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Cooking Measurements

If you are an American or Canadian, and you find a British recipe or a military or commercial recipe that you want to try, you may find that the recipe gives ingredient amounts by weight when what you are used to is volume measurements such as cups and tablespoons. If you want to use a Europen recipe, you may find that it is not only by weight, but is in metric units such as grams.

On the other hand, you may be European or British, and you may find yourself stymied by American & Canadian recipes that are in cups and tablespoons.

The easiest, best solution for Americans and Canadians is to purchase a small electronic kitchen scale that weighs in both ounces and in grams. This is easy and not very costly. It takes no math or conversion tables, and you'll find having a small scale is useful for other things as well.

For Brits and Europeans, the easiest solution is to purchase a two-cup measuring cup and a set of measuring teaspoon/tablespoons. Neither of these is expensive, and like the scale above, they require no math or conversion tables. Your local shop may not have them, but you can easily get them over the Internet.

Why isn't there an easy conversion table? The answer is because Americans & Canadians use volume measurements and Brits & Europeans use weight measurements, and these two are not easily converted from one to the other. A given volume of one substance often weighs more or less than an equal volume of another substance. Substances have different densities. One cup (volume) of flour weighs 5.3 ounces or in metric 150.25 grams. On the other hand, One cup (volume) of sugar weighs 8 ounces, or in metric 226.8 grams. So, you can't just say that one cup (volume) equals a given measurement in weight because it's different for different substances.

As if that weren't enough, in our system of weights and measures, we have two kinds of "ounces". One is for volume: There are 8 fluid ounces in a cup and 16 fluid ounces in a pint. The other is in weight: There are 16 ounces in a pound. Just remember that if you measure it with a measuring cup, it's fluid onces (volume) and if you weigh it on a scale, then it's ounces of weight.

For more on converting weights & measures, see here:

weight to volume & vice versa

metric to U.S. & vice versa

There is a conversion application here:

Gourmet Sleuth



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