Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing
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Ethel’s Recipes Conversions Substitutions

Ethel’s Recipes Conversions Substitutions

Ethel’s Recipes Conversions and Substitutions  * 

Ethel’s Southern recipes are full of a handful of this and a pinch of that. Sallee decided that if she wanted to make the recipe in the future, she had better standardize Ethel’s measurements. With some grumbling from Ethel–she maintained that she didn’t have time for this kind of foolishness– Sallee measured scoops, pinches, pours and fingers so that she could recreate Ethel’s recipes and you can too!

Scoop = ½ cup

Handful = 3/4 cupMeasuring spoons.

Big handful  = 1 cup

Little pinch = ¼ teaspoon

Pinch = ½ teaspoon

Big pinch = 1 teaspoon

3 Fingered pinch = 1 tablespoon

Big spoon (kitchen) = ½ cup

Soup spoon= 1 tablespoon

measuring cupBig pour  = 1 cup

Small pour  = ½ cup

Lard for butter 1:1

Crisco for butter 1:1

Whole milk: 2% milk – Ethel says, “Skim milk ain’t milk at all might as well use water.”

*Ethel almost never measures anything with conventional measuring devices. Her muscle memory was spot-on. Sallee re-measured every handful, pinch or pour for all of the recipes that measurements made a difference and Ethel hit the mark every single time.


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  1. Chris

    20 March

    Fun! Thanks.

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