Help for Au Pairs with reading American recipes

At my house, we love to cook! and bake! and eat! As young as two years old, all of my children have started to help in the kitchen. It is a great way to keep the kids involved and also to learn many great skills in math and reading.

One of the first things my kids learn is the difference between measuring cups and spoons, very important to know, and then they learn about the liquid and dry measures.

The difference between measuring cups and spoons is obvious, but the difference between Tablespoons and teaspoons can be tricky. Some recipes will spell it out, but others will use short-hand that kids, and au pairs, may not know! A capital T is short for Tablespoon, as is Tbsp or tbsp. A lower-case a is used for teaspoon, as is tsp. Another good thing to know is how many teaspoons in a Tablespoon (the answer is three, unless you are talking about Australian Tablespoons; see for the deets).


Something you may not know is that there are different measuring cups for liquid and dry ingredients! It is not a great difference, but you should be as accurate as possible when following recipes. For example, when a recipe calls for oil or milk, you should use a liquid measuring cup, which is often made of Pyrex glass like this one:

pyrex meas cup

If the recipe calls for dry ingredients like sugar and flour, use the regular dry measuring cups like these:


Kids can do a great job helping to measure ingredients and mix them together. Older kids can even read the recipe, or what I love to do to my kids, figure out how to make a half a recipe (if your family is small or you have limited ingredients) or how to double the recipe (if your family is large or you plan to share the recipe). Then let the kids start to choose their own healthy recipes and share with their family and friends!

For more information on our au pair programs, visit our website at or contact me directly at or 401.309.1925.

Good luck and happy cooking!

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This is a pretty complicated recipe (Cinnamon Twist Wreath) using yeast that my 14 year old daughter made, with a little help from her five younger siblings! Great job, Daniella!


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