Today’s post is a topic which I can talk about for days, so apologies if you’re still reading this tomorrow. The topic is the lack of consistency we have with measurements, the lack of moving completely forward with the metric use of measurements.
I’m going to start with weight. Most recipes I read these days have all the ingredients in grams, unless they are cups – this is definitely not okay. This is unless I’m following a recipe that is something mum has taught me. 4oz of flour in a toad in a hole, for example. This, however, isn’t such a big problem as when I’m heading to the butcher. I will happily ask him for an 8-ounce steak and then ask for 500 grams of mince. The farm has its price list as price per kilo, yet we advertise our 6-ounce burgers. WHY? How have we come so far in life that the same animal, just in slightly different forms has no consistency with how we measure it. This is also in a way true of humans, ask the regular man on the street his weight, he will probably give you it in stone. Gym nut? They take great pride in aiming for a certain number of kilos. What does this mean? Usually, I’m left asking for a translation. I don’t mind whether we stick modern or traditional on this one, I understand both when on my plate. Can someone please decide what we are now.
Distance. This is just as problematic. I have a few examples for this one too. Sport. Rugby and football can frequently be played on the same pitch. Football has the 18-yard box. Rugby has a 22-metre line. These are the same blades of grass but addressed with different terms. Then there is the marathon, most people would identify this as just over 26 miles, but Mo Farah runs 10,000m and 5,000 metres races. I should say the marathon is now frequently referred to in metres and well as miles. Get in your car and the whole world collapses okay that’s an exaggeration. But when I learned to drive, the theory test asked for stopping distance in metres. The dual carriageway signs, for exiting, are in yards. The road sign gives you miles – apart from a few in Wales which are now in Kilometres. All the road is missing is a reference to furlongs! Get to the pump to fill up with fuel, and you pay a price in litres but get told the miles per gallon. Who thinks this is right? At least in my life, I don’t have the added complication of nautical miles!
I’m going to stretch distance to include height too, forgive me! Again, the average man on the street knows his height in feet and inches, yet when I was a kid shopping some stores used the height in centimetres as their measurements. Then again even with 8,10,12 etc. dress sizes the world can still be filled with guesswork.
Liquids are another area of confusion. Milk? Pint. Beer? Pint. Recommended fluid intake 3 litres. Buy a bottle of fizzy pop – 330ml, unless you go large and have a litre or two. Wine is now in ml for their glasses. Some recipes also refer to fluid ounces. What even is that?
Temperature. Possibly my personal pet peeve. Celsius and Fahrenheit. Us Brits are particularly good at moaning about the “double digit frost” when we reach temperatures such as minus 10 in the depths of winter. We are then just as keen to bemoan the 100-degree heat that we have in summer. Aside from the fact that this makes it sound like we have an over 100-degree variation in temperature. It just adds to the confusion. Our weather will also remain a feature on the conversation agenda, but can we please stop acting like we are so hard done by vast temperature fluctuations.
Then there is the issue of the ton, or tonne. Thanks America. So a tonne in the UK is not the same as a ton, in the US. Who thought that was a good idea? The same confusion arises with gallons.
I would love to suggest that getting the metric and imperial debate solved shouldn’t be rocket science, but it seems even rocket scientist struggle with this. Evidence here! I don’t want to tell you to convert to metric. But please don’t hop between the two. Whether you are right or wrong at least try to be consistent.