For Good Measure

All this jibber jabber about not using recipes, it is high time we broach the topic of measurements. You may be wondering,

How much of a particular spice do I use?

To which I reply,

You are becoming the expert in your kitchen. season it to your preference.

Developing a dish using the 3|2|1 Cooking Method forces us to build flavor using intelligible approximations. Luckily, grace comes with cooking. Precise measurements are not a requisite of noble meals. Baking…now that is a different story.

I would encourage you to know common measurements at a glance. For example, measure a teaspoon of salt in the palm of your hand to visually observe the size of the pile.


Do the same for a tablespoon and ½ teaspoon. Rather than always going for the measuring spoons, gradually begin to season dishes by portioning spice amounts in the palm of your hand. A visual knowledge of these amounts can help streamline the cooking process and minimize interruptions. It may take a little practice…some trial and error perhaps…but in no time flat you will be adding a pinch here and dash there.

I am happy to report that it is nearly impossible to ruin a dish with fresh herbs.  Just grab a mere handful, chop and drop. Although…this one instance…I did have an unfortunate encounter with fresh sage in a pesto sauce. Never again. Rest assured that in spite of this blunder, my prior claim of “nearly impossible” still stands.

I have prepared a couple of {brief} measurement tables for dried spices as a quick reference. You can use them as a starting point for your own cooking endeavors.

 dry spice measurements for savory dishes
Less Than 1 Teaspoon1 TeaspoonMore Than 1 Teaspoon
achiotecuminchili powder
allspicecurry powderlemon grass
black pepper (ground)file powder
cardamomfive spice powder
carrawaygarlic flakes, powder or salt
cayennejuniper berries
celery seedmustard seed
chile pepper powders (various)paprika
cinnamon (ground)poppy seed
coriandersesame seed
dill weedSzechuan peppers
fennel seed
fenugreek seed
garam masala
onion powder
saffron threads
red pepper flakes

dry spice measurements for sweet dishes
Less Than 1 Teaspoon1 TeaspoonMore Than 1 Teaspoon
allspicecaraway seedpeppercorns (cracked)
aniseedcinnamonpoppy seed
cardamomgingersesame seed
saffron threads

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