Convert-O-Matic! The new online conversion tool for measuring ingredients
I have tons of recipes archived, so that whenever I do a cooking event, curate a menu, or (like now) write a new cookbook, I have an arsenal from which I can pull just about any dish to fit any diet, cuisine, course, and so forth.
The problem with my recipes are they’re often written using standard measurements since I’m American, and we are weird in that we have yet to adopt the more globally used metric system. And the problem with standard measurements is they’re impossible to scale! For example, For my pop-up at Ozone Bar in Hong Kong, I had to scale my menu to accommodate 250+ covers (or “guests” for those not familiar with the lingo). Now you can imagine if my recipe for, say, elote calls for 1/4 cup of Mexican crema, multiplying that by 250 gives me 62.5 cups, but who’s going to sit around and measure out 62.5 cups of crema using a Pyrex glass measuring cup?
Not me, and not any of the Ritz-Carlton chefs.
On the first night of prep, the hubs and I had to scramble and help the chef convert my recipes into metric measurements so that we could scale the ingredients using a proper food scale. It’s key (and often confusing) to note that standard measurements like teaspoons and tablespoons often measure mass, but when scaling, you need to do it by weight. And a cup of powdered sugar is not going to weigh the same as a cup of rocks (okay, I know we don’t typically cook with rocks, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when I tried to come up with something obviously heavy).
The hubs always gets on my case about how I write my recipes using standard measurements, but that’s how my brain is accustomed to thinking (another reason why I still only consider myself a cook and not a chef). But the standard measurement is what’s standard in most of the recipes you see in American cookbooks, and as I consider myself a cookbook author, well…that’s why, I tell him.
But secretly, I hate to admit that he’s right. My recipes should be written in metric because it would make scaling a whole lot easier. (If I were really on top of it, all my recipes would provide both metric and standard measurements. But I’m not—as I type this, there is still a pile of clutter to my right that has been there since July. The irony is the pile contains all my recipes I’d saved from the Hong Kong pop-up with the standard measurements replaced by metric ones.)
Anyway, my point is, the metric system of measurement is much more practical when it comes to cooking (ask any baker, and they’ll tell you recipes should be written in grams since it’s much more precise). THere have been many times when I needed to scale recipes, but after extensive searching online, all the calculators I found were mediocre—either they were broken or didn’t take into consideration that the same volume of two different ingredients could result in two different weights.
In Hong Kong, the hubs, a web developer by trade, screamed with exasperation, “I’m going to build you something that will convert all your damn measurements into grams!”
And a few months later, he did!
Introducing the all-new CONVERT-O-MATIC, an easy-to-use online calculator for converting standard measurements into metric. The hubs has spent the last week or so staying up late to work on this. He just unveiled it to me a couple of days ago, and now I’m passing it along to you. It’s obviously in its early phase, so he’s still working to improve and expand its features. I’ve already asked for a scaling feature so I can turn my recipe for four servings into one for 200 for an event.
Check out the CONVERT-O-MATIC, and let us know what you think.
By the way, the hubs and I are still bickering over the tool’s name and spelling, so if you have input into that as well, I welcome you to leave a comment. Whatever its final name, I’m excited to finally have an online conversion calculator I can trust.
Thanks, and happy converting!