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Old 08-23-2012, 02:57 AM   #1
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Unit conversion question

I found this nice link on DC about conversions for liquid conversions (metric, imperial and US cups).
Since I'm Italian, for my Italian recipes I use the metric system, spoons (tablespoon, teaspoon), cups, numbers (1 onion), something else (pinch, bunch). Now, I wonder what is the best way to express units in English for an international audience?
For example, for liquids whould I use UK or US units? And for "solids"? Would it be better to say "half and onion", "50 g onion", 1 cup onion"?
And for the flour, will I use liquid metrics (US cups) or something else?

Friends, I really need some help here, I'm writing a bunch of recipes for my hidden agenda and I'd like to write them right since the beginning.

Thanks

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Old 08-23-2012, 04:45 AM   #2
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Volume in liters should not be a problem if readers are reminded that 236 ml = 8 fluid ounces; likewise weight in kg should not be a problem if readers are reminded that 100 g = 3.5 ounces. People, who cannot handle that, need to start eating a lot more fish.
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:59 AM   #3
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Luca,

I'd say use whatever you're comfortable with. Most Americans understand metric well enough to make the conversions (We are all taught the metric system in school at a young age. We just refuse to use it. ).

All of my measuring cups are labeled in both ml and American units, and I also own a kitchen scale that weighs in both grams and ounces. In addition, most packaged foods in stores have both units on the label.

I like the metric system myself. For winemaking, it's the only thing I use.

Steve
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:37 AM   #4
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I second Steve's advice. Use whatever measure you are familiar with. Too much concentration on stuff like that will give you a headache.
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justplainbill View Post
Volume in liters should not be a problem if readers are reminded that 236 ml = 8 fluid ounces; likewise weight in kg should not be a problem if readers are reminded that 100 g = 3.5 ounces. People, who cannot handle that, need to start eating a lot more fish.
The problem is that they wouldn't know how much fish...

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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
Luca,

I'd say use whatever you're comfortable with. Most Americans understand metric well enough to make the conversions (We are all taught the metric system in school at a young age. We just refuse to use it. ).

All of my measuring cups are labeled in both ml and American units, and I also own a kitchen scale that weighs in both grams and ounces. In addition, most packaged foods in stores have both units on the label.

I like the metric system myself. For winemaking, it's the only thing I use.

Steve
Thanks Steve, I'll take your advice and keep the metric system, for me it would be very annoying to make all the conversion. I mean, I CAN use Excel but I don't LIKE it

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I second Steve's advice. Use whatever measure you are familiar with. Too much concentration on stuff like that will give you a headache.
You're right Hoot, the important thing is to offer decent recipes!

Thanks friends
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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In my opinion, measurements should be given to reflect the most accurate way to measure an ingredient. I have no problem with recipes that call for a weight of this and a volume of that. For example: The amount of onion in 1 cup varies depending no the size and uniformity of the cut, so either mass or "half an onion" would be better.
Quantities like a "bunch" or "handful" really annoy me. They have no place in a recipe IMO.

As for flour, it depends on whether it's for cooking or baking. For baking, flour should NEVER be given in volume, and only given in weight. I invariably skip baking recipes that call for volumetric measurements of ingredients. For cooking, it should be volume.
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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I second Hoot seconding Steve..

I think it is fine to give baking flour in volumes. The problem is most people don't know how to properly measure flour and end up with way too much, which can be an issue with baking. I prefer to use weight (in grams) but I also look at recipes with cups and convert (in my head no less).
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no mayonnaise View Post
... The amount of onion in 1 cup varies depending no the size and uniformity of the cut, so either mass or "half an onion" would be better.
Quantities like a "bunch" or "handful" really annoy me. They have no place in a recipe IMO...
The recipe should indicate the size of the cut, chop, dice, mince. Otherwise, the most accurate would be weight. Half an onion? How big of an onion?

I agree on 'bunch' and 'handful'. Also a 'small can'.
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankZ View Post
I think it is fine to give baking flour in volumes. The problem is most people don't know how to properly measure flour and end up with way too much, which can be an issue with baking. I prefer to use weight (in grams) but I also look at recipes with cups and convert (in my head no less).
On the same note, if a person is giving a recipe in volume, then how reputable are they for a baking recipe in the first place?

Baking = formulas. Not recipes.
I guess I should note that I come from a family of bakers. The company was bought out by Flours Foods a few years back, but all my baking formulas come from family members and are given in weights and hydration percentage. So there's that...
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The recipe should indicate the size of the cut, chop, dice, mince. Otherwise, the most accurate would be weight. Half an onion? How big of an onion?
I thought about that when I posted, but I'd rather it tell me to dice half a medium onion than a cup of diced onion. Assuming perfect knife skills and someone that actually wants to dirty up a measuring cup just for onion, then it's fine. But it's a lot easier to just cut up half an onion and be done with it. The best measurement would be weight, followed by fraction of a size, followed by volume--In my opinion.
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