When met with our prompt of “Cup” today, the first thing that popped into my head was Philippe’s disdain for our measuring system here in the States. We were recently trying to switch to a different food for our dog Phineas and Philippe wanted to be as accurate as possible. The thing is, measuring things in cups is not terribly precise. I was telling him the amount in cups that I found online and he said, “no, no, no! That’s ridiculous! Give it to me in grams!” But, we do have a lovely set of metal measuring cups that he will use when following an American recipe. Looking at these today, I remembered back to when I purchased them. Yes, these are my measuring cups, purchased back when Philippe and I were just dating, and I wanted to give cooking a try. As with any new hobby, I needed the proper tools. In my mind, measuring things was the most important bit, so I invested in a stainless steel set. It was from the Culinary Institute of America, which seemed like a step in the right direction. They were shiny, they were awesome, and they were going to make me an amazing cook! Well, that’s not exactly how this particular story ends.

I tried cooking several dishes with my new measuring cups and many were rather successful. Philippe coached me long distance via Paris while he was still there, and I was determined to cook for him when he returned. Upon tasting my first dish, made with love, he lovingly told me that I “didn’t need to do that.” This is something people say when they receive a really nice gift of some kind that feels a bit too extravagant. In truth, they mean they are really glad for the gift and have no real intention of returning it. In my case, however, this phrase could simply be taken at face value. Though my dinner was edible, it lacked all of the culinary finesse that my future husband was capable of creating. Philippe not only enjoys cooking, he prefers to be in charge of the cuisine. So, I bid farewell to my shiny measuring cups and have taken to just stirring things or turning the oven on and off at the appropriate time when Philippe is running late at work. This, in the end, suits my own culinary ability perfectly. Instead, I set up shop on the other side of the kitchen counter and sketch and paint with watercolor, which I enjoy much more.

My friends have told me that I could surely cook something wonderful if I set my mind to it. But, that’s not really the point. I didn’t love cooking enough to apply myself in a way that would make me successful. The truth is, in life, we can only really succeed in DOing the things we truly love. The things that come with a passion and drive to DO more and more, try more and more, fail more and more, and no matter what, keep coming back for more and more! So, I chose art and writing as my focus. And those same friends, by the way, have now fully agreed with my path after tasting Philippe’s cooking. The thing I’ve learned is that while I love to try everything I possibly can, there are only a precious few things that I can practice regularly. So, a bit of focus is required. This isn’t something that comes naturally for me, but something I’ve been working on through this very blog. And, though I sometimes paint a funny picture of Philippe with my words, it should be noted that his insistence that I sit on the other side of the kitchen counter is because he wants me to succeed at what I love while he succeeds at what he loves. It’s the perfect recipe that we created together, despite the lack of a precise metric system in this country, that still has us joyfully measuring love in cups.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Metal Measuring Cups Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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24 thoughts on “Measuring Love In Cups

  1. I totally get where Philippe is coming from. Yes, for cooking weight is much more precise than volume. But volume is what is used for feeding your pets so cups it is. The only way you are going to use weight for feeding Phineas is if Philippe starts to make him dog food from scratch. DON’T TELL HIM THAT! Yes, there are plenty of recipes on the internet for cooking your dog their own food and baking them treats etc. And some of them measure in weight rather than volume.

    That is a lovely set. I like that the are fairly round, making scooping out easier, cleaning easier too I imagine, and that they are all attached together so no one goes astray. Stainless steel is the only way to go. And you make them so shiny. I really envy your ability to convey metal and glass.

    I have a set of stainless steel cups, plus measuring spoons. I also have a kitchen scale for measuring by weight.

    1. Thanks so much! 😃💕 And too funny… Philippe IS going to start making the dog’s food from scratch! LOL So he’s ready to give up cups entirely now! That’s exactly what started our conversation. But I love these stainless steel cups… they’re cool!

  2. Beautifully done Charlie! Good move on your part to be able to enjoy Philippe’s cooking and you can enjoy your art. I am still hopeful that my husband might show an interest in cooking but no so much. I still get to do art and that makes me happy.

  3. Those are my same measuring cups. I really like them. But I cook with them. Lol I’m still sitting here in the hospital. Tomorrow should be the day that I have the procedure. The beds here are most uncomfortable! But the nurses are nice.

  4. Those are super fine cups, nothing like the Tupperware 1970’s yellow cups we use, with a chewed-off handle on one and stove burner scars on two others. But they still measure and my wife whips up some outstanding dishes! (I am not the cook or baker in the family…) And you hit it on the head: all creative arts, whether sculpture, cooking or watercolor or anything else, succeed to the level of the love one has for the creative process. Love is the fuel in the engine.

  5. Your measuring cups are beautiful, shiny and reflective. For the sake of nostalgia, I like to remember my grandmother’s measuring cups – a half of an egg shell, rinsed out. She wouldn’t have had any idea of precise measuring, either in cups, ounces, or grams. But what she made with love was very sweet.

  6. Agreed! We do best with what we have passion for. Lucky you who has someone who enjoys cooking. Neither my husband or I enjoy it, yet Bill is always there helping when I am preparing a meal — makes it so much tolerable. Grateful that Bill gives me the time I crave for my art too, I am a very lucky person.

  7. This has to be the most wonderful, “romantical” (to use an Anne of Green Gables word) statement ever; “And, though I sometimes paint a funny picture of Philippe with my words, it should be noted that his insistence that I sit on the other side of the kitchen counter is because he wants me to succeed at what I love while he succeeds at what he loves.” Love the measuring cups too! 🙂

  8. Charlie, You are a talented writer and painter and those talents are what attracted me to Doodlewash
    early on. BUT your loveliest God given trait is your beautiful heart/soul. This article shows that beauty
    and warms the heart of each of us who are fortunate enough to read it.

  9. Wonderful cups!!! Your story had me smiling a lot. Indeed it is wonderful to try out many things but some more then others will pull at our heart and soul more. it is lovely that you and Philippe do share the counter while you do the things you love. 🙂

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