Cooking abroad

If you cook recipes from a US cook­book, you need to use mea­sure­ments that seem archaic to a met­ri­fied Euro­pean like myself. They use cups for liq­uid mea­sure­ments. US fluid ounces are dif­fer­ent from UK fluid ounces, but that is another story. I made a con­ver­sion chart for our kitchen, list­ing cups, table­spoons (which they like to abbre­vi­ate as TBSP), tea­spoons (TSP) and mil­li­liters. Euro­peans know that one of the advan­tages of the met­ric sys­tem is the fact that liq­uid mea­sure­ments fol­low the same stan­dard as those for other sub­stances. Thus, a liter of water (i. e. 1000 mil­li­liters) weighs 1 kilo­gram (i. e. 1000 grams). I’m using US spelling here, UK Eng­lish would be litre and kilogramme.

I made a pdf which you’ll find in the down­load por­tion of this blog, so you can down­load it, print it out and stick it to you fridge door or wher­ever else you wish. Mag­nets can­not be down­loaded over the inter­net yet.


  1. Graphic design to change lives…Thank you — now all we need is to con­vert the USA obses­sion with inches… ~8)

  2. Sehr geehrter Herr Spiekermann,

    meine Frau und ich kochen sehr gerne – immer wieder ist auch ein US-Rezept dabei – und diese Umrech­nungsta­belle fehlte uns noch. Danke!

    PS: Ihr Inter­view mit Deb­bie Mill­man war toll. Ken­nen Sie Michael Bieruts Vor­trag zu Auf­tragge­bern:

    PPS: Ihr »Buch-Klettergurt« ist genial – wie viel Zeit haben Sie darin schon lesend verbracht?

  3. George

    Very inter­est­ing. I never knew the USA and UK fl oz were different.

    As a quick note: some­times you might see Table­spoon short­handed to sim­ply “T” and Tea­spoon to “t”.

    And in case you were really won­der­ing, a pinch is 1/16t, a dash is 1/8t, and a smidgen is 1/32t.

  4. Kate

    I found this chart very use­ful, but it could have done with­out the nation­al­is­tic com­ments. I think, espe­cially in a pro­fes­sional spec­trum, you should prob­a­bly refrain from imply­ing the intel­li­gence, or even “met­ri­fi­ca­tion” [what­ever that is sup­posed to entail] of one coun­try over another.

  5. erik

    A: on my blog I can write what­ever I like. And I do think that it is ridicu­lous that the US (plus Liberia!) trails the rest of the world by stick­ing to the pre-metric sys­tem. Except the Pen­ta­gon, of course, who also use the 24-hour clock because they need pre­ci­sion, not nostalgia.

    B. The Impe­r­ial sys­tem pre­cedes the met­ric one, that is why I call it archaic. What is nation­al­is­tic about that?

    C. The chart itself is per­fectly neu­tral, even PC.

  6. Charlie

    Mag­nets can­not be down­loaded over the inter­net yet.…

    but you can print onto mag­netic paper.

  7. erik


    tell me more about mag­netic paper!

  8. Vicky

    As an expat Kiwi over­seas, I’d love a chart that con­verts Com­mon­wealth cups (yes, they’re dif­fer­ent from US ones again) to mL etc (though I think they’re more sim­ple with one cup = 250ml. Still annoy­ing to remem­ber though).

  9. ChiaraS

    Thanks a lot from hap­pily met­ri­fied Milano(and just loved your lit­tle ABC reply ah ah).

  10. ChiaraS

    Thanks a lot from a met­ri­fied cook in Milano(and just loved your lit­tle ABC reply ah ah).

  11. John Hudson

    When buy­ing cook­books by British authors, I always try to find the UK edi­tion rather than the US/Canadian. The dif­fer­ence is not merely between met­ric and Impe­r­ial mea­sure­ment: in the UK, dry ingre­di­ents are usu­ally given by weight rather than quan­tity, which is much more precise.

  12. So, from a typo­graphic point of view, what made you decide to not use frac­tions in the first col­umn? Not say­ing this solu­tion isn;t work­ing, it looks great. Just won­der­ing what your rea­son­ing was. :)

  13. Real frac­tions would have sim­ply looked too small for a prac­ti­cal chart like this.

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