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You can call me Hal.

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Oz, the Great and Terrible
I haven't been a frequent cook in my life, because it's a big hassle and takes a lot of time. ("A lot of time" meaning "more than five minutes".) Now that I have more time and I'm trying to eat less junk, I'm actually cooking stuff that combines more than three ingredients.

I'm having some metric/imperial issues though. If I get a recipe off a US website and it says, "2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded" how the hell do I measure that? I assumed weight, but now I hear that may not be so. My little scale has both ounces and grams, so it's no problem to weigh ingredients, but is that really weight or is it volume? (And what kind of a system uses the same word for both?) If it's volume, how do you tell when you've got 2 oz? The cheese is rectangular; my measuring cups are round. Or do you shred it first and then measure it? I'm assuming there's some order of operations in play here, where because "shredded" comes at the end, you shred it after measuring, not before.

This is probably why I spend so much time getting Sims to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Then they have to measure the bloody cheese, not me.

Mmm, cheese.

ETA: I feel better about being confused seeing the lack of consensus in the comments. But I'm still confused. *g*

I'm pretty sure that when an ingredient is solid (cheese, flour, etc.) ounces always means weight. At least, that's what I always do with my recipes and no disasters have befallen me.

That seems the most logical to me, in so far as logic seems to apply.

LOL...the American system is beyond ridiculous...yes, it measures in turn by volume and weight...and uses the same terms...

i mean, how fucking hard could it be to say 75 mg...but no, we get teaspoons and tablespoons...

i'd shred it and then measure by volume (or, alternately, you can just guestimate 2 oz, b/c a regular cheese bar like Kraft is around 8oz?)

Seriously! It also just occurred to me that not only do *I* have to know the right answer to this question, so does the person writing the recipe.

I get cheddar in giant huge blocks (we like it) so it's hard to work out how to measure it once the wrapper has been thrown away.

It's, uh, fluid ounces, which is another way of saying, yes, volume measurement. 8 fl. oz. to the cup, so you should be putting in a 1/4 cup of cheese. Somewhere between 50 and 75 ml, I guess?

Dry ingredients are measured by weight, liquid by volume.

Generally speaking, for something solid (like cheese) you can reckon it means weight, though personally I never weigh anything at all--I figure if I buy a 2-pound block of cheese, an ounce is 1/32 of that size. The other is "fluid ounce" which is a measure of liquid volume, which is 1/32 of a quart (so, like, 1/30 of a liter I suppose, so ~35 ml?

The other funny thing, course, is that so many non-US recipes call for weights of solid things. Heh. I don't even have a scale for that sort of thing. I just measure volume and adjust if it feels wrong.

The comments seem to be leaning more to weight than volume in this case, though it's far from conclusive. I'm feeling a bit better about my ignorance. :)

Recipes with US measurements rarely use weight unless it's meat. They mean ounces by volume, and damned if I know why they didn't just say 1/4 cup, since that's what 2oz is.

I see you are in the volume camp. I'm going to have to actually tally the results when this is over.

cheese is measured by weight, 16 oz-1 pound. 8 oz of shredded cheese makes approximately 2 cups.

If it has to be precise, weigh first, then shred.

Weighing is what I did, with the cheese and the vegetables. It's not the like recipe (for tuna loaf) was going to be ruined by a bit more cheese or a bit less green pepper. But for things like calorie and carb counts, I'd like to be more precise if I can.

am at Kamen Rider Kabuto 20.

GON!!! :( :( :(

I say no. (omg Tendou gets hotter every freaking episode)

I bet Tendou never has cheese-measuring problems.

I need more episodes! One per week is not enough.

Solids are measured in ounces of weight, liquids in ounces of volume. So your cheese you would put on the scale and come out right. But if your recipe called for two ounces of melted cheese, you would have to pour it in the cup measure until you hit the quarter cup mark (because there are 8 fluid oz per cup). Ridiculous, isn't it? You can get volume measuring cups that have both ounces and millilitres on them, which will complement nicely your scale that measures ounces and grams.

Maybe I should check for new measuring cups. Mine have cups and millilitres on them, but no ounces. Though I can easily do the cup/ounce conversion, so probably there's no need.

The scale makes so much more sense for things that are going to be shredded or minced or chopped. Because how else will you know how much to prepare?

If it's a correctly written recipe, and the ingredient is a solid, and the amount is given as ounces or pounds, measure by weight. If the amount is given in teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups, measure by volume. Bulk foods (chopped veg, shredded cheese) are usually given by weight, because -- as you noted -- measuring such items by volume leads to uncertainty.

If the ingredient is a liquid, or a solid that's been melted (cheese, butter, chocolate), measure by volume. If the ingredient is a solid meant to be measured as a liquid it will be listed in the ingredient list as a liquid -- ie, 10 oz liquid chocolate would be measured by volume, 10 oz chocolate (even if the recipe later calls for it to be melted at some point) would be measured as a solid.

If you're planning on doing any great amount of cooking from american recipes, I'd recommend getting a set of american measuring cups and spoons; it makes life *much* easier. Cooking by volume does have one advantage, in that it's faster to fill a one-cup measure with, say, cocoa, than it is to measure out 125 grams (for me, anyway).

If it's a correctly written recipe

That is, of course, the big if when I'm pulling things off of websites. :) But I've got a much better idea now of A. the correct way of doing things and B. how not everybody knows that.

Thanks for the info! That's really helpful. I do have measuring cups that use both imperial and metric, so that won't be a problem.

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Hee! Well, I'm not terribly worried that some extra cheese is going to ruin my tuna loaf. It's more that I want to be sure the nutritional information about the recipe (esp re calories & carbs) is going to be correct.

Of course, the unwritten Canadian rule of thumb is that it can never be too cheesy. Come to think of it, this might be the unwritten rule of thumb in the fanfic world, too. Damn those thumbs.

So true! Good thing we've only got two thumbs. :)

Alton Brown, food Overlord, says that dry ingredients are measured by weight, and wet by volume. So if you want to measure things in ounces (and a good cook would do that), you buy a little food scale and measure dry ingredients (ie cheese) that way. Wet ingredients would of course use a measuring cup. And of course, if it says "a cup of cheese," then either you're good to go with a measuring cup, or you can be a Terribly Good Cook and measure out 8oz on the scale.

Being exact helps much more in baking than in cooking say, a cheese sauce, i.e., if you measure flour by weight for a cake, your cake won't end up over-floury and too dry, but if you put a little too much flour in a roux, so what, you'll barely notice, add a bit more butter is all.

And of course, if it says "a cup of cheese," then either you're good to go with a measuring cup, or you can be a Terribly Good Cook and measure out 8oz on the scale.

Therin lies the confusion. 8oz of cheddar cheese by volume is about 3.5oz by weight, so I end up staring at the recipe wondering just how much cheese is really called for when it says 2oz. But I guess with cheese, you really can't go wrong with "more". *g*

My recommendation is not to follow recipes closely and judge by eye sight. It is the way I was taught to cook and has never failed me. Except that one time when eye sight told me that the cayenne pepper was paprika.

I can do that easily enough. But then I'll have to work out the nutritional info myself and I'm just too lazy. :)

Oh my god, this conversation is hilarious.

I avoid any recipe that measures things by weight. I don't have a kitchen scale. I never even *heard* of such a thing until I started reading widely in cookery books, and discovered that they do things differently elsewhere. Now I get irritated when I want to do an English recipe and everything is in fucking grams. How the hell do I know what a gram is?

Lately I never measure anything. I think you'll find that once you get comfortable in the kitchen, you won't either, but I can appreciate why it's important to know these things now -- especially if you're counting calories or carbs.

Re: Oh my god, this conversation is hilarious.

The thing about weight is it doesn't change while volume of things can, depending on how it's packed it. If you weigh the flour, you don't have to sift it before you measure it. Etc.

I find that cooking, unlike baking, rarely requires exact amounts of anything, least of all cheese, because there can never be enough cheese in my world. But I know that one can by little "weight" cups, where you can put things inside (like grated cheese) and it tells you how much it is not only in volume but also in weight. And the good ones should have not only ml/gram but also ounces.

I think the real consensus here is: MORE CHEESE. .*g*

LOL oh man. I'm so bad with cooking. All my instant food has to be microwavable. The other day soundczech recommended some instant mac and cheese, I looked at the packaging and was like, What do you mean I have to boil the pasta...

Here in Canada, we not only have our staple Kraft Dinner, but there's also Kraft Easy Mac, which you just have to microwave. Zap a pack of that, add some peas and half a tin of tuna, and you have instant tuna casserole! Maybe I'll have that for breakfast.