March 1, 2009

When a cup is not a cup

Measuring cups
When is a cup not a cup?

When the measuring cup is made in China!

I broke the handle off my old 4-cup plastic measuring cup. I used this large one quite a bit, to measure beans or pasta and to mix up liquid ingredients so I had to get a replacement right away.

I bought this one at Paiz grocery store. They actually had two different styles which appeared so different in size that I was a little suspicious about their accuracy from the beginning.

One day I was trying to figure out how to mark the measurements on my rain gauge. I discovered that the glass container isn't completely level on the inside bottom − something I didn't notice when I bought it. :-/ I was thinking that if I could figure a standard measurement for an inch of rain, I could pour that amount in and mark a line for the first inch, half inch, etc.

La Gringa's tropical-sized rain gauge, La Ceiba, HondurasLike, for example, if I determined that one cup of water added exactly an inch to the container at a higher level, I could pour in one cup and mark that first line even if it measured more or less than an inch with the ruler. After the first inch, an inch of liquid is an inch of rain. Does that make any sense? I'm probably not explaining it very well. Theoretically, I think it SHOULD work since the sides of the container are perfectly vertical.

Anyway, I played and played and played with that thing and it never came out the same. I thought I was losing my mind. I would add exactly one inch to the container and then check the measuring cup to see exactly how many cups I added. I tried it over and over again. It never seemed to come out the same.

Finally I checked the accuracy of the new measuring cup by filling it from a Pyrex measuring cup to see if one cup was really one cup. It wasn't! The first cup is actually 1 1/4 cups, while the rest measure exactly one cup each.
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