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Measuring Cups

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone!

My name is Matt Finder and I am a 3rd year product design student at Carnegie Mellon University. I love food and have recently been trying to become better at cooking, so, for my mid-semester project, I decided to design a product for measuring cooking ingredients to replace traditional measuring cups and spoons, and I hope to make the design more useful for blind and sighted users alike. I am trying to get as much feedback as possible so I can design something that will really make a difference for both blind and sighted users, so I thought that this would be a great place for me to ask a lot of people about a cooking product.

If you have anything to share, such as what types of measuring cups you currently use, how you use them, what you do or don't like about your measuring cups, or anything else about measuring cups, I would love to hear about it. If you have any visually impaired friends or relatives and know about how they use measuring cups, that would be amazingly helpful as well. Also, if you have any photos that you would like to share, that would be great, too!

Thanks so much!

Matt
post #2 of 17
Hello Matt, and welcome to Cheftalk. I hope I don't dampen your enthusiasm, but I am going to express my opinion:

I'd be very surprised if there is anything really new that can be done with measuring devices. Your research should include a trip to a cookware store. If that's not possible, then type "measuring cups" in your search at Amazon.com, and see what comes up...there's an incredible variety. Metal, plastic, glass. Size and design of nearly every description, including the "push-up" style that Alton Brown is so fond of. However, all that having been said...you might just also find there is some style or design that is not represented. I wish you success with this project.

My personal preferrence is oval metal measuring cups for dry ingredients, and Pyrex glass for liquids. The Pyrex is microwave and oven proof. The one I use least is a 2qt plastic model.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for replying!

I am going to add this to my original post, but one of my major goals for the project is to make measuring cups more accessible for the blind, but still be useful for sighted cooking. I didn't mention this because I wasn't sure how many people would be able to help me with that aspect. I have met with blind members of a local organization to ask for their opinions, but I wanted to ask sighted users as well to make sure that everyone is included.

Matt
post #4 of 17

My measuring cup

I use the palm of my hand...no humor intended here. I dont bake though so no need for exact meas. for liquid i use the old trusty clear plastic pitchers 1 gallon size with measurments on both sides.
post #5 of 17
Don't use black plastic. It makes it impossible to see anything you're pouring into the cup (like honey) until it runs over. A bad choice for sighted persons, and I would imagine even worse for people with moderate visual impairments. I threw out all my black cups and bought white ones.
post #6 of 17
Everything we do is by pounds and ounces not by cups, thats great for the home.
I make chopped chicken liver 50# liver, 33 lbs onions, 100 hard cooked eggs chopped to start, Like I am going to use cups and qt. measures?????:chef:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
ED BUCHANAN: Thanks for the helpful tip.

maniclowery: That's good to know, thanks for posting.

KCZ: Your comment was very helpful, I probably wouldn't have known this unless I had used lots of plastic measuring cups in the past. Thanks!

Thanks for the great advice everyone,

Matt
post #8 of 17
Measuring cup?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Making a better cook.


Uh.... you do know that using a scale is:

1) FAR, far more accurate
2) Far, far more quicker
3) Scale is not influenced by humidity, sifted vs unsifted flour, level or heaping, etc.
4) No need to wash the scale after use (ever measure out mollasses, corn syrup, honey, jam, etc?)

Consider this:

Everything you buy to make a dish is sold by weight. O.K. everything other than liquids.

Say you're making chocolate chip cookies. You buy your flour and sugar in a 5 lb bag, your butter by the lb, your nuts by the lb, your cocoa pwdr by the lb., and your chocolate by the lb. Why do you want to use another totally stupid system to measure?

Measuring cups should have left the earth the same time as 8-track tapes....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 17
I have very limited experience with people who have very poor sight or are legally blind, but what I've observed and what I can extrapolate from such observations is that such an impairment forces people to NOT cook. I myself get minor injuries in the kitchen more often than I care to admit, and my eyesight is 20s. There would be some more than 'minor injuries' if I didn't take visual stock of what I was about to do and how wrong it is.

So on that note I will give you as much info as I can. At home I like to use plastic measuring cups with flat bottoms and straight vertical edges. I have some that have a small flat bottom that taper to the wider top, but they are too easy to tip over. My preferred ones are also a fairly bright red that is slightly translucent, which I also really like. I am not partial to any specifics on spoons other than that they are colored on the brighter side for reasons stated by previous posters. When I need a larger container (such as at work) I like a 2 or 4 cup plastic pitcher that has at least the lines for 1/4 cup.

Good luck on the project.
post #10 of 17
I like the thin polypropylene type. The thin translucent milky white kind.

Glass is too heavy and large for capacity. Thicker plastic ones tend to crack with thermal shock.

Polypropylene ones are good for everything except for hot oil.
post #11 of 17
Visually impared people can measure volumes with scoops, or ridge-marked cups, and with scales equipped with audible readouts.

Sighted or not, two common, related hurdles for cooks with ambitions are organzing their prep work as "mise en place," and organizing their workspace generally. I imagine remember where you left one thing out of many things is a constant challenge for a blind person.

Indeed, one of the pleasures of working the line in a well organized professional kitchen is the presence of an organized space for mise. Creating and using a space like that -- usually by putting small bowls to one side of the board or another -- is one of the most difficult lessons to teach homecooks. But when they learn the discipline, their cooking improves dramatically.

And there's so much less of the headless chicken running around dance. A pleasure.

What about a set of inexpensive, microwave proof, heat-resistant plastic cups, in 2, 4, and 8 oz sizes; which may be used as scoops or measures; and which come with something like egg crates for the purposes of keeping them organized relative to one another on the counter (by the cook's board or stove)? If they were supplied (at least in your project) with an audible scale (with tare), the top of which had shallow cutouts for stability, that would be all the better.

Include some lids for long term storage as well, so the cook can store small amounts of things like spice blends, and move them to her mise when she's ready to go.

BDL
post #12 of 17
Unless your baking you should need to measure anything. I know how much a cup is. I just eye ball free pour.
"If You Can't Handle The Heat... Get Yo Self Out The Kitchen"
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"If You Can't Handle The Heat... Get Yo Self Out The Kitchen"
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post #13 of 17
The prospective customer in the thread is blind. If you were blind would you still "eye ball [sic] free pour?"

Inquiring minds,
BDL
post #14 of 17
Oh shoot my bad. I guess I should read the full thread before adding my two cents.
It would be nice if they had a sensored measureing cup for that reason.
Couriosity inspired this next question. Not to sound stupid.... But why is a blind person cooking? I find that to be alarming. With the open flames, knives, just seems to yell DANGER DANGER to me.
Of course not being seeing impared I had no clue that there was even cooking equipment for the blind.
"If You Can't Handle The Heat... Get Yo Self Out The Kitchen"
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"If You Can't Handle The Heat... Get Yo Self Out The Kitchen"
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post #15 of 17
Mfinder,

I first would like to tell you how encouraging it was to read about the positive efforts you are making to try and assist those with disabilities. All to often we take for granted the ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) for granted. I did some research and realized just how hard it is for blind . It is such a wonderful thing to see a blind person try to maintain their sense of indepedence, and self reliance to the best of their abilities or control.


The site called eHow had this to say :

"Blind

<LI itxtvisited="1">Partial or totally blind individuals have products available that enable them to be independent in the kitchen. Cups with liquid overflow detectors on the side help the blind by sounding a noise when the liquid is close to the top of the cup. Timers will larger numerals allow partially blind individuals the ability to time items that are cooking. Braille cookbooks are available for those that are blind, enabling them to read a recipe. "
There are many Great People who applaud your efforts here. I wish you success at such a marvelous goal .

Petals

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(168 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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post #16 of 17
I imagine that a hand-held measuring cup that relied on weights instead of volumetric amounts would be more useful and practical for the blind. The device I have in mind would be have two handles (one on each side) and a large Braille keypad on the front face to input the desired weight and units. The handles would be connected to the body of the bowl/cup in such a way that, when lifted by the handles, the weighing mechanism would be triggered and a speaker would output how close the measurement was ("Point 5 ounces over", etc.).

Keep us updated!
Sono pazzo della cucina!
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Sono pazzo della cucina!
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post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Sorry for the delayed reply, I have been busy this past week. I went to my local library for the blind, spoke with some of the people there, and received some good feedback. I have also received some great feedback from all of you, but just haven't had a chance to type up a post to respond to it until today.

foodpump: I agree with you, but I'm under the impression that many people who bake or cook at home (and many recipes) still use cup measurements, and the majority of blind people cooking at home may not have readily available resources to make such conversions every time they want to cook. I would love for everything to be in one form of measurement and will think about incorporating measurement by mass into my design.

pullmanpair: You're post was very helpful, thanks for the tips about color.

I <3 Vodka: Thanks for the material tips.

boar_d_laze: Thanks for the organization and scale suggestions. Including a lid was also nice idea.

Filthy Habitz: I would assume that a lot of people on this forum would still like to cook if they lost their eyesight. Hopefully that sums up why a blind person might want to cook.

petalsandcoco: Thank you for the eHow quote and your encouragement!

pazzo: Thanks for the suggestion, I was originally planning to design a volume-specific measuring cup, but measurement by mass seems like an increasingly important feature.


-Matt
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