The scientist within me cringes when I hear someone say to add a spoonful — or a dash — or a pinch. I want to ask back — How much?
Yes, I know it’s a shorthand. It’s especially common in the kitchen. And often times the hearer understands exactly what the speaker means. One day, back when I was learning to cook, I started gathering the measuring cups and spoons and ingredients for one of my grandmother’s cookie recipes. My own mother intervened in time.
Grandmother didn’t use a measuring cup. To her a cup was the large white coffee mug in her kitchen. Our discussion that day, as I selected a different recipe, didn’t extend to spoons.
Serve one spoonful of coleslaw to each person.
Which spoon do you want?