How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

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How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby wargarden » July 1st, 2019, 2:26 pm

16 dram = 1 ounce
wine glass = 1/4 cup
jigger = 1-1/2 fluid ounces
gill = 1/2 cup
teacup = scant 3/4 cup
coffeecup = scant cup
tumbler = 1 cup
pottle = 2 quarts
peck = 2 gallons (dry)
pinch or dash = less than 1/8 teaspoon
saltspoon = 1/4 teaspoon
kitchen spoon = 1 teaspoon
dessert or soup spoon = 2 teaspoons
spoonful = about 1 tablespoon
saucer = about 1 heaping cup
slow oven = 300 degrees Fahrenheit
moderate oven = 350 degrees
quick oven = 375 to 400 degrees
hot oven = 400 to 425 degrees
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby StokeySue » July 1st, 2019, 4:11 pm

I am not sure about some of those

First 400 degrees is not a temperature unless you say which temperature scale you are using. I guess those are Fahrenheit, but ovens in the UK, as in the rest of Europe are now in Centigrade, and gas ovens in UK and France tend still to be in arbitrary gas oven units - so for example 400 deg F = 200 deg C = gas mark 6
As a professional scientists this one that particularly annoys me, I have occasionally read Professor Harold McGee's pieces in the NY Times, and it really annoys me that his temperatures are given just as e.g. 375 degrees, presumably the house style of NYT, but I don't think a professional scientist should allow it!

Also have to remember that the US pint is only 16 fluid ounces, ours (Imperial pint) is 20 fl oz, so all the derived units differ as well.. 2 quarts in UK is half a UK gallon - but it's also a Winchester quart, an obsolete measure of unit, but I remember solvents such as acetone being delivered in Winchester bottles, and that was the common name for them


I'd have though a kitchen spoon was a tablespoon not a teaspoon, as a tablespoon is the size used for stirring and serving in a kitchen? Never seen it as a measure though
Generally modern UK recipes are given in metric, so 1 tsp = 5ml

A 1/4 cup seems a very small wineglass to me - a US cup is ~240 ml (8fl oz) a metric measuring cup is 250 ml & wineglass is in the metric system classed as 125 ml, half a cup
Coffee cup is also ambiguous, old UK recipes distinguish between breakfast cups (8 fl and teacups (6 fl oz) but a well known cookery writer used to refer to "after-dinner coffee cups" - by which I assume she meant a demi-tasse, mine are 75 ml so a scant 3 fl oz

I think this explains why I like metric even at home! :lol:
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby Suelle » July 1st, 2019, 4:42 pm

The saucer measurement seems even more arbitrary - none of my saucers would hold that volume of an ingredient.
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby wargarden » July 1st, 2019, 8:48 pm

one measurement that is not on this list is 1 box mustard, which a recipe from 1865 for ketchup uses.
so how big was box mustard 1885?
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby Suelle » July 1st, 2019, 9:07 pm

wargarden wrote:one measurement that is not on this list is 1 box mustard, which a recipe from 1865 for ketchup uses.
so how big was box mustard 1885?


I'd guess that mustard powder has always been sold in the same size boxes - 2oz or 57g is the size commonly found in shops today, and although bigger sizes are available this would be the size used in most households to ensure freshness.
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby StokeySue » July 1st, 2019, 9:11 pm

I was going to say 2oz as well, as that seems to be the default size for Colman’s, the usual UK brand

It’s like a bunch of parsley or spring onions (scallions) though - can vary from one market to another.
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby scullion » July 2nd, 2019, 12:44 am

i used to buy winchesters of hib. in spirit at 'boots'. the name for the old mainframe computer data discs was winchester, too.

i think i can safely say that it's unlikely i would use any of those measurements. apart from being archaic and random they're converted into 'american' measurements rather than 'the rest of the world' measurements!
a conversion chart for modern american measurements to metric would be far more useful, for the times a recipe i find is in american.
i do have a set of cup measurements for the times i can't be arsed to convert to metric or for, mainly, when it's a liquid measurement in a recipe. i would never use them for flour or the like, far too variable.

i'm surprised the weights didn't include the grain or the bushel.

ps. is the pottle a typo?
i've just looked it up. the dictionaries online (all american by the looks of it) say that it's a medieval, english measurement (never heard of it before), equal to half a gallon, 2 quarts, or 1.9 litres - although half a gallon would be equal to 2.27 litres in real life. i don't think the pilgrim fathers took the right sized gallon bucket with them.
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby scullion » July 2nd, 2019, 1:11 am

StokeySue wrote:It’s like a bunch of parsley or spring onions (scallions) though - can vary from one market to another.

that one really pees me off, too.
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby wargarden » July 2nd, 2019, 6:53 am

scullion which gallon where you using the uk gallon or the USA gallon
http://www.onlineconversion.com/
1 gallon [US, liquid] = 3.785 411 784 liter
0.5 gallon [US, liquid] = 1.892 705 892 liter
2 quart [US, liquid] = 1.892 705 892 liter
1 quart [US, liquid] = 0.946 352 946 liter
1 imperial gallon = 4.546 09 liter
1 gallon [UK] = 4.546 09 liter
0.5 gallon [UK] = 2.273 045 liter
2 quart [UK] = 2.273 045 liter
1 quart [UK] = 1.136 522 5 liter
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby StokeySue » July 2nd, 2019, 7:50 am

I’ve heard of a potted before, used iirc in old brewing recipes. Certainly on my radar

ETA and of course an old apothecary measure, though those don’t always creep into the kitchen
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby scullion » July 2nd, 2019, 5:21 pm

wargarden wrote:scullion which gallon where you using the uk gallon or the USA gallon

as i'm in the uk i would use uk gallons - well, rarely now as i tend to use litres - and the rest of the metric system, and have done since i was at school - it's so much more accurate, and sensible. - i did learn the conversions, though - but not to six (or more!) decimal places; there are few jugs (or recipes that are that precise); i think two decimal places are adequate.
i do weigh smaller amounts of water rather than using a jug measure as that is also easier and more accurate.
the uk no longer uses the imperial system other than in older cookbooks.
fuel and the liquids have been sold by the litre for many decades now.
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby wargarden » July 2nd, 2019, 7:54 pm

scullion i was referring to your Ps about pottle. you used both the liter measurements for both US and Uk 2 quarts.
Ps. is the pottle a typo?
i've just looked it up. the dictionaries online (all american by the looks of it) say that it's a medieval, english measurement (never heard of it before), equal to half a gallon, 2 quarts, or 1.9 litres - although half a gallon would be equal to 2.27 litres in real life. i don't think the pilgrim fathers took the right sized gallon bucket with them.

2 quart [UK,liquid] = 2.273 045 liter
2 quart [US, liquid] = 1.892 705 892 liter
i used 6 decimal places since I just cut/pasted the conversion from the linked web site in my post
http://www.onlineconversion.com/
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Re: How To Convert Old Recipe Measurements

Postby scullion » July 2nd, 2019, 9:56 pm

Yes I did - to make a point that when different measurements in different countries have the same name then using something like the metric system is much more sensible and less confusing - and you don’t have to work out where the recipe comes from so you don’t get the proportions wrong.
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