Do you get a little weak in the knees in a cookware store? If you’re like most of us, your love for kitchen gadgets knows no bounds. Cherry pitters and fondue pots, rice steamers and egg separators, presses for garlic and sandwiches, grinders for coffee and spices— no gizmo is too esoteric or uni-tasking to lust after.
First the bad news: with all that kitchenware overflowing your drawers and cupboards, you’re missing a most essential piece of equipment. The good news: you get to buy a new gadget.
A scale will make you a better cook. Recipes work better when you weigh the ingredients. Measurements depend on how you purchase, store, and scoop dry ingredients: a cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces. If a recipe calls for 4 cups of flour, without a scale you can end up with as little as 16 ounces or as much as 24 ounces. That means your main ingredient could be off by as much as 50%.
Even if you’re not a baker, a kitchen scale makes measuring quicker, easier, and cleaner. A good scale will have a repeatable tare function that reports the net weight of each ingredient as it’s added in sequence. You can measure and mix in one bowl without dirtying a single measuring cup.
What to look for
Measurements should be precise. The scale should update instantaneously so that you can see the changing measurement as you add ingredients.
The display should be easy to read and switch between metric units and U.S. pounds and ounces.
Need more bells and whistles? Take a look at these:
The Rhianna combines a digital scale with an ipod dock and speaker system.
The Breville Ikon scale adds a kitchen timer and temperature probe.
Old Will Knott Scales maintains a folksy website, human phone-answerers and order-takers, and stocks an enormous selection of kitchen scales.