Kitchen.   Marie is sweet for she knows that many scale lacking Americans read her blog and she always does both the ounces and the cups!

This is a delightful cake.   I love nutmeg and it is a perfect tea cake.    I cut the recipe in half so I only had "half" a cake.     It's a way to have a sweet without having scads left over.

Marie's Nutmeg Cake

A delightful cake filled with nutmeg, glazed with lemon and jam sandwiches between the layers.   I used Little Spouse on the Prairie Lemon Honey Jelly -- which, I thought, was perfect in between the layers!


Rose H (UK) said...

I love that you now have 'imperial' measurement scales Martha. Sadly all the new cookery book measurements in the UK are in metric grams and kilograms, which has forced me to buy kilogram weights for my lovely old balance scales. I'm happy to say that I still have over 200 old cookery books in pounds and ounces though!
I've got cup measurements too for your lovely American recipes though :o) The cake looks yummy by the way!

Mary said...


Pondside said...

You've made me think about dusting off the scale in the pantry and trying out some of the recipes on British blogs!

On Crooked Creek said...

You go through cookbooks as I do my decor books and magazines!!! I'll be watching for more wonderful recipes from Lines @ Linderhof!

BumbleVee said...

I still don't understand why everybody doesn't use cups and measuring spoons.... it is so much easier than using bowls or bits of paper to measure and weigh all the ingredients. Just toss it into one bowl and be done with it for the measuring cup....sigh...

I, too, had to resort to buying a scale...and I bought one with metric and imperial ... and, even for use when divvying up bread dough into two equal blobs for my bread it has come in handy... but, it is still easier to use cups and measuring spoons for cakes.... and I find the Brit recipes so much more time and dish, bowl and ..well, everything really.....consuming...