Baking,  Cooking,  Culinary History,  Food History,  History

Understanding the Metric System (Or How to Not End Up With a Heavy Ball of Dough)

I simply wanted to make classic English currant buns.

The type of currant bun that Beatrix Potter writes about Peter’s sisters eating at the end of the story, A Tale of Peter Rabbit. I searched high and low on the internet and found many delicious recipes. But, unfortunately for my American kitchen skills, all the recipes were in metric units!

Now, living in America, we use the English measuring system, a rather old-fashioned measuring system that when you are cooking, measures food items by teaspoons, cups and pounds. No ounces, liters and gallons.

I thought there would be no problem whatsoever making the currant buns of my dreams by converting the measurements into English measurements, right?


I spent the better part of a spring morning, once again scouring the internet and my cookbooks to find a reliable metric unit to English measuring table!

I eventually figured it out and my currant buns did come out just fine. Even very taste actually. See?


But my experience using the metric and English systems in cooking taught me a few hints that I would like to pass on so you don’t end up with a ball of dough that would be better used as cement!

  • The metric system is a decimal system based on the number 10. Everything either increases or decreases in intervals of 10.
  • If one of the measurements you worked out seems questionable, try finding another source to check with.
  • Yes, you will need to do some math.
  • Do not start mixing, stirring or cooking until you are certain that you have the correct measurements!

And here are the two the charts that I found that finally helped me figure out my currant bun recipe! Hope they help!

Volume Conversions

Metric Conversions

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