Measuring Cups

Two cups is the general equivalent of 400 grams, at least when it comes to flour.  The measurements are relatively interchangeable, depending on whether you’re cooking a metric recipe or an American one, but the difference can also be just enough to make sure your cake never quite sets, or your bread turns to brick.

If we ever move back to France, the first thing I’m hiding in my suitcase is a set of measuring cups.  Ones that will let me still cling to some of my favorite foods in moments of desperation.  Ones that will let me still smell my mother’s zucchini bread rising in the oven; 3 cups of flour, in order to keep the bread just moist enough. Ones that will still let me make waffles from scratch for my family on Saturday mornings; two cups of flour, plus a dash of sour cream and coconut oil.  And ones that will let me still get a sugar high from my chocolate chip cookie recipe that made my husband fall in love with me; 4 cups of flour for a firmness that’s just so and lets them melt in your mouth like butter.  God forbid we cook those on the French system, he won’t know who I am anymore.

It’s funny, my attachment to these little white stacked cups, with their handles and red numbers engraved on the side, because I learned how to cook in France, without them to guide me, yet I feel like I’m not quite at home without them now.

The difference between two cups and 400 grams is what keeps me from finding a home in my mother’s kitchen, and what stops my mother-in-law from inviting me into hers.  It’s a difference that can’t quite be explained, because there’s no way to make it equivalent.  It’s simply what makes me different.  I can copy their recipes, but I can’t quite duplicate them.  There’s always something just a little bit off.

I will always speak just a little different; my children will always speak it too.  Our accent, our cadence, our choice of word order.  None of it is equivalent, yet similar enough.  We are understood, but it is not always correct.  It’s two cups in a recipe that really wanted its 400 grams.  I will always dress just a little bit off, I will always parent slightly outside the lines of their culture and what they expect.  It’s simply me trying to find a balance between my cups and your grams, and knowing that it doesn’t always exist.

According to someone, I will always be holding two cups instead of 400 grams, or grams instead of its’ slightly off equivalent of cups.  Yet if I can learn to take the forthcoming questions and eye-raising with a grain of salt; whether it’s the 99 cent box from the bodega or the lavender fleur de sel at the supermarché that’s a little out of my reach, my cups and I might just be able to make it through, knowing that at least if all else fails, I still have my little white handled safety nets, and those chocolate chips, four cups of flour, and a man who loves me for them every time they melt like butter in his mouth.

I’ll always be working from the wrong side of the system, trying to find the middle ground and which recipes will work there; buy maybe we simply need to expand our palette a bit and steer clear of the cakes that don’t set and the loaves of gluten brick.


As I’m finishing up my last semester at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I found out right before the semester started that I was short one English class, so I’ve been able to spend the semester taking a creative non-fiction writing class.  It’s my favorite genre to read, and I think I finally found my writing niche; I can get lost with hours and hours of journaling for the class… This is an excerpt from one of the pieces for class, and it’s the inspiration for a longer piece due in a few weeks that I’m currently working on.  This course ranks high in the top 3 I’ve taken at FIT, and it’s not even related to my major!!  But, I have a feeling it will be related to future projects… My professor is trying to talk me into writing a book about all of our French family experiences, and I have a couple other projects up my sleeve too!

xoxo, Katherine

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