Units Conversion

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Three years ago I got on the invite list for international exchange events. Three or four times a year we would gather for a cooking event. Although Americans are probably the most populous group of foreigners in the area, it seemed like they always asked me to be the representative.

Let me assure you that I was not selected because of dazzling cooking skills. I think that I was willing to do it and they probably had to fight for people in the past. Also, the eating part of the evening is a bit of a party and I like to socialize. At that time I had gone to the trouble of converting measuring spoons, measuring cups, and temperatures into Japanese units for the recipes.

Somehow, I fell off the invite list almost two years ago and haven’t bothered to get back in touch. I think the primary organizer went through some career and life changes and his contact info might have gone with him.

Recently I gave some flavored pastas as souvenir gifts. Recommended recipes were included in the packages. Everybody has been asking me, “what are teaspoons and tablespoons?” I promised that I would research it and get back to them – having forgotten everything (except temperature conversion) over the last couple years.

This is a little embarrassing, but I figured it out. In Japan there are two measuring spoons called kosaji (小匙) and oosaji (大匙), meaning simply “small spoon” and “big spoon”. The small one is virtually identical to a teaspoon, and the big one; a tablespoon. It’s a bad sign that I couldn’t remember the conversion rate was 1:1.

The Japanese cup; however, I could remember at 200ml. The American cup of 8oz being about 237ml (although it is often listed at 250ml).

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