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Many women are familiar with the importance of accurate measurements in preparing foods. Others frequently complain of the troubles they have with recipes, but what they actually need to know is that we no longer live in the days of twenty-five cents a dozen for fresh eggs and that the day of thirty cents per pound for creamery butter of excellent quality is past.

Gone are the days of plenty when the extravagant cook was the best cook. Banish all recipes that call for cups of butter.

From motives of real practical economy, we now use level measurements; that means that you first sift your flour into a bowl and then fill the measure, using a spoon to fill with and then level the top of the measure with a knife. Level measurement means all that lies below the edge of the cup or spoon.

The experienced cook with an eye for measurements can gauge the amounts, very frequently, to a nicety. While she may sometimes have a failure, she will never attribute it to her measure or the method of compounding the ingredients; oftentimes she will blame the flour, the baking powder or even the oven.

One woman wrote me that she wished to know what the trouble was with her cakes. I asked her to give the recipe and she answered that she generally used a bowl for measuring and that then she used sugar, eggs, butter, flour and enough milk or water to make a batter—there was no real definite amounts. When I replied I told her that it was the measurements and methods that she used that frequently caused a failure. But she was sure that was not the case, for her cake was usually good, and it was only once in a while that she had a failure. So I had quite a time convincing her that accurate measurements will always give the same results and assured success and that she could bake the same cake 365 days in the year and not once have a failure.

To-day this woman would not return to the old way of doing her cooking, and recently I had a little note from her telling me to let the other middle-aged and young housewives, too, know how necessary it is to be accurate.

You know it only takes a few minutes longer to measure accurately, and then you are able to make that delicious cake without a failure. No failures, no waste. Truly, the words of "trusting to luck" should be taboo in the efficient woman's kitchen.

The temptation to add just a little more sugar, flour or shortening to a recipe with the idea of improving it must be eliminated if you wish to cook successfully. When using vegetable oil in place of butter in making cakes cut down the quantity of fat fully one-third. Many cake recipes contain too much fat.

When the amounts are less than one cup, frequently it is easier to measure with a spoon.


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Mrs. Wilson's Cook Book (1920).

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