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Article

What's in a 'Pinch' ?

Fine Cooking Issue 62

You see it all the time in recipes: a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of this, a pinch of that…but just what is a pinch? Is it the amount that you can pick up between two fingers — your thumb and forefinger— or do you involve a third or even a fourth finger? Technically, a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon. You can actually buy a set of measuring spoons that includes this size, but these aren’t likely to be found in many kitchen drawers. That’s fine, though, because you really don’t need them. Pinches are usually reserved for strong ingredients, and while you definitely don’t want to overdo it, a pinch is so small that a little variation one way or another isn’t likely to spoil the soup. The average person picks up roughly the equivalent of 1/16 teaspoon by pinching together thumb and forefinger.  If a recipe calls for a “big pinch,” then its probably asking for a three-finger pinch.

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