What is a Pinch, Dash or Smidgen?

I’ve been reading a ton of old time cookbooks lately. The community cookbooks are especially interesting in way measurements are defined.

You know what I’m talking about, your grandma or great auntie used these measurements:
Pinch, Dash, Smidgen

Those are kind of tough to translate into modern measuring amounts. I found the neatest little measuring spoons at a local cooking shop that take all the guess work out of it!

These are actually labeled: “Pinch”, “Dash” and “Smidgen”!

I did some digging on the internet though, to find out how those amounts really translate and here’s what I learned:

SMIDGEN – A smidgen holds 1/2 pinch or 1/32 teaspoon. 2 smidgens = 1 pinch

PINCH – A pinch holds 1/2 dash or 1/16 teaspoon. 2 pinches = 1 dash
A pinch has historically been defined as “an amount that can be taken between the thumb and forefinger” but without any definite equivalent in other units of measurement.

DASH – A dash holds 1/8 teaspoon. 8 dashes = 1 teaspoon
A dash was originally considered a liquid measure, a small but indefinite amount. More recently the term has been used as both a liquid and dry measurement.

At least that’s the consensus among most cooking and measuring authorities. There is a little debate about the pinch and dash measures being reversed. However, the manufacturer of my spoons has Dash as the larger sized spoon.

Now, I suppose the truest test will be to make one of those old recipes and see if I have too much salt!

Measuring Spoon Set

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