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Carpal Tunnel
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Poor Toulouse. While a starving young artist living in a Paris atelier, he was the victim of a quick-moving fire in the middle of the night. He grabbed his Levis and headed out, but was overcome by the smoke. Luckily for him and for the world, a firefighter pulled him to safety and resuscitated him. His first words on regaining consciousness were, "Did you save my artwork?" The firefighter shook his head and replied, "I am sorry. You have nothing, Toulouse, but your jeans."


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Poor Toulouse indeed. Speaking of fire, I used to make fluxes for fire assay, a type of refining technique. This was not cooking, although a 900 C furnace was used, and at this temperature, small amounts of moisture are inconsequential (large amounts were!). It was important to weigh the ingredients (components) rather than measure them volumetrically. The correct ratios could be assured this way. Significant density variation could occur amongst the batches, due to the measuring-container packing techniques used by different technicians.

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Carpal Tunnel
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packing techniques used by different technicians. Mm--as in, a cloud of flour will explode, but a cup of it won't?
Good to see you, my friend! [hug]

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Quote:

Exactly what tricky parts have I ignored? I don't think I've ignored the tricky parts at all. I've presented them in a working context that makes them seem less tricky in the first place.




Well, to start with - you left out teaspoons entirely. 48 teaspoons in a cup. 1/3 of a cup is also a very common measurement but no even number of tablespoons or ounces, but it's 16 teaspoons.

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How convenient then that you can use the 1/3 measuring cup included in your set, instead of spooning out 5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon, which would be tiresome and ridiculous.

Honestly, my point was that there was some logic to the system, not that it's perfect. I think it is quirky that the system uses a multiple of 3 to go from tsp to tablespoon, when almost everything else is based on multiples of 4. But I never found it that hard on a mathematical basis to work with the 3 tsp/TB ratio. For one thing, I don't convert little units like teaspoons into big units like cups. If I were multiplying a recipe that originally called for 2 tsp of salt, it would have to be one hell of big dinner party before I was expressing the salt in cups. And even if I were making an 8 x recipe, it wouldn't be the end of the world to convert 2 tsp x 8 = 16 tsp = 1/3 cup. (If I'm throwing a dinner party for 32 people, then spending 3 minutes to enlarge the recipe is the least of my worries.)

With regular use I find the imperial system to be no more difficult than the U.S. currency, like when you're due $0.83 in change and it takes you no time at all to think, well that's three quarters, a nickel, and three pennies. You don't fret about the fact that a quarter is 1/4 of a dollar but 2.5 times a dime. You already know the coins as familiar objects so there's no stress. It's the same way for me with imperial system in the kitchen. YMMV.

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That's all fine. What I wondered about was problems converting imperial to metric, which is a different matter entirely.

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Carpal Tunnel
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converting imperial to metric is not hard--provide you have 1 extra tool, and some newer (than 20 years old) measuring cups.

all my measuring cups have both cups and liters (or ml) marked on them--and have had since the early 1970's.

the extra tool? a kitchen scale. my current scale is electronic, (Under $25 at ikea) weighs things in lbs/oz (down to a quarter ounce!) and in kilo's. its good for up to over 3 kilo's. its about the size of saucer, and a set up for tare (so you don't weight the bowl with the flour)

1 liter is close to 1 quart--(as a rough measure) so reading and understanding a recipe isn't hard 250 ml of liquid is about 1 cup. (and the smaller the quanity of liquid required, the less precise one needs to be!
for many recipes, the slight difference between a quart and liter won't matter at all!

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