- Oct 26, 1999Hi there,
Ray Rust wrote:
"by the way your metric system is about to drive my up a wall.
Question? How much does 10 mls flavor in our system, is it about a quart?"
This question has highlighted a major problem we face on this forum
if we are to successfully exchange recipes. It has bugged people for
centuries. Weights and measures systems. Ray's simple question has
resulted in me losing a couple of evenings in research when I should
have been doing other things. Gee � thanks Ray!!! Lol
It turns out that way back in 1502 there were no less than three different
pounds in use and two others that had only recently fallen out of favour.
The pound specified by law was the Troy pound, the Mercantile pound
and the Livre Avoirdupois. Our fellow Colonials in the Great US of A
may be interested to know that the last of these was equal to the
US pound, so - sorry guys - you didn't invent it!
For volume, liquid measures were based on the sizes of barrels for wine
and beer (did they have a distillers' Forum then?) and dry measures on the
sizes of containers for grains, flour, etc. It is thought that the
beer barrel was identical to the wine gallon, 231 cubic inches, and that
was later identified as the Queen Anne (1707) gallon. This is the size of
present-day US gallon, so - once again guys - sorry! No doubt due to the
possibility that British drinkers felt short changed by such pansy sized
continental gallons, it is recorded that Queen Elizabeth I standardized the
British beer gallon to equal the ale gallon, which was 282 cubic inches.
Nowadays the Imperial gallon is defined to be that which contains 10 pounds
avoirdupois of distilled water at 62 deg. Fahrenheit and barometer of 30
This makes it 277.42 cubic inches.
So there we have it. The US gallon ended up with a volume of 231 cubic
inches and the Imperial gallon a volume of 277.42 cubic inches. Then along
came les Francais with their metric system - just when everyone seemed
Now is the time for some of you to go and get a cup of coffee (or check how
still is doing) - I'm going to do a little maths!
1 cubic inch = 16.38706 millilitres
Thus, 1 US gallon = 231 cubic inches = 3785.41086 millilitres
= 3.78541086 litres
and 1 Imperial gallon = 277.42 cubic inches = 4546.098185 millilitres
= 4.546098185 litres
But there are 16 fluid ounces in every US pint, and 20 fluid ounces
in every Imperial pint (drat!),
although both agree that there are 8 pints, or 4 quarts in every pint.
Thus 16x8 US fluid ounces = 3.78 etc litres, making 1 US fluid ounce
= 29.57352234 millilitres
And 20x8 Imp fluid ounces = 4.54 etc litres, making 1 Imp fluid ounce
= 28.41311365 millilitres
This makes the 10 millilitres in Ray's question = 0.338140309 US fluid
ounces in his US quart (which is 0.9463527148 litres) a ratio of 1/94.64,
but 0.351950163 Imperial fluid ounces in the Imperial quart of
1.136524546 litres, a ratio of 1/113.65
This is the same as if Ray added 10.57 millilitres to a litre of booze,
whereas someone with Imperial measurements would have added only
8.8 millilitres to their litre. Quite a difference!
(For the astute out there, the ratio between them is the inverse of the
ratio between the US and the Imperial gallons: 1 to 1.2)
And they wonder why we are driven to drink, and NASA has such problems
I'd known there was a problem, but until Ray's question set me thinking
(a difficult task at the best of times) I hadn't realised how bad a problem
it really was. It probably explains why all those delicious American
recipes I've picked up on the internet never seemed to work out as well
as they should - and don't start me off on the subject of cooking
I'm therefore going to compile a ready-reckoner giving equivalents
in all three measurement systems and will post it when it's done. It may
help us if we can agree to posting recipes based on one system (I personally
prefer metric as it's easier to work out ratios), but if this is too time
consuming then those interested enough can do the conversion to whatever
system they prefer. One plea though - please, please, please state what
system you are using if it's not metric. I haven't mentioned it so far, as
too scary - but dry ounces are not necessarily the same as fluid ounces!!!
Hope this hasn't been too boring, but I think it's a problem we have to face
at some time. Thanks for the prompt Ray.
(Happy in Godzone with metric)