December 27, 2005
Google Converts

We had a couple of comments recently regarding a need to convert between metric (ml, liters, kilos) and Imperial measures (cups, teaspoons, pounds) If you're reading this blog on the net, you already have a simple way to convert from almost any measure to any other at your disposal - Google.

Go to Google and search for "500 ml in teaspoons". Google recognizes you're asking for a conversion, not a search result, and you'll discover it's 101.442068 teaspoons. Hm. That's a lot of teaspoons. Maybe that'd be better in ounces? "500 ml in ounces" gives us a search result of "500 ml = 16.9070113 US fluid ounces". In cups? "500 ml in cups" gives us "500 ml = 2.11337641 US cups". Much more useful. We can even make all those digits more useful ".11337641 cups in teaspoons" yields ".11337641 US cups = 5.44206768 US teaspoons"

It works from metric to Imperial, too. Type in "200 C in F" and you'll get "200 degrees Celsius = 392 degrees Fahrenheit". .25 Kg in lb? ".25 kilograms = 0.551155655 pound".

It'll even help you remember the conversions within the Imperial system. Type in "1 cup in tablespoons", a conversion few of us do often, and you'll discover that 16 tablespoons go into a cup. That's why you generally see 3 tablespoons of an ingredient or a 1/4 cup.

Google has all kinds of tricks like this, but I find the units conversion one to be very helpful. Heck, if you live in the U.S. and type in "Mycityname weather", it'll give you a brief weather outlook to let you know if it's a good day to plan to bake all day or to head to the beach.

It's going to be 42 F in Chicago today. Oh, and Google tells me that's 5.55 C.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 27, 2005 6:51 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Well, this should certainly make it easier for me to include both Metric and Imperial measurements in my recipes!!

Posted by Meg in Paris on December 27, 2005 at 8:51 AM

I find it most illustrative that even when there are conversion tools available, most recipes call for 1/4 cup or 250 ml of this, bake at 200C or 400 F, etc...

No one writes to bake at 394 F for 20.3 minutes. It goes to show that cooking is much more an art than strictly science.

Posted by barrett on December 27, 2005 at 9:04 AM

Just as an aside - Meg, let me know if my e-mails are getting through. I feel liek they probably aren't.

Posted by barrett on December 27, 2005 at 9:33 AM

And there is this too

Posted by Alisa on December 27, 2005 at 12:59 PM

So - does it cover something like trying to figure out how many cups are in a pound of flour?

Posted by Bastlynn on December 27, 2005 at 1:11 PM

Bastlynn, that's a variable calculation because the density of the flour can change. That's why professionals tend to measure by weight rather than volume.

To demonstrate, sift a bunch of flour into a big bowl, then tap the bowl on the counter and the level line will drop by quite a bit. A cup taken from the bowl before and after sifting will contain a different amount of flour by weight.

Posted by barrett on December 27, 2005 at 1:19 PM

So much also for "a pint is a pound the world around", right?

Posted by Justin on December 27, 2005 at 1:52 PM

Trust me - I paid attention in chemistry class, so I'm up on my relative densities... unfortunately my great grandmother wasn't, so I've been having to guess on one of her recipes for awhile now.

Posted by Bastlynn on December 27, 2005 at 1:59 PM

The great thing is, that cooking (even baking to a lesser extent) is more art than science. There's a lot of tolerance in most recipes. I use as a standare the flour that's settled then given one kerfluffle (yes, that's a word, or so I claim) before opening or measuring for my flour by volume recipes.

Posted by barrett on December 27, 2005 at 2:54 PM

Alrighty, I'll keep that in mind then the next time I work on those cookies. ;)

Posted by Bastlynn on December 27, 2005 at 6:01 PM

One thing to keep in mind (and why a lot of recipes don't work in cookbooks that are simply translated without being re-tested) is that one cup of European flour is not equal to one cup of American flour. Same with butter, and egg sizes are different. So I think that all recipes on Too Many Chefs developed by Meg and Barrett should be re-tested in the other persons country.

At least twice to ensure proper results.

Once tested for both continents, they should be sent to an independent testing kitchen for further verification and evaluation prior to publication.

(Of course, both of you will now need to quit your day jobs to devote your time to developing recipes for your blog. But now that Meg has a KitchenAid mixer, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.)

Posted by David on December 28, 2005 at 3:39 AM

ahhhhh,,,David is the BEST!!!

Posted by Alisa on December 28, 2005 at 5:28 AM
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