Sunday: Day of Chocolate

Feeling better today. Not well, but better. Got me a pot of green tea and a snack bowl of chocolate chips–once fated to become cookies, now they are pure, unadulterated chocolate therapy.

It occurred to me while we were up north that both my mom and fosteronfilm‘s share an odd quirkiness. While we were there, we wrestled as much of the cooking and cleaning tasks away from his mom as we could (a Herculean undertaking in and of itself). I decided to make some beer bread on Friday to go with dinner, and mid-ingrediant assemblage, I discovered that she doesn’t have any measuring spoons. Not one. And she’s only got one measuring cup–a heavy Pyrex thing with demarcations for a range of increments.

I could work with the jumbo Pyrex measuring device, but that didn’t help with the smaller measurements I needed for salt, sugar, and baking powder. She did have a Gloria Jeans coffee measuring scoop, but frustratingly, it didn’t say anywhere on it what size it was. I took a wild guess that it was 1 tablespoon, but upon consultation with Matthew (after I had already measured out and dumped in the aforementioned ingredients), I think it’s more likely it was 2 tbls. This resulted in the completed beer bread being too dense and salty, although husband and in-laws assured me it was fine. But then, they’re obligated to say that, even if I served them unbaked dough in silt. But kindly relative sentiments aside, it was too dense and salty.

It seems that Matthew’s mom doesn’t use measuring spoons. On those occasions where she needs to dump in a tablespoon or a teaspoon of something, she uses tableware to approximate it. I remember my mom doing the same thing when I was little. So now I’m wondering if it’s coincidence or a generational thing.

Anyway, the next time we go up to visit Matthew’s folks, I’m packing along a set of measuring spoons.


Writing Stuff

Researching Japanese poetry and song styles, specifically Imayo, the popular song form of the mid- to late-Heian Era. Got a little carried away with the researching yesterday, resulting in relatively few words on the page.

The thing is, I’m not a poet. I’m in awe of writers like mtrimm1 and time-shark who can pull off both prose and poetry with facility, but I really can’t. I do prose and that’s it. Period. But the story I’m working on requires that I have a few lines of Imayo speckled in as part of the storyline, which leaves me having to come up with something appropriate that’s both authentic-sounding and that doesn’t make me (or more importantly readers) want to cringe. It doesn’t even have to be a full poem, in fact it shouldn’t be, because a full poem–even one as short as an Imayo–would risk grinding the story’s pacing to a snail’s limp, but I’m ye verily angsting over those couple of lines.


New Words:
300 on “Birds of White Rhythm.”

My thoughts were pretty fragmented yesterday, and with the poetry thing and all, I ended up skipping scenes. Great for forging ahead when I’m stuck on what’s going to happen next, but now I gotta figure out how to connect the pieces.

Club 100 For Writers

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21 Responses to Sunday: Day of Chocolate

  1. gardenwaltz says:

    at least if you know only one form, you know prose. as tough as it is to be a professional writer, being a professional poet is virtually unheard of. i am not familiar with the Imayo form, but i’d be happy to look it over.

  2. Exact measurements are only important for baking. For cooking, everything should be to taste.

    • dream_wind says:

      And then of course there’s metric measurements vs imperial measurements. A metric tbs is 20ml, while an imperial one is 14.79 (stupid imperial system!). It can make a huge difference when working with something like baking soda, cream of tartar or citric acid.

  3. jimhines says:

    For a story I just rewrote, I decided I wanted to have a character … rap. Only a few lines, and only twice in the story, but I probably spent as much time on those two bits as I did the rest of the story. And I’m still not sure they don’t suck. It’s painful.

    Good luck with your poetry!

  4. lilithraevyn says:

    It wasn’t until I went shopping for kitchen stuffs that I even knew there were actual measuring devices for ‘teaspoon’ and ‘tablespoon’. Heck. When there wasn’t a tablespoon around, I think it was… 4 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon? I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a tablespoon though, so… *grins*

    Of course, recently I found the neatest things.

    I have one of those pyrex mini-pitcher-cups. I also found a 1-cup… cup. With the markings for smaller measurements. And! a shotglass! With tablespoon, teaspoon, and smaller measurements. All matching the clear pyrex with the red labelling.

    • dazia says:

      Measuring devices

      I don’t tend to use them either, though I have pyrex measuring cups. The other day, I saw a glass, about the size of a pint of beer, and it had all of the measurements on it that you could possibly need. Different types were on different sizes of the glass. Including teaspoon and tablespoon. I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly need one. Now, I think that I have to have one and I can’t remember where they were!

  5. fahkingnut says:


    I always hate to hear you’re having a rough time since you’re such a wonderful person. I hope it passes quickly and you can get back to a better state soon.

    Love & Hugs,

  6. Your foray into poetry should prove interesting. What I like about most Eastern forms I’ve experienced is there seems to be more jarring intellectual twists than in Western poetry, leaving you feeling shaken-up both by the verse and the content. Since poetry is so dependent on translation, who is to say it isn’t a conspiracy among the translators? How’s your mid- to late-Heian Japanese?
    Pass the chocolate, please, in a tablespoon.

  7. davidlevine says:

    A friend who went to Chef School said that one of the exercises there was to learn to measure ingredients by palm-of-the-hand. Put what you think is a teaspoon of salt in your hand, then measure it to determine how much it really was. Repeat many times, until you know by heart what a teaspoon of salt looks and feels like. Pretty soon you don’t need measuring spoons any more.

    Of course, another thing he learned at Chef School was to keep his hands scrupulously clean at all times.

    And, for future reference, the standard coffee measure is indeed 2 Tb.

  8. wolflady26 says:

    Supposedly, a large soup spoon is approximately a tablespoon, whereas a small spoon – like the kind you’d use to serve tea, I suppose 😀 – is a teaspoon. 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon. It only gets really tricky when you need quarter teaspoons and the like.

    I had to do a lot of eyeballing when I first moved to Germany, and found out that they do all of their baking by weight and not by measurement. No teaspoons to be found!

  9. lanyn says:

    Interesting! I never thought about it being generational, but my mom never used measuring spoons either and, consequently, I don’t either. I don’t even own a set. I do have some measuring cups, but I use silverware for any spoon measurements, even in baking. Very interesting!

  10. gillpolack says:

    I think I might have measuring cups … somewhere.

  11. dean13 says:

    I have multiple sets of cups, half cups, third cups and quarter cups. And a well used set of measuring spoons. I was trained as a chemist, so measuring exactly was pounded into me.

    My mother used measuring devices. Both grandmothers had measuring spoons and cups. One of them didn’t use always use them. It was always “Another handful of this, a pinch of that” for that grandma. My mother was part of the last generation of woman who went to college and got degrees in Home Economics. Can you imagine? I wouldn’t have wan’t to gone to college and get a degree in shop! Our parents are from a different world.

  12. dream_wind says:

    I am a very sad person and have 2 sets of measuring spoons – imperial and metric. US recipes (and some english ones) use imperial, while Australian, French and Asian (when they bother) use metric. Doesn’t matter so much when you’re making a stir-fry (just slop from the bottle unless using a really powerful sauce) but it makes a BIG DIFFERENCE to baking. You go there with those measuring spoons!

    And I sympathise with the poetry thing. I can appreciate it (except for modern crap that doesn’t scan) but I can’t write it. Well, I can write the modern crap that doesn’t scan, but I’d like to be able to write the epic/folk variety that MUST, because it’s meant to be read aloud.

  13. palmerwriter says:

    Re: Measuring Spoons

    My Grandmother can do that. She doesn’t measure anything, but she’s been cooking for so long I’d bet good money that if you poured her measured portion into a measuring cup, it would be accurate.

    Good luck on the research. I’m currently trying to figure out how the Aztecs measured time, and it’s rather complicated.

  14. basletum says:

    Measurements? Cooking? Baking? Eh, I just toss a bunch of stuff together in the microwave and nuke the crap out of it. You should try one of my nuked bologna sandwiches. 2 times out of 10 there’s still some taste left. But I can oven-cook a pizza, even got it down to a science: just don’t ask me to make one from scratch.

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