So here goes a brief description of what I fondly call “culinary math”. In Europe, all liquid and dry weights and measurements are metric. It’s an easy method based on a kilogram for weight, which is 1,000 grams. Need 250 grams of sugar? Easy! Weigh it out, and when the gauge reads 250, you’re there. The liter is also broken down to 1000 parts, or a millimeters, which is still easy to measure.
The tricky, and I mean brain drainer of them all is converting back and forth from metric to our system. My suggestion: choose a system and stick with it.
Our system is based on ounces and pounds for weight and gallons and quarts for liquid measure. The most accurate way to mix is by weight as apposed to volume. The reason being is that a cup of sugar does not weigh the same as a cup of all purpose flour. A cup of bread flour weighs different than cake flour. It’s confusing! And if that’s not bad enough, let’s go into 1/2 cup to a 1/4 cup to an 1/8 of a cup. Or a tablespoon to a 1/4 teaspoon, and so on.
I would and still do drill interns about measurements. 2 tablespoons makes how many ounces? How many quarts in a gallon? How many ounces in a gallon? It seems silly, but eventually they get it and then are off like a rocket when it comes to scaling up or down their recipes to serve the guest counts we work with in catering.
Needless to say, I have mastered fractions and decimals, adding, subtracting and converting fractions to decimals and back again. If only my grade school teacher could see the beast of math she has unleashed onto the culinary scene!