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weights and measures

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm just a little curious (my staff would say very) as to what everyone is doing these days for recipe measurements, I was making a dinner at home today and I was actually refering to a recipe for dessert that was asking for 1 and a 1/3 cup of this and a 1/4 cup of that and a stick and 1/4 of butter, now being a transplanted Brit I got totally stumped by this, lard or suit no problem but what the **** is a stick and 1/4 of butter??? anyway I winged it and dinner turned out fine but it got me thinking does anyone in the U.S use the metric system for batch recipes?

Now I know the metric system does have a bad rap, it is French after all but it is a lot easier to work with than pounds and ounces especially when multiplying recipe amounts

1lb7oz*14=3gallons i think
655g*14=9k170g trust me it works

Where it can get to be fun is when an item is sold by the K.G. but the count size is in L.B. 5kg box of 16-18 count bacon is enough to make an accountant go cross eyed, I've seen it happen, if you really want to make them insane tell them an item is in U.S. gallons not Imperial, torturing accountants is a hobby of mine but I digress.

Anyway Do the culinary schools teach metric? Does anyone work for a European Chef who does recipes in metric or are you a European Chef trying to figure out how many sticks of butter make a tree?

Like I said I'm just a little curious
post #2 of 10
Hi mdh, I'm not involved in the cooking industry, recently anyway, so I don't usually respond in this forum, but... I worked in a lab for many years having to deal with both imperial and metric measurements. I'm of an age where I grew up with both systems still being used, so had to be multi "systemic" I suppose you'd call it. Drove me NUTS!!!!!

1/8", 1/4", 5/8"...what are these in metric, in mm? Ended up knowing it all by heart but by heck it was frustrating. Same with cooking. What the heck is a quart of anything? Or a gill? Or a smidgin? :)

(And how much does a medium size onion weigh? Silly question, we all know what one looks like)

I'd love to see a butter tree hehe, I guess the bigger the tree, the more the sticks. I got no idea what a stick of butter weighs - or WHY there are sticks of butter.


P.S. Accountants deserve to be tortured - I concur.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #3 of 10
I trained under a Swiss chef here in the US and became very familiar with the metric system-far superior in my mind.
Everybody always gets stuck on the crazy conversions and multiplication of endless fractions when, to me, it's just not necessary.
All you need to know is that a kilo is about 2 pounds, a meter is about a yard (or 3 feet) a liter is about a quart and that 3 cm is about an inch.

Re: the butter measurement-butter is sold in the US in 1 pound increments cut into quarters and wrapped to make a nice fit into a butter dish. Therefore 1 stick is equal to 4 ounces (about 100 grams BTW).

The reason US measurements are usually in volume a opposed to weight is due to the historical fact that the pioneer population traveled around a lot. Scales were delicate, prone to breakage, bulky and expensive. It was easier and more accurate to designate measurements based on coffee cups, teaspoons (eating spoons) and tablespoons (cooking spoons)-things that everyone had.

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #4 of 10
Here are three charts I find very useful---

Equivalents and Measures

online conversion calculators for temperature, length/ distance, area, volume and weight

Fahrenheit to Celsius Converter

working overseas, I have found these handy, hope you do too.

post #5 of 10
Forget unit measures and just use ratios. That way you can use cubic cubits if you need to. :D
post #6 of 10
A stick and a 1/4 of butter would be a total of 10 TBS of butter. Or one stick plus 2 TBS. Most retail butter in the USA has markings on the wrapper to indicate TBS and fractions of cup measurements.

1lb 7oz * 14 would be 20lbs 2oz. This might be 3 gallons or it might not. Just depends what the product being measured is.

Both systems work well but are definitely much easier if one grew up using a particular system.:)
post #7 of 10
If memory serves me correctly, Britain went metric in 1972, so I was twelve and had already learned the imperial system I then had to get my head around metric, once learned, metric is so much easier, just work in tens rather than eights, twelves and all those fractions. I think the hardest thing is to un-learn something :suprise: :suprise: The only thing that really stumps me now is temperature conversions. I only work in centigrade/ celsius, even that has two names! :eek: Farenheit is a foreign name I don't understand :eek:
post #8 of 10
celsius to farenheit is easy, its just Celsius * 9 / 5 +32 or farenheit -32 / (9/5) or something, i can go from c to f but not f to c lol
post #9 of 10
or the conversion chart in my post above.

When I am working on ship with celsius gauges on refers and freezers, I am too busy to do the math, so just post the safe temps outside.

Had an engineer on a ship one time tell me "why memorize what you can read?"

post #10 of 10
Temperature in Celcius is pretty easy to remember. It's based on water, not the boiling point of mercury or kryptonite or whatever

Water boils at 100 C
Water freezes at 0 C

Don't get much simpler than that.....

Everyone can relate to ice and boiling water.

Once you get "converted" to using the metric system in baking and pastry, you'll never go back. No quarter-ounces, no fractions, no decimals, no confusion between dry ounces, liquid ounces, troy ounces, Us gallons (128 fl oz) and Imperial gallons (160 oz). Mind you, the US is the only industrialized country left standing that doesn't use the metric system.....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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