# Etiquette Hell

## A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: Slartibartfast on August 03, 2011, 09:54:16 PM

Title: imperial measurements
Post by: Slartibartfast on August 03, 2011, 09:54:16 PM
This may be a dumb question, but does anyone else use non-metric measurements besides the US?  For metric-measuring countries, how do your recipes break up things?  We've got assortments of measuring cups (fractions of teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, and occasionally dry or wet ounces).  It's hard to convert and, say, make a triple batch of cookies because you have to remember whether it's three teaspoons to a tablespoon and four tablespoons to a cup (or is it a quarter cup?), or maybe it's the other way around?  Then we have some things sold by weight but used in recipes by volume, like chocolate chips (12-oz bags but always measured in cups).

If you're used to metric, are you pretty much expected to be able to convert/multiply quantities in your head, since it's mostly by factors of 10?
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: kareng57 on August 03, 2011, 10:05:49 PM

About 25 years ago, metric-measuring instruments (cups, spoons etc.) were readily available, along with cookbooks that were metric-only, because Conversion was imminent.  And no one liked it...So we're "sort of" metric in that many food cans contain odd amounts such as 398 ml.  If I'm buying a large piece of poultry/beef such as a turkey, I still think in terms of pounds, although the bird is labelled in kilograms.  I just divide by 2 1/2, close enough.  And every newborn baby announcement is still made in pounds, not Kg.

The main thing is with baking - stick to either metric or imperial, don't try to mix/substitute.  (Although I can't think of where those metric-measurement baking spoons that I dutifully bought ended up - my 2-cup measure gives both).  I believe that in the UK measuring ingredients by weight is still common - I wouldn't try to convert unless the recipe-writer really knew what she was doing.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Cuddlepie on August 03, 2011, 10:13:08 PM
Australia converted to the metric system when I was young.

So my recipes are a mixture of -

1.  new recipes with metric measurements (mls, grams etc)
2.  old recipes using imperial measurements (pints, ounces etc)
3.  family recipes  (teaspoons, cups, and best of all.... a little bit of this ingredient)
4.  the recipes inside my head where I just add stuff by look and what's in the cupboard.

Somewhere   :-[    I have a list (from school days) giving how many teaspoons in a tablespoons and multiples along those lines.  Would you like me to dig it out and post the list?
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ligeia on August 03, 2011, 10:43:04 PM

About 25 years ago, metric-measuring instruments (cups, spoons etc.) were readily available, along with cookbooks that were metric-only, because Conversion was imminent.  And no one liked it...
<snip>

I think that's hilarious--because as an American kid in the 80s, we were told in elementary school that conversion was imminent!  Our parents assured us it was true; every other country was converting! And every year, part of our math education included endless conversion problems, testing, and so on, and then . . . the revolution never came.  The massive changes we were told would happen simply refused to happen--to this day, I don't know a soul who uses kilometers instead of miles, meters instead of feet, etc., in their everyday lives.  And, as a kid, I thought that was so hilarious; those teachers and other adults were so sure, yet so wrong.

Of course, they were right about science--American scientists (and some other industries) do use the metric system, for obvious reasons.  Yet all those elementary school lessons in imperial-to-metric conversion were for naught for most of us.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ereine on August 03, 2011, 10:49:26 PM
Finland has apparently used the metric system since late 19th century so nobody alive remembers the old measurements, I don't even really know what they were. Some older recipes will use measurements like "a coffee cup" but modern recipes use mostly liters, deciliters and grams (grams are mostly used for things like butter, though it's more exact measuring for everything as the amount of for example flour in a deciliter can vary). Milliliters are hardly used, instead we use spoon measurements which are accurate if you use the official measuring spoons but I think probably everyone just uses regular tea and table spoons. A table spoon is 15 ml which is three tea spoons but I think that if I was doubling a recipe that called for two teaspoons of  something I'd just use the teaspoon four times and not figure out that it's one table spoon and one teaspoon. I don't think that multiples of ten really enter much in making recipes bigger, unless you're making it ten times bigger. Of course you might end up with having to use 15 dl of flour for example, in which case it's easier to think of it as 1.5 liters but it doesn't really have any effect as all measuring cups that are that big will most likely also have the deciliters. It's probably easier to do things like multiply a recipe by 1.5 with a metric system, I would imagine.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: JoW on August 03, 2011, 11:05:31 PM
I think Yemen still uses imperial measurements.  Maybe pne or two other small countries.

The US is becoming more metric-literate.  We get soft drinks in 2 liter bottles.  Packages in the grocery store are marked in pounds and grams.  The speedometers in our cars are marked in miles/hour and km/hour.  Road signs near Canada have distances in both sets of units.  That may be true near Mexico, too.  Measuring cups and measuring spoons are marked in both units.

I work for a major pharmaceutical company.  I'm in the US, but everything we do at work is in metric units.  Everyone in the facility is fluent in both systems.

It is my opinion that the US will gradually convert to the metric system, but it will take several decades.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ligeia on August 04, 2011, 12:06:30 AM
Right, but it's been like that all my life, or at least as long as I can remember: soda has always been in liters, a lot of grocery stuff is marked in grams and so on.  All my and my family's cars have always had km/mile speedometers.  Yet I don't know anyone who actually looks at the metric part of scales or speedometers or measuring cups; in day-to-day life, when you're measuring distance or water for a recipe or weighing yourself, it's still all imperial.  Like I said, science and related industries converted to metric long ago, but I don't know anyone outside those industries who uses it on a regular basis.

I'm just saying--it seems to me that the inroads made toward conversion haven't really made any progress for a couple decades.  I'm sure we'll convert some day, but the "revolution" seems to have stalled since I was a kid.  I find it amusing for some reason.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: MariaE on August 04, 2011, 05:42:44 AM
Denmark uses an odd mix. We measure large quantities in litres (or decilitres = 1/10litre) or grams/kilograms and small quantities in teaspoons and tablespoons.

However, measuring spoons will have values written on them, so my teaspoons says that it's 5ml and my tablespoon that it's 15ml which makes it a lot easier when making large batches ("Right, so I need 10 tablespoons, that's 150ml so 1.5 dl!)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Bethalize on August 04, 2011, 06:00:52 AM
The UK uses both. I'm 35 and I grew up using imperial at home and metric at school. Now I use metric for everything apart from sponge cakes and pastry. This is mostly  because everything has to be sold in metric amounts. Except for pints of beer.

Our dry ingredients are measured by weight not volume.

Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Thipu1 on August 04, 2011, 08:08:11 AM
I think left handed cooks in the USA have metric conversion a bit easier than others.  My measuring cups have old measurements printed on one side and metric measurements on the other.  As a lefty, the metric side is facing me when I pick up the cup.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 04, 2011, 09:58:52 AM
Canadians use everything!  I have both Imperial and metric measuring spoons and cups and some that are marked with both so I can do what ever the recipe calls for.  But usually, if it is a metric recipe, I convert it to Imperial in my head.  I don't get too hung up on the differences between liquid and dry measurements, either, and just wing it.

1 tsp = ~5 ml
1 tbsp = 3 tsp = ~15 mL
2 tbsp = 1 oz
4 tbsp = 1/4 cup = 2 oz
1 cup = 8 oz = ~250 mL which is close to 250 g if the contents are close to water's density

But if a recipe calls for grams or pounds rather than mL or cups (weight vs volume), I will weigh out what I need to use.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Larrabee on August 04, 2011, 10:04:11 AM
The UK uses both. I'm 35 and I grew up using imperial at home and metric at school. Now I use metric for everything apart from sponge cakes and pastry. This is mostly  because everything has to be sold in metric amounts. Except for pints of beer.

Our dry ingredients are measured by weight not volume.

Our road signs and milometers in cars are still in miles not kilometres, most people still measure their height and weight in feet and inches, stones and pounds.

I also grew up using metric at school and imperial at home, we also learnt the conversions at school so I can think in both relatively easily, apart from fluid ounces, I've never understood fluid ounces!
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ruelz on August 04, 2011, 10:53:16 AM
Yes, Canucks use a bit of everything.

What drives me crazy though, is when we went metric - we mostly just converted imperial measurements to metric vs. going truly metric.

That means instead of using easy 250 ml, 500 ml measurements, we use 236 ml (8 oz), 295 (10 oz) etc.  Sometimes you can round it off, other times you can't.

And some things, like height and weight?  We still do totally imperial.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ligeia on August 04, 2011, 12:32:55 PM
^ So Canada really isn't that different from the US, huh?  I've never seen a road sign in km here, but I see packages all the time with both metric and imperial, as in 236 ml (8 oz).  Is milk still sold in quarts and gallons?  Milk cartons/jugs usually have the ml printed on them, but nobody ever says they need a liter of milk (or 3.78 liters of milk).

(Yes, I had to look that up.  I don't for a second remember how to do conversions in my head, despite all the conversions we did in elementary school.)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: hobish on August 04, 2011, 12:46:43 PM

Haha! Ligeia, i remember learning all that in school, too. Then i came home and excitedly told my Dad how we were going to switch to this fantastic new measuring system that made so much more sense ... and he laughed and said they told him the same thing in school  ;D I am amused by it, too.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ruelz on August 04, 2011, 12:49:33 PM
Canadians are supposed to be totally metric...so even though we're not...we're still more metric than the USA...

...but not much...
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 04, 2011, 01:03:41 PM
Actually, in Canada - at least in Ontario - we buy milk by the 4 L bag.  There are three smaller bags inside that contain 1.33 L each.  Everyone who uses these has a jug that the milk bag fits in.  And since we are on the Imperial gallon, which is 160 ounces instead of the US gallon which is 128 ounces, this is slightly less than 1 gallon for us.  (4.56 L is one Imperial gallon, I think.)

You can buy milk in waxed cardboard cartons that are either 1 L or 2 L in size.  And there are some places you can buy milk in 2 L or 4 L jugs but these tend not to be full grocery stores.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ruelz on August 04, 2011, 01:07:51 PM
I got very used to milk bags while we lived in Ontario...then we moved back out west and bought 4 L jugs...

I wonder why Ontario has bags and we don't?
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 04, 2011, 01:10:23 PM
I don't know.  I really prefer it, actually.  It is much easier to store and I like knowing that the container my milk is in has never been used before.  I don't think milk jugs are returnable any more nor do they get reused but it squicked me out when they were, when I was a kid.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Perfect Circle on August 05, 2011, 05:13:12 AM

Our road signs and milometers in cars are still in miles not kilometres, most people still measure their height and weight in feet and inches, stones and pounds.

Yep and the conversion results can be quite hilarious. I recently gave my height on a life insurance application form in centimetres because that's what I naturally do and it didn't specify. They converted 175cm to 5'2''. About seven inches missing. I think.

I don't understand all imperial measures as I've had to learn them as an adult, but I'm ok with pounds and pints. Ounzes get confusing, so I use a conversion table for baking recipes. And I am so glad all shops now use metric measures as well.

Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: demarco on August 05, 2011, 09:12:08 AM
Going metric was all the rage in the late seventies when I was a newlywed and trying to set up a household.  I remember going to a home shopping party during that time.  The seller soberly warned us that we were going to need all new measuring stuff because of it.  She just happened to have some for sale....

Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: camlan on August 05, 2011, 09:26:21 AM
I remember learning the metric system in school and being told it was the future and it was coming. (I'm in the US.) The metric system itself is lovely. Converting back and forth between the two systems was what was difficult for me. I remember thinking, "Just convert already. It'd be sooo much simpler." And I suspected that most people disliked the metric system (there was a lot of bad press about converting at one time) because of the difficulty in converting measurements from one system to another. But all you would have to do is convert once, and you'd be set. No more boring math problems about changing 12 feet, 7 and a half inches to centimeters or meters. You wouldn't be converting; you'd just be using the new system.

But at some point, I think the powers that be decided not to force such a strange and alien system on poor, hapless American citizens. So we remain the largest country in the world not to use the metric system.

You do see metric measurements on most packaged foods. And measuring cups have both sets of measurements, but measuring spoons do not. I think the military uses some metric measurements, and science and medicine use metric.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 05, 2011, 09:38:48 AM
But at some point, I think the powers that be decided not to force such a strange and alien system on poor, hapless American citizens. So we remain the largest country in the world not to use the metric system.

Most populous, anyway...   ;)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: One Goat to Rule Them All on August 05, 2011, 10:51:40 AM
But at some point, I think the powers that be decided not to force such a strange and alien system on poor, hapless American citizens. So we remain the largest country in the world not to use the metric system.

Most populous, anyway...   ;)

I always found it a bit ridiculous that the US still uses Imperial and England doesn't. Measurements based on the length of the king's feet, and temperature based on the freezing point of the Thames outside of Greenwich? How American!  ;D

I'm Canadian too, and I'll add a "True dat" to everything the Canadian PP's have said already. I used to get milk in a bag when I lived in Ontario, and now I get it in a 4 litre jug, which I kind of prefer- I don't have to change the milk bag every five minutes so frequently and try to use that stupid little cutter and then give up and just use scissors after mangling the bag a bit

The conversion was pretty much complete by the time I was old enough to start measuring anything.

I measure:
• Distance in Kilometers (and still think "that's not so fast" when watching American movies when they say " he was going 80!" in shocked voices)
• Height in Inches
• Weight in pounds
• measurements in centimeters/metres
• butter in pounds (not sticks- our butter comes in one big block with cup measurements on the side. 1 lb= 2 cups)
• cooking with cups and tablespoons. I've never seen a recipe that wasn't in imperial. Ok, I've rarely seen one that wasn't in imperial.
• temperature in Celsius. Fahrenheit never made sense to me. In Celsius, water freezes at zero and boils at 100. 20 is a lovely day (unless you're in southern Ontario, in which case it'll be muggy as hell). Easy peasy!

Cooking is made a bit difficult because while we cook in imperial, most cans and food are sold with metric volumes/weights on the side. I have an ancient palm pilot that has a conversion software in it that I take shopping if I need to, and I just plug in the number and it converts it for me. It's very handy! It does all kinds of conversions, too. Like "Newton metres" to "dyne cms", which I've found to be extremely handy in day to day life  8)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: NestHolder on August 05, 2011, 03:44:50 PM
My trustiest cookery book, the one I use when I'm trying to remember the quanties for pastry, or Yorkshire pudding, or how long to roast meat, is an ancient one I got from my Grandma, in which all the measurements are in lbs and oz and all the temperatures are in Gas Mark or Fahrenheit.  I manage.

Some of our (UK) items are still sold in amounts which are clearly the legacies of the Imperial system - eg 250g butter, which looks a lot like half a pound (actually it's about nine ounces).  It's changing; the shops display prices in kilos and litres, but if I go into my local butcher and ask for a pound of sausages, that's what he'll sell me—it's just that he'll weigh and price it in metric.  But we both have a better understanding of what a pound of sausages looks like than we do of half a kilo.

I quite like the American system of using cups for recipes, although I was sadly puzzled until I actually bought some 'cup' sized measures.  What cup?  This pretty, elegant teacup, or the mug I use for coffee, or a small mug, or... what?  However, Lakeland have provided both me and my daughter with proper cups.  She uses them to make muffins.

What really annoys me is when a recipe calls for a 'stick' of butter.  Hah.  I buy butter in the aforementioned quantities... so what's a 'stick'?  Grrr.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: One Goat to Rule Them All on August 05, 2011, 03:52:05 PM

What really annoys me is when a recipe calls for a 'stick' of butter.  Hah.  I buy butter in the aforementioned quantities... so what's a 'stick'?  Grrr.

A stick of butter is half a cup. Like I said, in Canada we get butter in 1 lb. blocks, but we used to bake with Margarine, and it came in half cup blocks so it was handy for American recipes. It came in a little square though, not a "stick"!
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: sparksals on August 05, 2011, 05:08:06 PM
^ So Canada really isn't that different from the US, huh?  I've never seen a road sign in km here, but I see packages all the time with both metric and imperial, as in 236 ml (8 oz).  Is milk still sold in quarts and gallons?  Milk cartons/jugs usually have the ml printed on them, but nobody ever says they need a liter of milk (or 3.78 liters of milk).

(Yes, I had to look that up.  I don't for a second remember how to do conversions in my head, despite all the conversions we did in elementary school.)

Not true.  In terms of "using" metric, many people like KAren and myself grew up with Imperial and convert the metric back to imperial.

Everything in Canada,  be it in the stores, at a gas station, a road sign, are all in metric.  Food is packaged in Grams or Kilograms.  They may show how many ounces they are depending on what it is.  Produce, deli and meat are sold per kilogram or per 100 grams.  Conversions may or may not be available.

Road signs for speed are always in KM and speed limits are KM/Hour.  Canadian vehicles speedometer show KMs/hour as the major speed, with MPH as the smaller numbers.  Odometers are in KMs as well.  Cars prior to a certain year, I thikn sometime in the 70's still have MPH if they are still on the road, but new vehicles since X year have metric first.

Gas is sold per litre.  There is never a conversion per gallon.

Road signs do not have miles, they do not sell meat by the pound or ounce.  The major and legally required measurement for weight, distance and volume is metric.  Imperial may be provided on certain items, but it is not required.  I think food manufacturers do it as a courtesy for those of us who got caught in the crossfire of learning Imperial and then having Metric rammed down our throats.  Now that I think of it, I think both are on packaged food b/c many manufacturers make for both US and CAnada.  However, another monkey wrench is in Canada ALL packaging be it food or a crockpot must be in english and french.

There are signs in the US in metric - on I-19 to be exact in AZ.  At a certain point leaving Tucson to head to Mexico, the signs change to KMs and I believe they also have MPH for speed and miles for distance.  Can't remember.  Don't know if other Interstates near Mexico also have that or not.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: JoW on August 05, 2011, 08:57:44 PM
...when a recipe calls for a 'stick' of butter.  Hah.  I buy butter in the aforementioned quantities... so what's a 'stick'?  Grrr.
In the US butter and margarine come in 1 lb boxes.  Each box contains 4 sticks.  Each stick is 5 inches long, 1.25 inches wide, 1.25" deep.  Each stick is wrapped in paper that is marked in 1 tablespoon chunks.  1 stick = 1/4 pound = 1/2 cup.  (This from the box I just dug out of my freezer so I could answer the question.)

The stick size and markings are useless if you are using a metric recipee.  But they are great if you are using an American recipe.  Which is part of the reason the US is so slow going metric.  Many of us are still using Grandma's recipees.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: kareng57 on August 05, 2011, 09:21:33 PM
^ So Canada really isn't that different from the US, huh?  I've never seen a road sign in km here, but I see packages all the time with both metric and imperial, as in 236 ml (8 oz).  Is milk still sold in quarts and gallons?  Milk cartons/jugs usually have the ml printed on them, but nobody ever says they need a liter of milk (or 3.78 liters of milk).

(Yes, I had to look that up.  I don't for a second remember how to do conversions in my head, despite all the conversions we did in elementary school.)

Not true.  In terms of "using" metric, many people like KAren and myself grew up with Imperial and convert the metric back to imperial.

Everything in Canada,  be it in the stores, at a gas station, a road sign, are all in metric.  Food is packaged in Grams or Kilograms.  They may show how many ounces they are depending on what it is.  Produce, deli and meat are sold per kilogram or per 100 grams.  Conversions may or may not be available.

Road signs for speed are always in KM and speed limits are KM/Hour.  Canadian vehicles speedometer show KMs/hour as the major speed, with MPH as the smaller numbers.  Odometers are in KMs as well.  Cars prior to a certain year, I thikn sometime in the 70's still have MPH if they are still on the road, but new vehicles since X year have metric first.

Gas is sold per litre.  There is never a conversion per gallon.

Road signs do not have miles, they do not sell meat by the pound or ounce.  The major and legally required measurement for weight, distance and volume is metric.  Imperial may be provided on certain items, but it is not required.  I think food manufacturers do it as a courtesy for those of us who got caught in the crossfire of learning Imperial and then having Metric rammed down our throats.  Now that I think of it, I think both are on packaged food b/c many manufacturers make for both US and CAnada.  However, another monkey wrench is in Canada ALL packaging be it food or a crockpot must be in english and french.

There are signs in the US in metric - on I-19 to be exact in AZ.  At a certain point leaving Tucson to head to Mexico, the signs change to KMs and I believe they also have MPH for speed and miles for distance.  Can't remember.  Don't know if other Interstates near Mexico also have that or not.

Road signs - the first highway signs you encounter upon entering Canada from the US border give the metric-equivalent reminder, but that's about it.  After that, Americans are on their own.......

And it's odd that, even though I have a science background and used metric exclusively at work for years - for household stuff I still convert in my head. 1 inch = 2 1/2 cm (close enough) 1 pound = a little less than half a kg, 1 km = 2/3 mile (close enough).  For temperature  - double the Celsius, add 30 and get the approximate Farenheidt.

Re butter/margarine - in Canada margarine comes in boxes of 1/4 lb squares but butter only comes in 1 or 2 lb bricks.  The wrapped sticks would indeed be nice.

Schoolkids have indeed been learning metric from the early grades for the last 30 years or so - but they eventually end up having to kind of pick up Imperial on the side anyway, since it's still so widely used.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: kareng57 on August 05, 2011, 09:27:52 PM
^ So Canada really isn't that different from the US, huh?  I've never seen a road sign in km here, but I see packages all the time with both metric and imperial, as in 236 ml (8 oz).  Is milk still sold in quarts and gallons?  Milk cartons/jugs usually have the ml printed on them, but nobody ever says they need a liter of milk (or 3.78 liters of milk).

(Yes, I had to look that up.  I don't for a second remember how to do conversions in my head, despite all the conversions we did in elementary school.)

Not true.  In terms of "using" metric, many people like KAren and myself grew up with Imperial and convert the metric back to imperial.

Everything in Canada,  be it in the stores, at a gas station, a road sign, are all in metric.  Food is packaged in Grams or Kilograms.  They may show how many ounces they are depending on what it is.  Produce, deli and meat are sold per kilogram or per 100 grams.  Conversions may or may not be available.

Road signs for speed are always in KM and speed limits are KM/Hour.  Canadian vehicles speedometer show KMs/hour as the major speed, with MPH as the smaller numbers.  Odometers are in KMs as well.  Cars prior to a certain year, I thikn sometime in the 70's still have MPH if they are still on the road, but new vehicles since X year have metric first.

Gas is sold per litre.  There is never a conversion per gallon.

Road signs do not have miles, they do not sell meat by the pound or ounce.  The major and legally required measurement for weight, distance and volume is metric.  Imperial may be provided on certain items, but it is not required.  I think food manufacturers do it as a courtesy for those of us who got caught in the crossfire of learning Imperial and then having Metric rammed down our throats.  Now that I think of it, I think both are on packaged food b/c many manufacturers make for both US and CAnada.  However, another monkey wrench is in Canada ALL packaging be it food or a crockpot must be in english and french.

There are signs in the US in metric - on I-19 to be exact in AZ.  At a certain point leaving Tucson to head to Mexico, the signs change to KMs and I believe they also have MPH for speed and miles for distance.  Can't remember.  Don't know if other Interstates near Mexico also have that or not.

Re older cars - a friend of mine in the late 1970s got a speeding ticket when she was driving a miles-only-speedometer car and was trying to follow the new km-only highway signs.  Unfortunately she converted in her head the wrong way.....

The kicker?  She was on her way to interview for an elementary school-teacher job. :)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: sparksals on August 05, 2011, 10:03:55 PM
^ So Canada really isn't that different from the US, huh?  I've never seen a road sign in km here, but I see packages all the time with both metric and imperial, as in 236 ml (8 oz).  Is milk still sold in quarts and gallons?  Milk cartons/jugs usually have the ml printed on them, but nobody ever says they need a liter of milk (or 3.78 liters of milk).

(Yes, I had to look that up.  I don't for a second remember how to do conversions in my head, despite all the conversions we did in elementary school.)

Not true.  In terms of "using" metric, many people like KAren and myself grew up with Imperial and convert the metric back to imperial.

Everything in Canada,  be it in the stores, at a gas station, a road sign, are all in metric.  Food is packaged in Grams or Kilograms.  They may show how many ounces they are depending on what it is.  Produce, deli and meat are sold per kilogram or per 100 grams.  Conversions may or may not be available.

Road signs for speed are always in KM and speed limits are KM/Hour.  Canadian vehicles speedometer show KMs/hour as the major speed, with MPH as the smaller numbers.  Odometers are in KMs as well.  Cars prior to a certain year, I thikn sometime in the 70's still have MPH if they are still on the road, but new vehicles since X year have metric first.

Gas is sold per litre.  There is never a conversion per gallon.

Road signs do not have miles, they do not sell meat by the pound or ounce.  The major and legally required measurement for weight, distance and volume is metric.  Imperial may be provided on certain items, but it is not required.  I think food manufacturers do it as a courtesy for those of us who got caught in the crossfire of learning Imperial and then having Metric rammed down our throats.  Now that I think of it, I think both are on packaged food b/c many manufacturers make for both US and CAnada.  However, another monkey wrench is in Canada ALL packaging be it food or a crockpot must be in english and french.

There are signs in the US in metric - on I-19 to be exact in AZ.  At a certain point leaving Tucson to head to Mexico, the signs change to KMs and I believe they also have MPH for speed and miles for distance.  Can't remember.  Don't know if other Interstates near Mexico also have that or not.

Road signs - the first highway signs you encounter upon entering Canada from the US border give the metric-equivalent reminder, but that's about it.  After that, Americans are on their own.......

And it's odd that, even though I have a science background and used metric exclusively at work for years - for household stuff I still convert in my head. 1 inch = 2 1/2 cm (close enough) 1 pound = a little less than half a kg, 1 km = 2/3 mile (close enough).  For temperature  - double the Celsius, add 30 and get the approximate Farenheidt.

Re butter/margarine - in Canada margarine comes in boxes of 1/4 lb squares but butter only comes in 1 or 2 lb bricks.  The wrapped sticks would indeed be nice.

Schoolkids have indeed been learning metric from the early grades for the last 30 years or so - but they eventually end up having to kind of pick up Imperial on the side anyway, since it's still so widely used.

So very true - the conversions back and forth.   For temps, I double the C and add 32.  For distance, I multiple by .6 (same as 2/3 without having to multiply and divide).  Since I live in the US, temps are in F, I convert to C all the time so I know what the 'real' temp is . lol   I do this mostly with cold weather temps.

For pounds to KG, I do 2.2 pounds per kg, so 500 g approx is one pound.  Looks like I convert backwards from you?
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: kareng57 on August 05, 2011, 10:14:09 PM
^ So Canada really isn't that different from the US, huh?  I've never seen a road sign in km here, but I see packages all the time with both metric and imperial, as in 236 ml (8 oz).  Is milk still sold in quarts and gallons?  Milk cartons/jugs usually have the ml printed on them, but nobody ever says they need a liter of milk (or 3.78 liters of milk).

(Yes, I had to look that up.  I don't for a second remember how to do conversions in my head, despite all the conversions we did in elementary school.)

Not true.  In terms of "using" metric, many people like KAren and myself grew up with Imperial and convert the metric back to imperial.

Everything in Canada,  be it in the stores, at a gas station, a road sign, are all in metric.  Food is packaged in Grams or Kilograms.  They may show how many ounces they are depending on what it is.  Produce, deli and meat are sold per kilogram or per 100 grams.  Conversions may or may not be available.

Road signs for speed are always in KM and speed limits are KM/Hour.  Canadian vehicles speedometer show KMs/hour as the major speed, with MPH as the smaller numbers.  Odometers are in KMs as well.  Cars prior to a certain year, I thikn sometime in the 70's still have MPH if they are still on the road, but new vehicles since X year have metric first.

Gas is sold per litre.  There is never a conversion per gallon.

Road signs do not have miles, they do not sell meat by the pound or ounce.  The major and legally required measurement for weight, distance and volume is metric.  Imperial may be provided on certain items, but it is not required.  I think food manufacturers do it as a courtesy for those of us who got caught in the crossfire of learning Imperial and then having Metric rammed down our throats.  Now that I think of it, I think both are on packaged food b/c many manufacturers make for both US and CAnada.  However, another monkey wrench is in Canada ALL packaging be it food or a crockpot must be in english and french.

There are signs in the US in metric - on I-19 to be exact in AZ.  At a certain point leaving Tucson to head to Mexico, the signs change to KMs and I believe they also have MPH for speed and miles for distance.  Can't remember.  Don't know if other Interstates near Mexico also have that or not.

Road signs - the first highway signs you encounter upon entering Canada from the US border give the metric-equivalent reminder, but that's about it.  After that, Americans are on their own.......

And it's odd that, even though I have a science background and used metric exclusively at work for years - for household stuff I still convert in my head. 1 inch = 2 1/2 cm (close enough) 1 pound = a little less than half a kg, 1 km = 2/3 mile (close enough).  For temperature  - double the Celsius, add 30 and get the approximate Farenheidt.

Re butter/margarine - in Canada margarine comes in boxes of 1/4 lb squares but butter only comes in 1 or 2 lb bricks.  The wrapped sticks would indeed be nice.

Schoolkids have indeed been learning metric from the early grades for the last 30 years or so - but they eventually end up having to kind of pick up Imperial on the side anyway, since it's still so widely used.

So very true - the conversions back and forth.   For temps, I double the C and add 32.  For distance, I multiple by .6 (same as 2/3 without having to multiply and divide).  Since I live in the US, temps are in F, I convert to C all the time so I know what the 'real' temp is . lol   I do this mostly with cold weather temps.

For pounds to KG, I do 2.2 pounds per kg, so 500 g approx is one pound.  Looks like I convert backwards from you?

Close enough. :)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Leafy on August 06, 2011, 02:50:22 AM
Finland has apparently used the metric system since late 19th century so nobody alive remembers the old measurements, I don't even really know what they were. Some older recipes will use measurements like "a coffee cup" but modern recipes use mostly liters, deciliters and grams (grams are mostly used for things like butter, though it's more exact measuring for everything as the amount of for example flour in a deciliter can vary). Milliliters are hardly used, instead we use spoon measurements which are accurate if you use the official measuring spoons but I think probably everyone just uses regular tea and table spoons. A table spoon is 15 ml which is three tea spoons but I think that if I was doubling a recipe that called for two teaspoons of  something I'd just use the teaspoon four times and not figure out that it's one table spoon and one teaspoon. I don't think that multiples of ten really enter much in making recipes bigger, unless you're making it ten times bigger. Of course you might end up with having to use 15 dl of flour for example, in which case it's easier to think of it as 1.5 liters but it doesn't really have any effect as all measuring cups that are that big will most likely also have the deciliters. It's probably easier to do things like multiply a recipe by 1.5 with a metric system, I would imagine.

Okay now I have to ask if any other metric countries use decilitres. I'm in Australia and I've never heard this measure used. We do litres and millilitres. And also out of curiosity why would you measure flour in decilitres? It's not a liquid so wouldn't it be best measured in grams?

I must admit to having a few imperial measurements which would be carried over from my mum's use of them as I've only been around for metric. I'll do baby weight in pounds and ounces and understand height equally well in feet or metres, but I'm still stuck on that stick of butter because I don't know ounces to grams and we don't measure butter in cups (just grams).

Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ereine on August 06, 2011, 03:25:38 AM
And also out of curiosity why would you measure flour in decilitres? It's not a liquid so wouldn't it be best measured in grams?

Because apart from maybe meat, vegetables and such and butter, everything is listed by volume even though it would make more sense to do it by weight as it's more accurate. I guess Finns just don't have kitchen scales :)

Decilitres are very handy, when you're talking about amounts that aren't very large or very small. A recipe might call for 2 dl of sugar, it looks a lot better (to me) than 200 ml or 0,2 l. Pretty much everything that's over 10 ml and less than 1 l is done in deciliters, usually you just say desi and everyone knows you're talking about volume, even though, at least in theory, deci- can mean a ten of every measurement (I've never heard of decigrams used though).

I do much of my baking with American recipes (but with Finnish ingredients so the results aren't probably quite right but as I've never tasted the real things I don't mind it) and have a measuring cup for that. The recipes look rather different from Finnish ones, I think.

In case someone is interested, here's a recipe for "American cookies" (without the instructions which are pretty basic) given to me by a friend, I suspect that it was translated into Finnish at some point, so now I'll translate it back:

250g margariinia (pehmeää) margarine (soft) *
2dl sokeria sugar
2dl fariinisokeria brown sugar **
1tl vaniliinisokeria vanillin sugar ***

2 kananmunaa eggs

5,75dl vehnäjauhoja wheat flour ****
1tl soodaa baking soda
1tl suolaa  salt

5dl suklaata pilkottuna chopped chocolate *****

*Margarine and butter are sold either in plastic tubs with no measurements in them or for baking as blocks wrapped in paper with measurements, but not in sticks.
** This is the type of brown sugar that's white sugar mixed with molasses
*** Vanilla is almost always mixed with sugar here, not an extract. Vanillin is artificial vanilla that is quite vile, I like to use real vanilla but it's quite expensive to find some that's not mixed with vanillin. tl = tea spoon
**** This measurement makes me think that this recipe was originally translated, as that's a bit strange. Measuring flour by volume is so inexact anyway that for most people it wouldn't probably matter  if they used 6 dl instead of 5,75.
***** Readymade chocolate chips don't exist here or at least I've never encountered them so you have to chop the chocolate yourself. My friend used Swedish milk chocolate that has pieces of a Daim bar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dime_bar) in it, it was surprisingly good.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: NestHolder on August 06, 2011, 01:32:27 PM
...when a recipe calls for a 'stick' of butter.  Hah.  I buy butter in the aforementioned quantities... so what's a 'stick'?  Grrr.
In the US butter and margarine come in 1 lb boxes.  Each box contains 4 sticks.  Each stick is 5 inches long, 1.25 inches wide, 1.25" deep.  Each stick is wrapped in paper that is marked in 1 tablespoon chunks.  1 stick = 1/4 pound = 1/2 cup.  (This from the box I just dug out of my freezer so I could answer the question.)

I think I may now be able to remember that!  A stick is 4oz.  Thank you!

Quote
The stick size and markings are useless if you are using a metric recipee.  But they are great if you are using an American recipe.  Which is part of the reason the US is so slow going metric.  Many of us are still using Grandma's recipees.

But my aforementioned cookery book is my Grandma's recipies!  Y'all will have to bite the bullet sooner or later...  (Though if you do go metric, thinking in pounds and pints and so forth will persist for quite a while.  Oh - beer is still sold in pints.)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: sparksals on August 06, 2011, 01:43:07 PM
Even though Canada is metric, recipes are posted in books in both. I always use Imperial for cooking and although I know 125 ml is half a cup I view it as half a cup and measure that way.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 06, 2011, 08:12:50 PM
I'm starting to see butter in sticks in Ontario.  But they are more expensive than just the plain 1 lb blocks.

Additionally, 1 lb of butter is actually just a little bit more than 2 cups.  If you look at the printed markings, it is actually closer to 2 1/4 cups.  When I'm baking, though, I usually just consider it 2 cups.  It is easier to just cut the block in half for 1 cup at a time.  What baked good wouldn't taste better with an extra 1/8 cup of butter?   ;D

We don't seem to use deciliters in Canada.  It is 250 mL, not 25 deciliters in most recipes.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: EngineerChick on August 06, 2011, 09:10:55 PM
And also out of curiosity why would you measure flour in decilitres? It's not a liquid so wouldn't it be best measured in grams?

Because apart from maybe meat, vegetables and such and butter, everything is listed by volume even though it would make more sense to do it by weight as it's more accurate. I guess Finns just don't have kitchen scales :)

Decilitres are very handy, when you're talking about amounts that aren't very large or very small. A recipe might call for 2 dl of sugar, it looks a lot better (to me) than 200 ml or 0,2 l. Pretty much everything that's over 10 ml and less than 1 l is done in deciliters, usually you just say desi and everyone knows you're talking about volume, even though, at least in theory, deci- can mean a ten of every measurement (I've never heard of decigrams used though).

I do much of my baking with American recipes (but with Finnish ingredients so the results aren't probably quite right but as I've never tasted the real things I don't mind it) and have a measuring cup for that. The recipes look rather different from Finnish ones, I think.

In case someone is interested, here's a recipe for "American cookies" (without the instructions which are pretty basic) given to me by a friend, I suspect that it was translated into Finnish at some point, so now I'll translate it back:

250g margariinia (pehmeää) margarine (soft) *
2dl sokeria sugar
2dl fariinisokeria brown sugar **
1tl vaniliinisokeria vanillin sugar ***

2 kananmunaa eggs

5,75dl vehnäjauhoja wheat flour ****
1tl soodaa baking soda
1tl suolaa  salt

5dl suklaata pilkottuna chopped chocolate *****

*Margarine and butter are sold either in plastic tubs with no measurements in them or for baking as blocks wrapped in paper with measurements, but not in sticks.
** This is the type of brown sugar that's white sugar mixed with molasses
*** Vanilla is almost always mixed with sugar here, not an extract. Vanillin is artificial vanilla that is quite vile, I like to use real vanilla but it's quite expensive to find some that's not mixed with vanillin. tl = tea spoon
**** This measurement makes me think that this recipe was originally translated, as that's a bit strange. Measuring flour by volume is so inexact anyway that for most people it wouldn't probably matter  if they used 6 dl instead of 5,75.
***** Readymade chocolate chips don't exist here or at least I've never encountered them so you have to chop the chocolate yourself. My friend used Swedish milk chocolate that has pieces of a Daim bar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dime_bar) in it, it was surprisingly good.

I'd have to do the math to see how exactly it converts back, but except for wheat flour instead of white flour, it looks like a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe to me.  (With the other difference you noted of vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract.)

Engineering equations that need to be done with the initial description in Imperial and the results in metric (or vice versa) are always fun.  A few rounds of this, and you start to realize that stoichiometry is your friend.  (At least the part where you are canceling out units.)

A few measures that haven't been mentioned yet:  Btu (British Thermal Unit), Newtons, Joules, pounds-mass, degrees Rankin, and degrees Kelvin.  Of course, there are also the aviation/naval units of nautical miles and knots (nautical miles per hour).   ;D
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: HorseFreak on August 06, 2011, 09:14:58 PM
In veterinary medicine in the US we often see a combination of pounds and kilograms. That can be incredibly confusing, especially when they're used in the same book chapter! 1 mg/kg and 1 mg/lb can be a life-threatening difference in dose. I do 99% of my work in metric, but I still can't think in kg when I look at an animal to eyeball its weight; I have to think in pounds and convert.

I have an American car that was designed for the European market and sold here a few years later. It has a 13.1 gallon gas tank, but the liters work out to an even number. :)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ligeia on August 06, 2011, 11:22:09 PM
But my aforementioned cookery book is my Grandma's recipies!  Y'all will have to bite the bullet sooner or later...  (Though if you do go metric, thinking in pounds and pints and so forth will persist for quite a while.  Oh - beer is still sold in pints.)

You'd think so--but what will it take?!  As I and some others have said, generations of us have been told to get ready for the Big Conversion . . . and it just refuses to happen.  And that's so funny to me.  I've actually been thinking about this, and I've decided it's going to require pervasive government intervention or something. We're familiar with the metric system, we just refuse to use it in our everyday lives; we apparently can't do it if we still think in imperial.  In order to change that, we're going to have to be issued new measuring cups, and/or the government will have to institute a cash-for-clunkers program to make us turn in our old ones.  Because a lot of products in the US already display the metric measurements, we're going to need legislation to stop manufacturers from printing the imperial ones alongside them (as they do now).  Cookbooks will have to be reissued.  Perhaps there will be free classes to help train us to estimate distances and weights in metric.  And in addition to millions of the highway signs, some agency will have to be responsible for moving all the mile markers on the roughly 47,000 miles of the interstate highway system to convert them to kilometers.  And then there are all the little things that will have to change; for some reason I keep thinking about the depth markers in public swimming pools.  A lot of repainting going on.

Yeah, none of it is going to happen any time soon!  And yeah, I'm sure other countries haven't had to resort to all those measures to get people to stop using the imperial system.  But I can't think of anything else that will effect the change.  Because science and science industries converted long ago (for the most part), I think most people assume it doesn't really matter any more.  With the advent of the internet and smart phones, you can convert in 2 seconds without having to, you know, do math in your head!  I wonder if they still tell elementary-school kids that Conversion is Imminent?

Quote
***** Readymade chocolate chips don't exist here or at least I've never encountered them so you have to chop the chocolate yourself. My friend used Swedish milk chocolate that has pieces of a Daim bar in it, it was surprisingly good.

The Daim bar does sound good--it's apparently like a Heath or Skor bar in the US.  I was about to say that it's a sad thing that you can't get chocolate chips in Finland, but actually, chopped chocolate would probably be better.  That looks like the chocolate-chip cookie recipe I've always used!
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ereine on August 07, 2011, 09:16:10 AM
We don't seem to use deciliters in Canada.  It is 250 mL, not 25 deciliters in most recipes.

It wouldn't be 25 deciliters for us either, as 250 ml is only 2,5 dl (there's the centiliter between ml and dl) :P But we almost never use deciliters for amounts larger than 1 liter. For some reason we like to make the number as small as possible so instead of saying 250 ml we say 2,5 dl and instead of 25 dl it's always 2,5 l. Milliliters don't get used much, there's tea and table spoons for the small amounts, centiliters are only used for alcohol (someone will order 16 cl of wine for example) and I've never heard anyone talk of dekaliters (for example last autumn I bought one dekaliter of lingonberries from the market. That looks very strange) or kiloliters.  For length decimeter isn't used, only milli-,  centi- and kilometer and for weights grams and kilograms. I think that we're supposed to use Joules for energy but nobody does. For some reason jeans sizes are measured in inches, I guess it's because jeans are so American, even when they're made in Finland.

There's an old Finnish measurement that's quite fun, called peninkulma, which is about 10 km. Peni is an old word for dog and one explanation says that that's the longest distance you can hear a dog bark. According to Wikipedia it may also refer to the distance a dog can pull a load. Wikipedia also tells me that USA, Myanmar and Liberia are the only countries that haven't adopted the SI, the International System of Units.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Kikki on August 07, 2011, 12:31:22 PM
Decimeters (10 cm or roughly 4") is used in Sweden, how interesting that it's not used in Finland. Most other things Ereine have written about use in Finland are true for Sweden as well.

For ordinary homebaking we usually measure the ingredients by volume but if you want to be serious about it you go by weight instead. I have a digital kitchen scale that I use quite a lot, both for cooking and baking.
I think the only substance that is never measured by volume is butter. You buy it in blocks wrapped in paper with 25gr stripes printed so you can just cut off how much you need. I usually weigh it though.

As a Swede I would never order 16cl of wine, I'd just order a glass. But I would order 6cl of vodka or buy a 75cl bottle of gin. As in Finland centliters is mostly used for alcohol, and for some reason soda and beer cans and bottles.

We also use the measurement peninkulma in Sweden, only the Swedish word for it is "mil" (same roots as the English word mile) which is 10 kilometers. So for me it's not roughly 300 kilometers to Oslo, it's roughly 30 mil.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ereine on August 07, 2011, 12:41:42 PM
We also use the measurement peninkulma in Sweden, only the Swedish word for it is "mil" (same roots as the English word mile) which is 10 kilometers. So for me it's not roughly 300 kilometers to Oslo, it's roughly 30 mil.

Peninkulma didn't used to be 10 km, it was something like 6 according to Wikipedia, but when the measurements became more official and the same in the whole country (Finland being just the eastern part of Sweden) peninkulma was made to be the same as mil.

There's also an old measurement used by reindeer herders in Lapland (who are the indigenous people of the area): the distance a reindeer travels without peeing. I've never been sure if it's a joke or not, but I guess that when the reindeer is your transportation that's important.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: sparksals on August 08, 2011, 11:32:44 AM
The differing uses of metric is fascinating!  I find it funny cuz when it was rammed down our throats in canada --- errrrr introduced, the reasoning was to be standardized with the rest of the world.  Interesting how metric countries use it differently!

On another note, I think the US is the only place to pronounce 'Z' as ZEE whereas the rest of the english world pronounces it ZED.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: CakeEater on August 09, 2011, 05:13:45 AM
I think a deciliter would be a very useful measurement. A mL is so tiny!

Australian here. Reading US recipes, I was trying to work out how on earth they measure butter by the cup. I was imagining people softening the butter, and squashing it into the cup and trying to wash it afterwards. What do you do if you use a bit more or less than the exact amount on the paper?

Thank goodness for google telling me how many grams a stick of butter weighs.

As others have mentioned, most people here still give babies' birthweights in pounds. I actually had no idea that there were 16 ounces in a pound until my second was born at 9lb15. 15? I was sure there were 12 ounces in a pound. I must never have come across a baby born at more than 11 ounces.  ::)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Mazdoy on August 09, 2011, 06:11:21 AM
I grew up learning metric in school and I've always been more comfortable with that.  Although I'll give my height in feet & inches, I'll give my weight in kg (because that's what I use on the gym equipment programs).

My mother has some old cookbooks that use imperial and I have some American recipes but I only start using them when I was given measuring cups as a gift.  Before that I had no clue which size cup to use.

Our speed signs (Ireland) changed to Km about 6 or 7 years ago and since then all the cars are in km whereas before they had both miles and km.  It's strange driving over the border into Northern Ireland and trying to remember what 60mph is.  Thankfully I don't go there very often.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: One Goat to Rule Them All on August 09, 2011, 03:34:25 PM
I think a deciliter would be a very useful measurement. A mL is so tiny!

Australian here. Reading US recipes, I was trying to work out how on earth they measure butter by the cup. I was imagining people softening the butter, and squashing it into the cup and trying to wash it afterwards. What do you do if you use a bit more or less than the exact amount on the paper?

Thank goodness for google telling me how many grams a stick of butter weighs.

As others have mentioned, most people here still give babies' birthweights in pounds. I actually had no idea that there were 16 ounces in a pound until my second was born at 9lb15. 15? I was sure there were 12 ounces in a pound. I must never have come across a baby born at more than 11 ounces.  ::)

You can measure a cup of butter by filling a two cup measure with 1 cup of water, and adding butter until the water level is up to two cups. It results in wet butter, but it's not the end of the world. I just use the markers on the butter wrapper, and if it's not exact it hasn't resulted in disaster yet!
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: SouthernBelle on August 09, 2011, 03:53:23 PM
Generally speaking, you can't have too much butter.

Or bacon.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: CakeEater on August 09, 2011, 09:42:42 PM
Generally speaking, you can't have too much butter.

Or bacon.

True!  ;D
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: kareng57 on August 09, 2011, 09:52:04 PM
I think a deciliter would be a very useful measurement. A mL is so tiny!

Australian here. Reading US recipes, I was trying to work out how on earth they measure butter by the cup. I was imagining people softening the butter, and squashing it into the cup and trying to wash it afterwards. What do you do if you use a bit more or less than the exact amount on the paper?

Thank goodness for google telling me how many grams a stick of butter weighs.

As others have mentioned, most people here still give babies' birthweights in pounds. I actually had no idea that there were 16 ounces in a pound until my second was born at 9lb15. 15? I was sure there were 12 ounces in a pound. I must never have come across a baby born at more than 11 ounces.  ::)

In Home Ec (Canada, but in the early 70s before we "converted") we were taught the "displacement" method - kind of like Archimedes?  If you wanted a 1/2 cup butter, you filled the glass measuring cup to 1 cup with water, then added chunks of butter till it reached 1 1/2 cups.  And no, I'm not kidding...

Some butter-packager later wisely started adding approximate cup-measurements along the foil wrapper, so you could cut off chunks of 1/4 lb, 1/2 lb etc.  And yes, I know that I'm mixing volumes and weights.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Spoder on August 09, 2011, 09:53:06 PM
Generally speaking, you can't have too much butter.

Or bacon.

True!  ;D

Ha, yeah. You don't need to *measure* butter. If in doubt, just throw the whole stick in.  ;D
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Mazdoy on August 10, 2011, 03:15:49 AM
Our butter doesn't come in sticks so I'm glad it's always in grams in recipes.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Craftyone on August 10, 2011, 06:13:32 AM
And just to add more confusion.  Australia's (and possibly New Zealand, googling bought up conflicting answers) official tablespoon measurement is 20ml, 4 x a teaspoon (5ml).  Some Australian recipes state that they are using the official tablespoon.  Yet when you go to a cooking shop, because most of them are imported, the tablespoons are 15ml.  I use a lot of American recipes too (love, love, love epicurious.com) so I have to remember the difference.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: mechtilde on August 10, 2011, 06:26:57 AM
Some packs of butter in the UK will have little marks on the wrapper to show where to cut for different amounts- it is always in metric, and sometimes in imperial as well.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Elisabunny on August 11, 2011, 10:55:29 PM
I grudgingly admit that metric is better for scientific purposes (I'm a chemist, so I pretty much have to ::) ), but I really think Imperial is better for real life.  It's hard to cut things into 10 pieces, but pretty easy to eyeball 1/3s and halves, and by extension 1/12ths and 16ths.  And temperatures: 0C is the feezing point of water, but only if it's pure and at sea level.  0F, OTOH, tells you something no matter where you live: it's COLD.  And above 100F, yeah, it's HOT.

I have to say though, my absolute favorite unit is the stone.  14 lbs.  Really?  It seems so delightfully random.  ;D   I really want a scale to measure my weight in stones.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: One Goat to Rule Them All on August 12, 2011, 01:48:58 AM
I grudgingly admit that metric is better for scientific purposes (I'm a chemist, so I pretty much have to ::) ), but I really think Imperial is better for real life.  It's hard to cut things into 10 pieces, but pretty easy to eyeball 1/3s and halves, and by extension 1/12ths and 16ths.  And temperatures: 0C is the feezing point of water, but only if it's pure and at sea level.  0F, OTOH, tells you something no matter where you live: it's COLD.  And above 100F, yeah, it's HOT.

I have to say though, my absolute favorite unit is the stone.  14 lbs.  Really?  It seems so delightfully random.  ;D   I really want a scale to measure my weight in stones.

You lost me on the temperature. I think it's much better knowing that zero is when water freezes, and 100 is when water boils. When the temperature is 0, you know you need a toque!

My DH has a story about driving down to the states in November and camping in the desert. He had this conversation with the guy running the campsite:

Guy: Are you sure you want to camp in just tents? It gets pretty cold at night!
DH: Our sleeping bags are good to 5 degrees, do you think we'll be ok?
Guy: Oh sure! It won't get that cold, you'll be fine!

You can see where this is going...DH forgot where he was and was thinking in Celsius, and the guy was thinking in Fahrenheit. They spent the whole night running into the bathroom and filling their bags with hot air from the hand dryers  ::)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Leafy on August 12, 2011, 05:20:34 AM
I grudgingly admit that metric is better for scientific purposes (I'm a chemist, so I pretty much have to ::) ), but I really think Imperial is better for real life.  It's hard to cut things into 10 pieces, but pretty easy to eyeball 1/3s and halves, and by extension 1/12ths and 16ths.  And temperatures: 0C is the feezing point of water, but only if it's pure and at sea level.  0F, OTOH, tells you something no matter where you live: it's COLD.  And above 100F, yeah, it's HOT.

I have to say though, my absolute favorite unit is the stone.  14 lbs.  Really?  It seems so delightfully random.  ;D   I really want a scale to measure my weight in stones.

You lost me on the temperature. I think it's much better knowing that zero is when water freezes, and 100 is when water boils. When the temperature is 0, you know you need a toque!

My DH has a story about driving down to the states in November and camping in the desert. He had this conversation with the guy running the campsite:

Guy: Are you sure you want to camp in just tents? It gets pretty cold at night!
DH: Our sleeping bags are good to 5 degrees, do you think we'll be ok?
Guy: Oh sure! It won't get that cold, you'll be fine!

You can see where this is going...DH forgot where he was and was thinking in Celsius, and the guy was thinking in Fahrenheit. They spent the whole night running into the bathroom and filling their bags with hot air from the hand dryers  ::)

OT - as an Aussie I only know what a toque is from having been in Canada recently. My DH and I fell in love with this word and used it the rest of the trip. A toque is a beanie in Australia.

And back to the topic, I just have to say that I am loving this thread and finding the discussion fascinating. I had never realised before that tablespoons could be different measurements based on the country. I am going to have another look at some of my recipes to see where they are from.

On the point of butter - we have 50g portions indicated on the side. Count me as another person who wondered how to get the butter in the cup for measuring - I never thought it could be indicated on the packaging. i always pictured myself smooshing it into the cup to measure it and then giving up on the recipe as it was too hard.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 12, 2011, 08:36:10 AM
I have a Pampered chef measuring cup that lets you put solids, particularly fats, in the one end to measure and then it has a plunger to push it out!  If you butter/margarine/shortening/lard is soft, it is easy to squish it in.

When I make bread, I make 8 loaves at a time.  Each one takes 1/4 cup butter so I fill the cup to the 1 cup mark and I can plunge out 1/4 cup at a time.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Ereine on August 12, 2011, 12:40:34 PM
I grudgingly admit that metric is better for scientific purposes (I'm a chemist, so I pretty much have to ::) ), but I really think Imperial is better for real life.  It's hard to cut things into 10 pieces, but pretty easy to eyeball 1/3s and halves, and by extension 1/12ths and 16ths.  And temperatures: 0C is the feezing point of water, but only if it's pure and at sea level.  0F, OTOH, tells you something no matter where you live: it's COLD.  And above 100F, yeah, it's HOT.

I've been wondering what sort of cooking needs dividing things that would be different for metric. I mean even if I'm using metric measurements there's nothing stopping from diving my bread dough to 16 pieces, for example. About the only ingredient that I regularly divide is butter (I confess to smooshing butter into a cup, it never occurred to me that there was some other way...) and even that usually comes in 400 g blocks and very rarely you need 40 g of butter, it's more likely to be 100 g so you just divide it by 1/4ths. Everything else is measured by weight or volume, which seems a lot easier.

0C is very useful for me too, it tells me if streets are likely to be icy and if I need winter clothes, 0F doesn't really tell me anything as at that point it's usually clearly a winter and it isn't even particularly cold, you don't need anything except normal winter clothes. I sincerely hope that I never have experience 100F.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: JoW on August 12, 2011, 11:01:52 PM
.... I sincerely hope that I never have experience 100F.
Why?  100F is a fraction colder than 38C.  Its hot, but with a shade and a cold drink its tolerable.

I grew up using F, but use C at work.  I have a feel for both scales.  I can also estimate lengths and volumes in either system for the same reason.  Thats how the metric system will take hold in the US.  People like me and the people I work with are being forced to learn the metric system at work because our employers want to sell our products outside the US.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: squeak on August 13, 2011, 06:23:13 AM
[I always found it a bit ridiculous that the US still uses Imperial and England doesn't. Measurements based on the length of the king's feet, and temperature based on the freezing point of the Thames outside of Greenwich? How American!  ;D

I'm Canadian too, and I'll add a "True dat" to everything the Canadian PP's have said already. I used to get milk in a bag when I lived in Ontario, and now I get it in a 4 litre jug, which I kind of prefer- I don't have to change the milk bag every five minutes so frequently and try to use that stupid little cutter and then give up and just use scissors after mangling the bag a bit

/quote]

I used to get milk in bags when I lived in BC (bottles too in the '90's!). Maybe it's dairy specific? We had Island Farms, but in Ontario I get cartons from Dairyland or Beatrice. I swear my cousin picked up some bags in central Alberta when I was visiting last year. Maybe it was a plastic jug. But I thought there were bags.

Gallons confuse me for gas when I cross the border. I haven't a clue how to convert them to litres in my head.  ???
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: One Goat to Rule Them All on August 13, 2011, 10:33:25 AM
Quote
I always found it a bit ridiculous that the US still uses Imperial and England doesn't. Measurements based on the length of the king's feet, and temperature based on the freezing point of the Thames outside of Greenwich? How American!  ;D

I'm Canadian too, and I'll add a "True dat" to everything the Canadian PP's have said already. I used to get milk in a bag when I lived in Ontario, and now I get it in a 4 litre jug, which I kind of prefer- I don't have to change the milk bag every five minutes so frequently and try to use that stupid little cutter and then give up and just use scissors after mangling the bag a bit

/quote]

I used to get milk in bags when I lived in BC (bottles too in the '90's!). Maybe it's dairy specific? We had Island Farms, but in Ontario I get cartons from Dairyland or Beatrice. I swear my cousin picked up some bags in central Alberta when I was visiting last year. Maybe it was a plastic jug. But I thought there were bags.

Gallons confuse me for gas when I cross the border. I haven't a clue how to convert them to litres in my head.  ???

I'm in XX now, and XXXXXXXXXXX comes in either jugs or cartons. The only place I've seen milk in a Bag is at the Real Canadian Superstore, the only foothold Loblaws has here. Maybe if they open more stores it'll take off here again!

Now that I think about it, my Grandma (who lives here too) was always saving the milk bags to freeze things in, so bagged milk must have been more widespread 20 years ago. I wonder why it went out of fashion here?
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: sparksals on August 13, 2011, 02:49:31 PM
I have a Pampered chef measuring cup that lets you put solids, particularly fats, in the one end to measure and then it has a plunger to push it out!  If you butter/margarine/shortening/lard is soft, it is easy to squish it in.

When I make bread, I make 8 loaves at a time.  Each one takes 1/4 cup butter so I fill the cup to the 1 cup mark and I can plunge out 1/4 cup at a time.

I have a couple of these too.  Love them.  One side is for measuring liquids, the other for messy things like butter, peanut butter, honey.  Put it in and push the plunger up to get everything out neatly.   Here is the pampered Chef Measure All Cup:   I have had mine for nearly 20 years and it is still going.

(http://www.pamperedchef.com/images/product/resized/2225_product.jpg)

This one is from BB&B for the same price.

(http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/file:///C:/Users/Cathy/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-23.png)(http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/file:///C:/Users/Cathy/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-24.png)(http://images.bedbathandbeyond.com/assets/product_images/380/3128713126780P.JPG)
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: Carnation on August 13, 2011, 03:55:14 PM
Who remembers Bob Greene's "We Ain't Metric" campaign of the 1970's? 8)

Who remembers 3 speed bikes being known as "English" bikes?  They came with a little case with bitty metric tools.

Right now, we have metric and standard road signs in the local college town, but that's the extent of it.

By the way, I just bought a cookbook from 1916 that calls for "butter, the size of a walnut."

Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: onikenbai on August 15, 2011, 11:51:25 PM
Part of the problem of not using metric in Canada is that we're stuck between the US and UK imperial systems, which are not quite the same.  Some people use UK version because of history, and others use US because of proximity.  Having a 200 gallon tank here could either be imperial gallons or US gallons, and they are surprisingly off by quite a bit.  Metric is standard everywhere.  Yes, some countries use mL and some use dL, but the actual unit size doesn't change.

The only things I don't use metric for are body weight, height and cooking.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: marcel on August 18, 2011, 05:59:17 AM
If you're used to metric, are you pretty much expected to be able to convert/multiply quantities in your head, since it's mostly by factors of 10?
This part of the OP, is a typical question from a person who is used to imperical.
Even though you do know it, there is still the problem of really understanding that unlike in the imperical system there are no conversion in metric. That is the reason why I always say that metric is objectively easier then imperical.

to clarify:
to measure distance/length
you use: inch, feet, yard, mile (conversions necessary)
we use:  meter (no conversions)
to measure volume
you use: cup, ounce, gallon
we use:  liter
OR
you use: cubic inch / cubic feet (I have seen thes being used)
we use:  m3 (=1000 liter)
to measure weight
you use: grain, ounce, pound, stone
we use: gram (1000 gram is 1 lieter of water)

As you can see, not only does the metric use one unit per variable, the different units for the variables are also clearly related to eachother.

The only thing you need to know is that
milli = 1/1000
centi = 1/100
deci = 1/10
deca = 10
hecto = 100
kilo = 1000

I grudgingly admit that metric is better for scientific purposes (I'm a chemist, so I pretty much have to ::) ), but I really think Imperial is better for real life.  It's hard to cut things into 10 pieces, but pretty easy to eyeball 1/3s and halves, and by extension 1/12ths and 16ths.  And temperatures: 0C is the feezing point of water, but only if it's pure and at sea level.  0F, OTOH, tells you something no matter where you live: it's COLD.  And above 100F, yeah, it's HOT.

I have to say though, my absolute favorite unit is the stone.  14 lbs.  Really?  It seems so delightfully random.  ;D   I really want a scale to measure my weight in stones.
Actually, the point of metric is that you can easily cut things into anything, there is no reason to limit yourself to tenths only.
1/3, 1/2, 18/ etc work just as well in metric as in imperial.
I find it odd that you believe that it is easier to need to converse variables in real life, instead of not having to do any conversions, within one variable
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: marcel on August 18, 2011, 06:03:32 AM
The differing uses of metric is fascinating!  I find it funny cuz when it was rammed down our throats in canada --- errrrr introduced, the reasoning was to be standardized with the rest of the world.  Interesting how metric countries use it differently!

On another note, I think the US is the only place to pronounce 'Z' as ZEE whereas the rest of the english world pronounces it ZED.
even though in practice people use it differently, the use of metric is still standardised in all those countries.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: katycoo on September 25, 2011, 05:54:10 AM
Denmark uses an odd mix. We measure large quantities in litres (or decilitres = 1/10litre) or grams/kilograms and small quantities in teaspoons and tablespoons.

However, measuring spoons will have values written on them, so my teaspoons says that it's 5ml and my tablespoon that it's 15ml which makes it a lot easier when making large batches ("Right, so I need 10 tablespoons, that's 150ml so 1.5 dl!)

Intruigingly, we don't use decilitre in Australia.  Ever.  We would say 10 millilitres, despite them being the same thing.  How odd.

And now rereading the whole thread - I discover this point has already been discussed.  You you lot use centilitres too?
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: MariaE on September 25, 2011, 11:18:32 AM
Denmark uses an odd mix. We measure large quantities in litres (or decilitres = 1/10litre) or grams/kilograms and small quantities in teaspoons and tablespoons.

However, measuring spoons will have values written on them, so my teaspoons says that it's 5ml and my tablespoon that it's 15ml which makes it a lot easier when making large batches ("Right, so I need 10 tablespoons, that's 150ml so 1.5 dl!)

Intruigingly, we don't use decilitre in Australia.  Ever.  We would say 10 millilitres, despite them being the same thing.  How odd.

And now rereading the whole thread - I discover this point has already been discussed.  You you lot use centilitres too?

Funnily enough we don't outside the chemistry lab. In cooking we only use ml, dl and l.
Title: Re: imperial measurements
Post by: oz diva on September 25, 2011, 09:36:32 PM
While I use metric for everything else, I still use imperial for height. I doesn't mean anything to me to say someone is 185 cm tall, I'm far happier if someone says they're 5'10".