Converting to Metric

Most people think that the metric system is much harder to learn than it really is.This is because they think about metric units in terms of U.S. units.They read that there are

Table 5.3

Units of Measure— U.S. System

Weight

1 pound

= 16 ounces

Volume

1 gallon

= 4 quarts

1 quart

= 2 pints

or

4 cups

or

32 (fluid) ounces

1 pint

= 2 cups

or

16 (fluid) ounces

1 cup

= 8 (fluid) ounces

1 (fluid) ounce

= 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon

= 3 teaspoons

Length

1 foot

= 12 inches

Note: One fluid ounce (usually called simply ounce) of water weighs 1 ounce. One pint of water weighs 1 pound.

Note: One fluid ounce (usually called simply ounce) of water weighs 1 ounce. One pint of water weighs 1 pound.

28.35 grams in an ounce, and they are immediately convinced that they will never be able to learn metrics.

Do not worry about being able to convert between U.S. and metric units. This is a very important point to remember, especially if you think that the metric system might be hard to learn.

The reason for this is simple.You will usually be working in either one system or the other.You will rarely, if ever,have to convert from one to the other. (An exception might be if you have equipment based on one system but want to use a recipe written in the other.) If U.S. kitchens change to the metric system, everyone will use scales that measure in grams and kilograms, volume measures that measure in liters and deciliters, and thermometers that indicate degrees Celsius.And everyone will use recipes that indicate these units. No one will have to worry about how many grams are in an ounce. All one will have to remember is the information in Table 5.4.

To become accustomed to working in metric units, it is helpful to have a feel for how large the units are.The following equivalents may be used to help you visualize metric units. They are not exact conversion factors. (When you need exact conversion factors, see Appendix 1.)

A kilogram is slightly more than 2 pounds.

A gram is about ounce. (12 teaspoon flour weighs a little less than 1 gram.) A liter is slightly more than 1 quart. A deciliter (100 milliliters) is slightly less than 12 cup. A centiliter (10 milliliters) is about 2 teaspoons. A meter is slightly more than 3 feet. A centimeter is about % inch. 0°C is the freezing point of water (32°F). 100°C is the boiling point of water (212°F).

An increase or decrease of 1 degree Celsius is equivalent to about 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

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