A pinch of this, a dash of that and a pat of butter. What’s that all about? Well instinctive cooking is what that’s all about.
In the many millions of days that people have been cooking without the empirical evidence of cooking science people have been using their instincts as well as trial and error to season their food. Measuring vesicles and standard recipes would come much later.
For the inquiring and left-brain dominant mind, how much exactly is a pinch? or a dash? If you can, ask grandma. She’ll have her estimation as will anyone else who employs this method in cooking. A pinch and a dash are personal and are dependent on your knowledge of food, experience with cooking it and the size of your hand. There are kitchen gadgets out there that have standardized the pinch and dash into measuring utensils. However, as the old adage says, practice makes perfect. Why not give it a try? The more you get acquainted with and become intimate with how food and seasonings meld together the more of an idea you’ll have of how much constitutes a Goldilocks medium.
Your challenge, should you chose to accept, is to find a recipe that calls for pinches and dashes and experiment with how much you think it should be. Be sure to taste your food as you go to test the seasoning level. It is better to under season your food in the beginning and add more later if needed. Let me know how it turns out!
Note: Baking is more of an exacting science so tread very carefully with your pinches and dashes.
And will the real pat of butter please stand up? There are many opinions on how much a pat is. Basically it’s some small amount of butter formed into a shape. I always think of the ones I got at pancake restaurants where the butter came in a square shape the size of special edition postage stamp and was sandwiched between 2 pieces of white non-stick food grade paper. Do you remember those?