If you love cooking and trying new recipes from different cuisines, you might have encountered a problem: the measurements. You see, not everyone uses the same system of measuring ingredients, and this can cause confusion, frustration, and even disaster in the kitchen. Especially if you are British trying to cook like an American, or vice versa.
Why is that? Well, because Americans and British use different units, tools, and methods to measure their ingredients. And sometimes, they even use the same words to mean different things. For example, a cup in America is not the same as a cup in Britain. And don’t get me started on the difference between a tablespoon and a dessert spoon.
So, how can you avoid this mess and cook like a pro, no matter where you are or where the recipe comes from? Here are some tips and tricks to help you convert between American and British cooking measurements and have fun along the way.
Tip #1: Know Your Units
The first thing you need to know is the basic units of measurement used in each system. Here is a quick overview:
- American system: The American system is based on the imperial system, which uses units such as inches, pounds, ounces, gallons, quarts, pints, cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons. These units are usually abbreviated as lb, oz, gal, qt, pt, c, tbsp, and tsp, respectively. The American system also uses the metric system for some ingredients, such as grams, kilograms, litres, and millilitres. These units are usually abbreviated as g, kg, l, and ml, respectively.
- British system: The British system is based on the metric system, which uses units such as grams, kilograms, litres, and millilitres. These units are usually abbreviated as g, kg, l, and ml, respectively. The British system also uses some units from the imperial system, such as ounces, pounds, and stones. These units are usually abbreviated as oz, lb, and st, respectively. The British system also uses some unique units, such as stones, hundredweights, and long tons. These units are usually abbreviated as st, cwt, and lt, respectively.
As you can see, there is some overlap between the two systems, but also some differences. To avoid confusion, you should always check the unit of measurement used in the recipe and make sure you are using the correct one.
Tip #2: Know Your Tools
The second thing you need to know is the tools you need to measure your ingredients. Here is a quick overview:
- American tools: The American tools are based on volume, which means they measure the amount of space an ingredient occupies. The most common tools are measuring cups and measuring spoons, which come in standard sizes such as 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1 tablespoon, 1/2 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, and 1/8 teaspoon. These tools are usually made of plastic or metal and have markings or labels to indicate the size. The American tools also include liquid measuring cups, which are usually made of glass or plastic, and have markings or labels to indicate the volume in ounces, cups, millilitres, or litres. These tools are used to measure liquids, such as water, milk, oil, or juice.
- British tools: The British tools are based on weight, which means they measure the amount of mass an ingredient has. The most common tool is a kitchen scale, which can measure the weight of any ingredient in grams, kilograms, ounces, or pounds. The kitchen scale can be digital or analogue and usually has a platform or a bowl to hold the ingredients. The British tools also include measuring jugs, which are similar to liquid measuring cups but have markings or labels to indicate the volume in millilitres or litres. These tools are used to measure liquids, such as water, milk, oil, or juice.
As you can see, there is a big difference between the two tools, and you should always use the appropriate one for the recipe. If you don’t have the right tool, you can use a conversion chart or a calculator to convert the measurements, but be careful, as this can introduce some errors or inaccuracies.
Tip #3: Know Your Methods
The third thing you need to know is the methods you need to use to measure your ingredients. Here is a quick overview:
- American methods: The American methods are based on scooping and levelling, which means you fill the measuring cup or spoon with the ingredients and then level off the excess with a knife or a spatula. This method is used for dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, or baking soda. The American methods also include dipping and pouring, which means you dip the liquid measuring cup into the liquid and then pour it into the recipe. This method is used for liquids, such as water, milk, oil, or juice.
- British methods: The British methods are based on weighing and measuring, which means you place the ingredient on the kitchen scale and then read the weight on the display or the dial. This method is used for any ingredient, dry or liquid, such as flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, water, milk, oil, or juice.
As you can see, there is a difference between the two methods, and you should always follow the one indicated in the recipe. If you don’t follow the right method, you might end up with too much or too little of an ingredient, which can affect the taste, texture and appearance of your dish.
Tip #4: Have Fun
The last and most important tip is to have fun. Cooking is both an art and a science, and it can be a lot of fun to experiment with different recipes, ingredients, and measurements. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t worry too much about the exact numbers. As long as you follow the basic principles and use common sense, you can cook like a Brit, an American, or any other nationality without losing your mind.
I hope this blog post helps you understand how to convert between American and British cooking measurements and how to have fun along the way. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments below. Thank you for reading!