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The Ultimate Guide to Recipe Calculation

The Ultimate Guide to Recipe Calculation

The Culinary Institute of America

Converting between U.S. and Metric Measurement Systems

The metric system, used throughout most of the world, is a decimal system, meaning that it is based on multiples of 10. The gram is the basic unit of weight, the liter is the basic unit of volume, and the meter is the basic unit of length. Prefixes added to the basic units indicate larger or smaller units. For instance, a kilogram is 1,000 grams, a milliliter is 1/1,000th of a liter, and a centimeter is 1/100th of a meter.

The U.S. system, familiar to most Americans, uses ounces and pounds to measure weight, and teaspoons, tablespoons, fluid ounces, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons to measure volume. Unlike the metric system, the U.S. system is not based on multiples of a particular number, so it is not as simple to increase or decrease quantities. Instead, either the equivalencies of the different units of measure must be memorized or a chart must be kept handy.

Most modern measuring equipment is capable of measuring in both U.S. and metric units. If, however, a recipe is written in a system of measurement for which you do not have the proper measuring equipment, you will need to convert to the other system.