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Instead of giving precise cup measurements for many cooking ingredients—such as ½ cup chopped onion or 1 cup diced carrots—I list them as “1 onion, chopped” and “2 carrots, diced.” There are two reasons for doing this. One is so that you can more easily visualize the recipe while shopping. Carrots and onions are found whole in the markets, not diced and measured in cups. The second, and perhaps more important, reason is that there should be flexibility in cooking, and no need for many ingredients to be measured precisely. It makes little difference to the end results if one reader uses a medium-small onion while another uses a medium-large one.