One of my biggest passions in life is baking - I bake a lot..just ask my Girlfriend (as she's the one that gets lumbered with eating all my creations!). A lot o the recipe books I buy, or recipes I find online that I want to try call for using ingredients measured in 'cups'. Being a new-age tot and having been raised in good old England on grams and kilograms - I had no idea what the heck a 'cup' measurement stood for. One day whilst browsing the kitchen aisles of my local Wilkinson's, I came across this 'Tala Cooks Measure' which I was drawn to by its retro appearance. Lo and behold - inside I saw that it measured in these fabled 'cups' that I had read about..and I did a little jig of sheer joy at the prospect of being able to follow these dang American recipes through! Since that day, I have never been without this little beauty. Hurrah!
The 'Tala Cook's Measure' can be found in quite a lot of physical high street stores, as well as online. I have seen this product stocked in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Wilkinsons, along with other smaller bakeware shops. A whole host of stores online also stock the 'Tala Cook's Measure', including Amazon. Getting your hands on one of these little kitchen gems really isn't that difficult!
As far as price goes for the 'Tala Cook's Measure', it simply does depend on where you purchase it from. I've seen this product listed at between £6 - £8 in different stores and online. I paid around £7 for mine from Wilkinson's quite some time ago, but I have seen them for much cheaper online and in supermarkets (much to my annoyance!).
So what exactly IS the 'Tala Cook's Measure'? Well, let me tell you..it's a flipping miracle..that's what! No, really, in all seriousness - this is a bit of kitchen kit that nobody should be without. The 'Tala Cook's Measure', in its simplest terms, is a cone-like measuring cup created purposely to avoid the use of kitchen scales. The cone is marked with ingredient measurements inside that make it easy for anyone from a kitchen novice to a kitchen goddess to use!
From the outside, the 'Tala Cook's Measure' looks pretty retro! A sort of upside down silver cone shape fixed to a matching silver base. The outside of the measure has a blue banner circling the entire middle of the measure - which on the front states the name of the product 'Cook's Dry Measure'. The front of the measure also carries the 'Tala' logo in red font. The back of the measure has a few weight conversions listed from imperial to metric, and also states 'Shake lightly to level contents'. The copyright number and 'made in england' is also listed at the base of the measure.
From the inside, the 'Tala Cook's Measure' looks like a mind numbing wealth of information! The inside of the measure is predominantly white in colour, with the individual measures of each ingredient listed in black and red. Each individual ingredient measure has markers up the inside of the cone under the ingredient title in both imperial and metric measurements - making it entirely useful for young and old alike. These markers are your 'fill to' lines, if you like. Once you take a closer look at the inside of the 'Tala Cook's Measure', it's not as conusing as it seems and is easy to read when in use. The inside of the measure also states 'Approximate measure, suitable for domestic use only' - but I can hand on heart say I've never had any problems with the 'approximation' levels of this measure..so it has to be 99.9% bang on!
The measurements given inside the 'Tala Cook's Measure' are as follows:
English Cups / English Pints
American Cups / American Pints
Rolled Oats / Fresh Breadcrumbs
Cornflour / Cocoa
Ground Almonds / Shredded Suet
Sugar / Rice
Haricots / Lentils / Barley / Peas
Ground Rice / Currants / Semolina / Raisins
Custard Powder / Flour / Milk Powder / Icing Sugar
Using the 'Tala Cook's Measure' couldn't be easier! Simply look at the markings on the inside of the cup, and find which ingredient it is that you want to be measuring out - or which Cup measure or Millilitre measure you want to be using. Then simply pour your ingredients into the cup up to the measurement line desired. Be sure to give your 'Tala Cook's Measure' a few taps against the work top to level out the ingredients and top-up to your desired line as necessary. Then tip your measured ingredients out into your bowl/pan/container and continue with your recipe. Simple!
In my opinion, this 'Tala Cook's Measure' is an absolute gem. I really couldn't be without this now, as it makes my baking life a whole bunch easier. Being able to measure out ingredients without needing to use a million bowls in conjunction with my kitchen scales is a god send (as it means less washing up!). The 'Tala Cook's Measure' has so many different ingredients listed inside AND the mysterious cups - in both American AND English - that I can easily carry out an entire recipe with only the use of my measure and a measuring jug for liquids. A good thing about the measure too, is that it has measurements listed in both imperial and metric..oz and grams, millilitres and pints, making it easy for anyone of any knowledge to use. The 'Tala Cook's Measure' is simple to use, easy to clean, and never leads me astray when it comes to measuring out those bits and pieces in the kitchen without needing to haul out every bowl, saucer, container and scales! I use this product at every opportunity when baking, and love how simple it is to use, and yet how much of a huge difference it makes to speeding up measuring out ingredients.
The only downside to the product is that in my opinion it is for DRY ingredients only - even though the inside of the measure has a measurement for Millilitres (liquid measures). If you do choose to use your measure for liquid purposes, I would advise against leaving the liquids in the measure for long periods of time. This is said from experience, as the 'Tala Cook's Measure' is made from metal and it doesn't really seem to take kindly to any liquids - evidence of this can be seen on the base of my measure where a little rust has formed underneath from repeat washing! This is simply a mere fleck of imperfection on a product that couldn't get any better if it tried (unless it magically became liquid/rust proof!) I'd recommend the 'Tala Cook's Measure' to anyone that enjoys spending too much time in the kitchen concocting all sorts of wierd and wonderful baked goods!
I'd give this product 4.5 stars out of 5 - but as this is not possible I shall simply round the rating up to a 5 as it is definitely worth more than a 4 star rating.
** Also posted on Ciao under the username little_feets88 **
The Tala Cooks Measure is an extremely useful piece of kitchen kit which I've had in my culinary arsenal for many years now and which has proved invaluable over the years.
Tala kitchen equipment has been around for decades and I'm sure most people will find that they own at least one piece of kitchenalia which carries that brand name. The range has a very 1950s retro look about it and products includes icing nozzles, muffin pans and pastry cutters all made out of sheet metal as well as the excellent Cooks Measure of this review.
On the outside of the conical shaped measure is the legend "Weights and measures at a glance" and that is exactly what this piece of equipment does.
The concept of this measure is simplicity itself. Inside the cone are divisions for practically every dry ingredient you can think of from oats, flour, sugar and rice to the more obscure tapioca, dessicated coconut and shredded suet. Within each division are horizontal lines marking graduations of weight up to 8 ounces or 250 grams. All the cook needs to do is pour the dry ingredient into the cone up to the line of whichever weight is required and then tap gently on the side of the cone to level out the ingredients for accuracy. Pour into the mixing bowl and move on to the next dry ingredient. My measure can also be used for liquids which, again, are in imperial fluid ounces or millilitres.
This measure has always proved very useful when using old recipes with measurements given in avoirdupois (pounds and ounces) or American recipes using cups, because these measures are also marked as well as the standard metric measures we're supposed to use now we're all Europeans. All in all, this handy kitchen gadget speeds up the measuring process and saves all that messing about with the kitchen scales.
There are a couple of drawbacks to the Tala measure however. Firstly, of course, it isn't absolutely accurate but most recipes, I'm sure, allow for a little leeway. This lack of accuracy has never bothered me particularly as I'm a rather slapdash cook anyway but if you take your cooking more seriously, you may not be quite as impressed by this measure as I am.
Another drawback is that this is only really for use with dry ingredients so won't be much use for fats. However, I've always found that it's pretty easy to guess the weight of fats such as butter and margarine and, in fact, some manufacturers put weight graduations on their wrappers, which solves that problem.
Although on my Tala it gives liquid measurements, I've never used it to measure liquids preferring to use a Pyrex jug because I assume that with prolonged contact with water the metal would begin to rust. I notice in the picture which is of a more up-to-date model than the one I own, it states "dry" measure so my theory about rust is probably borne out. It should also be noted that this equipment is not suitable for dishwashers.
The Tala Cooks Measure is universally available in most major department stores as well as the Lakeland shops where it retails for £7.49. The cheapest price is £5.99 from Argos or £6.49 from Amazon with free delivery.
Nowadays, there are several variations to the Tala Cooks Measure on the market, some of which are made of plastic which would certainly be easier to maintain but the Tala Cooks Measure, for me, is the original and the best.