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imperial measurements

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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?

Don't ask a Canadian. :)  We can't decide.

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.

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?


--- Quote from: kareng57 on August 03, 2011, 10:05:49 PM ---Don't ask a Canadian. :)  We can't decide.

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...

--- End quote ---

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.

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.


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