Guide to Older Food Measurements

Use this food measurement guide when creating dishes from older recipes.

| March 2018

  • measuring cup
    The older a recipe is the more likely the measures are "rough" or estimated.
    Photo by Getty Images/sandoclr
  • cover
    "Preserving Family Recipes" by Valerie J. Frey combines tips and archival principles to teach readers everything they need to know to gather, adjust, and safely preserve family recipes.
    Cover courtesy University of Georgia Press

  • measuring cup
  • cover

Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions (University of Georgia Press, 2015), by Valerie J. Frey provides useful tips for successfully gathering and preserving family recipes. The book offers advice on interviewing relatives, documenting family food traditions, and collecting oral histories to help readers savor their memories. The following excerpt is from Chapter 6, "Orphaned Recipes and Conducting Research."

Please note that, in general, the older the recipe, the greater the likelihood that measures were "rough" or estimated. Also, I have come across contradictory sources, so the list below is not foolproof but rather a good starting place.

Blade of mace = scant 1/4 teaspoon

Bushel = 8 gallons (dry measure)



Coffee cup = scant cup

Coffee spoon = 1/2 teaspoon






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