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. 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).

  8. ChiaraS

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

  9. ChiaraS

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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. :)

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

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