We're all familiar with the concept and it's so omnipresent we've all but accepted that when a piece of lumber is called a two by four it refers literally to what it once had been and NOT what it is now. Just in case you don't know, it's not bigger, it's smaller. And having succeeded in gaining the mute acceptance of the American public, other areas of industry have followed suit. Think of all the money this is saving them, shaving off pieces of wood. It's become a metaphor for clever merchandising (read cheating the public and getting away with it).Although I detest the concept on principal, it doesn't directly affect me when it comes to many things but when it comes to cake pans, my most vital piece of equipment for cake baking, it makes me MAD. When I create a recipe for a 9 inch by 2 inch high pan whose volume is 8 2/3 cups and people find 9 inch pans that actually are 8 1/2 inches at the bottom and just under 9 inches at the top, the recipe will overflow the pan. I've taken to saying how much to fill the pan (with most batters no more than 2/3 full). Also a slope-sided pan is an extreme inconvenience when you stack one layer on top of the other and hope for even sides to ice. So when you go shopping for cake pans (or pie plates for that matter) carry a tape measure with you. Being the daughter of a cabinet maker my first toy was an industrial wooden fold out ruler, and I still remember the cute little bronze mini measure that slid out from the end--of course it was my favorite part. I would never leave the house without my own purse size version.
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