In recipes, quantities of ingredients may be specified by mass (commonly called weight), by volume, or by count.
For most of history, most cookbooks did not specify quantities precisely, instead talking of "a nice leg of spring lamb", a "cupful" of lentils, a piece of butter "the size of a walnut", and "sufficient" salt. Informal measurements such as a "pinch", a "drop", or a "hint" (soupçon) continue to be used from time to time. In the US, Fannie Farmer introduced the more exact specification of quantities by volume in her 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.
United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. The U.S. customary system developed from English units which were in use in the British Empire before American independence. Consequently most U.S. units are virtually identical to the British imperial units. However, the British system was overhauled in 1824, changing the definitions of some units used there, so several differences exist between the two systems.
The majority of U.S. customary units were redefined in terms of the meter and the kilogram with the Mendenhall Order of 1893, and in practice, for many years before. These definitions were refined by the international yard and pound agreement of 1959. The U.S. primarily uses customary units in its commercial activities, while science, medicine, government, and many sectors of industry use metric units. The SI metric system, or International System of Units is preferred for many uses by NIST
The system of imperial units or the imperial system (also known as British Imperial) is the system of units first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which was later refined and reduced. The system came into official use across the British Empire. By the late 20th century, most nations of the former empire had officially adopted the metric system as their main system of measurement, but some Imperial units are still used in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Food energy is energy that animals (including humans) derive from their food, through the process of cellular respiration, the process of joining oxygen with the molecules of food (aerobic respiration) or of reorganizing the atoms within the molecules for anaerobic respiration.
Humans and other animals need a minimum intake of food energy to sustain their metabolism and drive their muscles. Foods are composed chiefly of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water represent virtually all the weight of food, with vitamins and minerals making up only a small percentage of the weight. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins comprise ninety percent of the dry weight of foods. Food energy is derived from carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well as organic acids, polyols, and ethanol present in the diet. Some diet components that provide little or no food energy, such as water, minerals, vitamins and fiber, may still be necessary to health and survival for other reasons. Water contains very stable chemical bonds and so cannot be oxidized to provide energy. Vitamins and minerals are present in very small amounts (in milli- or micrograms) and also cannot be used for energy. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, cannot be completely digested by the human body. Ruminants can extract food energy from the respiration of cellulose thanks to bacteria in their rumens.
A dessert spoon is a spoon designed specifically for eating dessert and sometimes used for soup or cereals. Similar in size to a soup spoon (intermediate between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) but with an oval rather than round bowl, it typically has a capacity around twice that of a teaspoon.
The use of dessert spoons around the world varies greatly; in some areas, they are very common while in other places the use of the dessert spoon is almost unheard of—with diners using forks or teaspoons for their desserts instead.
A measuring spoon is a spoon used to measure an amount of an ingredient, either liquid or dry, when cooking. Measuring spoons may be made of plastic, metal, and other materials. They are available in many sizes, including teaspoon and tablespoon. In the U.S., a measuring spoon is number of pieces, especially four or six. This usually includes ¼, ½, and 1 teaspoons and 1 tablespoon.
In Japan, usually two spoons are used: a large spoon (大さじ Ōsaji ) and a small spoon (小さじ Kosaji or Shōsaji ). A large spoon is 15 milliliter, and a small spoon is 5 milliliter. Sometimes a much smaller spoon may be used, usually a 2.5 milliliter spoon. (½ small spoon)