If I had to choose just one piece of kitchen equipment that I couldn’t live without, it would undoubtedly be my food scale. I can’t bake without it. I can’t serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner without it. When my family travels, it comes along for the ride. So far, I’ve traveled to Manhattan, Washington DC, and Boston all with a food scale in tow.
Before you get the wrong idea and assume that I must be an incredible control freak, the reason my food scale is never out of reach is much simpler than that. One of the most important people in my world lives with . I guess that I could try to match insulin to the precise amount of carbohydrates my daughter eats every day without it, but I’d rather not. Instead, I use a food scale to give me the data I need to transform guessing into a mathematical formula with more predictable results.
Truth be told, I did use a food scale before my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Nearly a decade ago, I purchased Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan and Dessert Circus at Home by Jacques Torres within a month of each other. After reading about the importance of weighing the dry ingredients, particularly flour, when baking, I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made.
Suddenly, I could produce consistent results when baking bread, cakes, and cookies. I wanted to believe that I had discovered a deep, dark secret known only to renowned pastry chefs, but it was too simple. At first, I found it hard to believe that weighing the ingredients instead of using measuring cups could make such a marked difference in the consistency and texture of my baked goods. I had grown up thinking that measuring cups were the only tool necessary for accurate measuring. Now my use of a food scale was turning that belief on its head.
Today, my food scale and calculator take center stage on the kitchen counter at 1840 Farm. I can bake and cook without the calculator if need be. It isn’t always easy once I’m adding the carbohydrate and fiber content of a dozen or more ingredients to find the total number of net carbohydrates in a recipe. Next comes the task of determining the carbohydrate ratio which requires the yield in grams of the recipe.
Here’s where the scale comes in. By weighing the finished recipe, I can divide the total number of net carbohydrates by the yield in grams and the result is the recipe’s carbohydrate factor. Now I can attempt to do the impossible and perfectly match an insulin dose to a serving of the finished recipe. Now wasn’t that easy? Maybe not, but it sure is easier if you have a good food scale handy.
When I began thinking about this post, I tried to put into words just how important my food scale is to daily life here at 1840 Farm. I considered trying to fully explain the difficulty of matching insulin to activity and the type and amount of carbohydrates eaten in a day. I thought of simply trying to illustrate how useful a food scale can be to achieving baking success. Then I realized that it only mattered that I use my food scale every day. The reason I use it is immaterial.
In case you wonder just how much I could possibly use a food scale on a typical day in the 1840 Farm kitchen, I decided to keep track for twenty-four hours. It wasn’t long before even I was shocked at just how often I was using a scale. Weighing everything has become such a common practice, that I had forgotten how often I put something on the scale and wait for the display to give me the information I need.
Here’s what a day in the life of the kitchen scale at 1840 Farm looked like:
7:30 am Weighed the ingredients to make the morning oatmeal for the heritage hens in our coop
8:25 am Weighed the fresh goat’s milk I had just collected for the day
9:15 am Weighed kiwi fruit for my daughter’s breakfast plate
10:35 am Weighed the ingredients to make a fresh pie for my father’s birthday
12:35 pm Weighed leftover quinoa for my daughter’s lunch
1:15 pm Weighed ingredients for a triple batch of our favorite homemade Italian bread
2:35 pm Weighed ingredients for a batch of raspberry crumble bars
3:20 pm Weighed fresh goat’s milk to make quark to be eaten with freshly baked Italian bread
4:00 pm Weighed the ingredients to make mushroom and spinach quiche for dinner
4:30 pm Weighed fresh Italian bread for my daughter’s afternoon snack
4:45 pm Weighed the fresh eggs collected from our coop
6:00 pm Weighed a serving of quiche for my daughter’s dinner plate
8:35 pm Weighed a serving of raspberry crumble bars for my daughter’s bedtime snack
I was lucky enough to be selected to receive a new OXO 5 pound food scale with pull out display to evaluate in the 1840 Farm kitchen and one to give away to a lucky reader. I put the OXO food scale to work as soon as the package arrived on my front porch. Right out of the box, I was impressed with its small footprint. It took up less counter space than my previous food scale and had a sleek appearance. The shape of the scale was also a plus. It was rectangular in shape with a flat surface for holding the item to be weighed. So many food scales offer a relatively small surface for supporting a bowl or plate. In fact, my last scale was notorious for sending a meal hurtling toward the counter as it was being weighed. It’s surface was too small and plates and bowls had to perform a balancing act in order to be weighed. I looked forward to having the ability to set something firmly on top of the OXO food scale’s platform and not having to worry if it would soon come crashing down around me.
The display on the OXO scale is easy to read and large enough to see from a comfortable distance. In addition to displaying the weight of the item on the scale’s platform, this food scale also has a capacity indicator. If you have ever used a food scale, you know immediately just how useful this feature could be.
I can’t begin the count the number of times I have been weighing ingredients for a recipe only to have the scale max out without warning and refuse to weigh my ingredients. This leaves me in the uncomfortable position of having to guess how much of the last ingredient I had added to the bowl before the scale hit its maximum weighing capacity. Now I could simply check the status indicator and have fair warning if the scale was approaching its limit before my ability to accurately weigh the ingredients was at risk.
The buttons on the OXO scale are easy to operate and, more importantly, easy to clean as they are fully enclosed. They won’t be collecting crumbs like the external buttons on my last food scale always did. As much as I use my food scale, being able to easily and effectively clean the surface is important. Small crumbs, particles of flour, and spilled liquids commonly come in contact with the scale. Due to the flat surface and compact design of the OXO scale, I could wipe its entire surface clean quickly and easily.
The feature that truly sets this scale apart from every other model I have used is also the one I have used most often. The pull out display has the ability to revolutionize the way in which I can use our food scale. So often, when a dinner plate is perched atop a standard food scale, the display is obstructed to the point of being indecipherable. This inevitably leads me to search for a small bowl to perch the plate on in order for me to accurately read the weight on the display. It also leads me to serve my daughter a dinner grown cold while I worked to build a Rube Goldberg contraption to simply calculate her dinner’s carbohydrate content.
I am happy to say that during the last month, I have not had to endure this scenario and neither has my daughter. The OXO food scale features a pull out display which allows the digital display to be moved up to 2.5 inches away from the scale’s weighing platform. Even when the largest of our dinner plates was set atop the scale, I could easily and swiftly extend the display and read the resulting weight. While this seems like such a simple modification to a kitchen food scale, it makes all the difference in the world. After using this scale, I can’t believe how revolutionary this one feature has proven to be. I also can’t believe that in an age where smartphones can practically drive your car for you, someone hadn’t thought of making this change before.
Four weeks into my love affair with this scale, I can’t think of anything that I would change. It works reliably and easily. Its unique pull out display greatly improves my ability to utilize it in my kitchen. Gone is the need to attempt to invent new ways to perch my items high above the display as I have in the past. The capacity indicator allows me to weigh ingredients without wondering if I’m about to push it over the edge and therefore, send myself right over the edge with it.
If it were to disappear tomorrow, I would head directly to the nearest store carrying this scale and promptly purchase another one. For a person who intentionally tries to stay away from one use gadgets or tools that rarely live up to their promises and my expectations, I am sold on the OXO 5 pound food scale with pull out display. It’s a winner.
Would you like to be an OXO 5 pound food scale winner? If so, leave a comment on this post. Each reader who leaves a comment will be entered once in the drawing to win a new OXO Good Grips 5 pound food scale with pull-out display.
One lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified by Email. I will also announce the winner on the 1840 Farm Facebook page. I will accept entries until midnight on Friday the 13th of April. It’s true that Friday the 13th isn’t often thought of as a day filled with good luck, but I think we should decide to redefine its usual connotation for the better just as OXO has re-imagined the kitchen scale for the better of those of us who use it.