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A memo of utensil weights

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You will no doubt have come across this problem while cooking: after starting a recipe, when you already have some ingredients in a pan and have maybe cooked them, you need to know the weight of the pan's contents so that you can take half out, or add the same weight of sugar, for example.

This would be much simpler if you could just weigh the full pan, but unfortunately the weight of the pan itself would be counted by the scales and mess up the sums.

A precise example: you weigh the pan which registers 750 grams, but this 750 grams is the weight of the contents + the weight of the pan itself (which, of course, you don't know).

There are two solutions to this problem:
1) You pour the contents into another empty pan on the scales, which you set to zero (if you have adjustable or add-and-weigh scales), but this has two disadvantages: it makes more washing up for nothing and it wastes time.

2) You consult your memo of utensil weights. This is a little document which contains the weight of each of your utensils.

Going back to our earlier example, the full pan weighs 750g and it weighs 350g empty; conclusion: the contents weigh 750 – 350 = 400g! No extra washing up, just a simple subtraction which takes no more than 10 seconds.

Obviously, you need to keep this memo to hand, and of course, you need to have made it beforehand. So it's worth spending a little time weighing your utensils (pans, moulds, tins, bowls, other containers…) and noting the weight carefully for each one.

Paper memo


The simplest method is just to use a sheet of paper: one column for “name” (such as “big pan”, blue bowl”, “glass flan dish”…) and another column for “weight”. This is simple to do and read, and once done, it can be kept in a drawer ready for use, which could be soon.

Photo memo


But with a digital camera, you can do something even quicker and easier. This is how I created my utensil memo:

  1. I weighed the utensil
  2. I placed it on a wipe-clean board and wrote the weight in grams large and clear
  3. I photographed it, checking that both the utensil and the weight could be seen clearly
  4. I arranged all the photos before printing them in a convenient format


With this system, there is no need to describe or name the item and no need to write the weight again as this can be read on the photo.

So, when I need to know the weight of a utensil, just a quick glance at the photo memo and I have the answer.

See what it looks like for yourself:

memo weight of utensils



It doesn't really matter what method you use, the important thing is to make a note of the weight of your utensils, and to keep it handy – you will find it very useful and the hour or so it will take you to make it will be repaid in the time and washing up saved later.

Last modified on: May 9th 2011

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