Trina L Short (trinalin) wrote,
Trina L Short
trinalin

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Standardization

The strangest things come into my head while I pootle about in the kitchen or while doing housework. (Or while driving or while just sitting there doing nothing, if I want to be perfectly honest with myself.) So today, while I was making my No Pudge Fudge Brownie, I got to thinking about way back when they didn't have standard tablespoons or other measuring equipment. This particular recipe doesn't require standards of any sort. It's 2 parts brownie mix to one part vanilla yogurt. For a 2 point (WeightWatchers) brownie, it's 2 Tbsp of mix to 1 Tbsp of yogurt. And I once made a double sized one as I was finishing off the mix (and yogurt).

But if you think back to the days of your grandparents and great grandparents (or even further back for some of you) you get to a time when one person's tablespoon wasn't necessarily the same as someone else's. Where mom's "dash" and Aunt Edna's "dash" weren't the same, thus their cherry cobbler's never quite tasted the same. My Grandma Anderson was one of those who never used any sort of standard measuring devices for her most popular recipes. So when I decided to do the family cookbook several years ago, I ended up following her around the kitchen one day while she was making some of her popular dishes (tapioca pudding, an all day ordeal, and, while we were waiting for it to cook, stewed 'maters and fried taters). She'd pour something into a bowl then, before she could lose her rhythm, I'd quickly pour it into a measuring device and record the amount before letting her put it where it needed to go. In this way, I was able to quantize her recipes. And I even once made her tapioca pudding - which was nearly right! I was so proud. :-)

Nowadays, standardization is almost taken for granted. We in the sciences love the standardization of things (though I would love it if the USA finally came into the 21st century and embraced the Metric system). It's even given lay people comfort in strange places. I mean, if you go anywhere in the world and order a Big Mac from a McDonald's, chances are it's going to taste the same. (OK, maybe that's not as comforting for some as for others... I tend to avoid McDonald's when I'm out of the country. But by golly, when I do, rarely, get a hankering for a Big Mac, it doesn't matter which MD's I go to, I know it'll taste the same.)

So, um, this concept rambled on for much longer while I was making the brownie (and making it doesn't take a whole lot of time - shows just how quickly my brain processes strange thoughts). Just be glad that I'd rather get back to watching Babylon 5 than writing more of my standardization thoughts (or rather, my thoughts on unit conversion and proportions, which quickly supplanted the standardization thoughts) in the journal. :-)
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