On 14 Jan 2005, at 2.07 am, Mark J. Reed wrote:

> On Thu, Jan 13, 2005 at 01:37:24PM +0100, Henrik Theiling wrote:
>>> Do Europeans use metric cups (250 mL), teaspoons (5 mL) and
>>> tablespoons
>>> (20 mL)?
> The 20-mL tablespoon surprises me, given the 5-mL teaspoon.  Over here
> a
> tablespoon (0.5 fluid ounce) is exactly 3 teaspoons.
> (In the US a cup is 8 fluid ounces = 16 tablespoons = 48 teaspoons;
> so the exact metric values are 236.5882365 mL for a cup,
> 14.78676478125 mL
> for a tablespoon, and 4.92892159375 mL for a teaspoon.  Given which,
> 250/15/5 seems a perfectly reasonable metric approximation, and
> 250/20/5 seems like a recipe for a culinary catastrophe for the unwary.
> :))

A brief search on the Internet seems that the Australian way of doing
things is very odd, but it's what we do---even NZ uses the 250/15/5
system! This is probably why a lot of cookbooks point out they use
Australian standard metric cups, teaspoons and tablespoons, and cup,
tsp and tbsp measures usually have 'Australian standard' written on

Playing with the ever-so-useful unix program units, I discover that an
Imperial tablespoon was 17.758165mL (or thereabouts), whereas an
imperial teaspoon was 5.9193884 mL (again, a third). Now obviously the
nearest multiple of five to 5.9 mL is 5 mL, whereas the nearest
multiple of five to 17.75 mL is 20 mL (but not by much), so that's
probably how the Australian measurements came about.

In any case, I'm of the general understanding that recipe books need to
be translated when you go from Australia to New Zealand, so it's no
surprise that Australia and America have incredibly different systems
for everything.

And further:
> Oh, and on the subject of flour: here it's generally measured by volume
> in cups, although persnickety cooks measure it by weight - usually in
> grams
> rather than ounces because the smaller unit gives finer granularity
> with integral values.

Of course I understand you Americans have dry measures and wet measures
for volume so I wouldn't trust them if I were you :)

(Flour was just meant as a stand-in for a common ingredient when
following recipes; it like most solids is sold by the kilo here.)