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Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking (Part 2)

Measurements Trump Opinions & Intuition

“Nowadays when I’m lucky enough to watch a coveted recipe in progress I can come fairly close to replicating it. Even so the streams of liquids pouring into a bowl can be impossible to estimate as are random scoops of ‘this and that’.  I’ve often thought there must be a better way to capture creative genius. Then one day I recalled the secrets of baking – all ingredients, no matter how small, are weighed. Professional bakers don’t use cups or teaspoons, they use pounds and ounces or grams and kilograms. Baking relies a lot on chemistry and a key to making a consistent product is precise control of measurements.”

-from “Seasoning to Taste – and fond memories…..” 29 Mar 2012 post by Chef Joy in Choose Cooking

(Also see “Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking” (Part 1))

 

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Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking

Engineering Thinking & Cooking: Measurements Trump Opinions & Intuition

An important Engineering Thinking principle is measurement. If you ever have to choose between someone’s opinion, or your intuition, versus reaching out and actually measuring whatever it is that interests you, you are well advised to do the measurement.

Measurements, also known as empirical validation, are a part of experimental science.  They are the bottom line, the proof of the pudding, the holy grail. Two analyses in the bush are worth much less than one good experiment in the hand.

Analysis is also important, because it can expand upon and offer insights into data that are provided experimentally, or even point the way to discovery. But analysis is theoretical and arguable, whereas measurement (done properly) is not arguable.

For an example of how engineers apply the important principle of measurements to a routine task such as cooking, please see “Cooking & Measurements: Why Engineers Get It Right” in the DACI 1st Qtr 2011 Newsletter.

-Ed Walker

 

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