I'm not a patient person. I stare at kettles wondering why they haven’t boiled yet. I finish all my fries before I get home from picking up takeout. And I skip the ingredients list in recipes, shrugging off any notion that I should prep everything before cooking. Instead of doing my mise en place, I gather only what I need for each step. I dice, smash, and open cans on the fly, running to the fridge when I need to find and prep whatever I need next. (I’ve burned a lot of garlic cooking this way.)
Or at least I used to. The OXO Good Grips Mini Angled Measuring Cup changed my unruly ways. I first bought a few of them for barista competitions (yes, they're a real thing; there’s even a movie about them). Initially, I only found them handy for measuring volume when pulling a shot of espresso, but I soon realized that a set of these lovely little cups makes prep work a joy.
I first turned to them in the kitchen when I ran out of ramekins, which were what I used to use for the little prep I would do, say to park a tablespoon of cumin or a mishmash of spices or chopped things. And when I did, I noticed that the measuring cups transformed that mishmash of spices or chopped things into elegant little displays, and I came to like that I could see all the ingredients ready for me as I move seamlessly through a recipe. I also liked that the OXO cups, unlike ramekins, stack neatly into one another and are small enough to live in your kitchen tools drawer.
Of course they're very real liquid measuring cups as well, with demarcations for cups, ounces, tablespoons, and milliliters, making them perfect for parceling out ingredients like oils, syrups, condiments, water, etc. Each mini measuring cup holds two ounces (which is four tablespoons, or 1/4 cup), and has an angled measuring scale so you can measure things by looking down into the cup from above, although you can also read the measurements by peering through the side, as you would with more conventional measuring cups.
Even better, I've found it's easier to measure small volumes of liquid with the mini measuring cups than it is with traditional measuring spoons. Normally, if you need two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, you have to pour the vinegar to the very top of your one-tablespoon measure, pour that into some container, then measure the second tablespoon, and then pour that into the same container, all the while risking spills. Since they're measuring cups and not spoons, the mini Oxo cups don't have the same wonky, spill-prone issues, and you can measure as little as a single teaspoon in them (that'd be the 5ml line) all the way up to a quarter cup, all at once and spill-free.
And I haven't even gotten to one of the OXO mini-measuring cup's most powerful uses: as a jigger replacement in your home bar. I envy bartenders who can fill a jigger all the way to the top and, with a flick of their wrist, pour it effortlessly into a cocktail shaker. But I'm not so graceful, and jiggers, as handy as they may be behind an active bar, are less useful at home given their non-standard sizes. A single OXO mini can take the place of just about every jigger variant out there, and its pour spout means I can pretend to have the finesse of a bartender and don't have to worry about cleaning up after myself.
I now use these cups for everything—giving my plants a quick drink of water, for example, or skimming scum from the top of a simmering pot of stock. This past Christmas, my partner filled my stocking with a dozen more of these cups. I can only hope someone loves you that much.