Thursday, 4 October 2012

Conversions for Cooking

I know, I am a nightmare when it comes to recipes.  Part of my recipes are from America, where we write recipes according to volume.  You know - cups, teaspoons, tablespoons and it gets worse, we still use inches to describe baking tins.   Then when you least expect it, I drop in a recipe from the U.K. Here the recipes are written using the metric weights of ingredients and readers in the U.S. abandon all hope.  



To atone for my blogging sins, I am going to give you a few conversion options.  Click on this link to find a nifty Metric Conversion Calculator.  If you are like me, you still won't know how many ounces are in a litre but it won't matter so much....

http://southernfood.about.com/library/info/blconv.htm

The second problem with Trans-Atlantic cooking is temperature, Fahrenheit versus Celsius.  Here's a simple chart that fixes that issue once you remember which system you are currently using:  


Temperatures

225F = 105C
250F = 120C
275F = 130C
300F = 150C
325F = 165C
350F = 180C
375F = 190C
400F = 200C
425F = 220C
450F = 230C
475F = 245C
500F = 260C


I will warn you now, things rarely are exactly equal when converting between metric and imperial.  For simplicity, it's best to purchase a set of kitchen scales and a set of American measuring cups.  Both are widely available and relatively inexpensive. Once you have these tools your recipe options are endless.  Think of all the time you will save converting between imperial and metric.   And we all know, time is money!  

6 comments:

  1. I sort of muddle through when it comes to US measurements as I do have some cup measures EXCEPT when it comes to butter. How on earth can you have half a cup of butter?

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    1. Fortunately that is one of the easier conversions. A half a cup of butter is 4 ounces or 1/4 a pound. In the States butter and margarine are sold in 1/4 pound sticks, exactly 1/2 cup of butter! If you are measuring in grams it's just a bit over 100 grams.

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  2. I have a couple of cup sets and the amounts they hold vary A LOT! Give me good old scales anytime!!

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    1. Using measuring cups is SO American! The secret is to make sure that one cup is equal to 8 fluid ounces. Litres are NOT allowed..or should that be liters are not allowed? : ) You're right, let's just use the scales!

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  3. Hi there! I came across your blog in trying to figure out what the equivalent metric tool was for measuring spoons and cups. I was dumbfounded to realize that most of the world does not bake with volume measurement - LOL! Now, I have traveled to many foreign countries, but I guess I have never cooked or baked food in one! So, if I were to visit say a french kitchen, I would probably not find measuring cups and spoons - just a scale?? Is the same for the UK as well even though they use the English system as well?

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    1. Most British recipes are written using metric weights instead of volumes. It's considered a more accurate system. Measuring cups are used for fluids and scales for dry ingredients. Recently, American style measuring cups have become available, probably due to the popularity of international food blogs. Every kitchen should have a set of scales and a set of measuring cups then you won't miss out on any of the great recipes on either side of the Pond. : )

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