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Converting U.S. Recipes for Use in the U.K.

Dear Patsy,

I have just purchased your book, The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook, and I live in the U.K. How can I use your recipes when they all refer to cups?—U.K. Reader

Dear U.K. Reader,

It’s easier than you think to use the recipes in my book in the lands where Imperial cups are the rule, and where it is more common than in the U.S. to weigh ingredients when baking or cooking.

At first it seems daunting, because cups cannot be easily converted to grams using a simple rule of thumb. One cup of butter has a much different density than 1 cup of nuts; another way to say this is that ingredients like butter fill every nook and cranny of the cup, while there is a lot of empty space in the cup of nuts. Therefore, the weights of these items are quite different.

This does pose some issues for baked goods where extra precision will help your recipes come out as expected. By “baked goods”, I mean recipes which use baking soda, baking powder or eggs as leaveners (raising agents) and which are baked in the oven. They usually (but not always) contain flour of some sort. There are only five recipes of that type in the entire book: Hummingbird Muffins, Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti, Lemon-Pecan Bars, Brownie Batter Bowls, and Five-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. To convert U.S. cup cups and spoons to gram weights, consult the USDA Food Composition Database.

It’s easy to use most recipes written in U.S. cups even if you live in the U.K. or Australia.

It’s easy to use most recipes written in U.S. cups even if you live in the U.K. or Australia.

None of the other recipes in the book require that level of precision. The other 51 recipes will turn out just fine if you simply use Imperial cups, tablespoon and teaspoon measure for measuring all the ingredients in the entire recipe. The ingredients will stay in proportion relative to each other as long as you don’t skip back an forth between American and Imperial cups. The recipe will come out just a little bigger, but you probably won’t even notice it. So even if you are used to weighing everything, you’ll probably want to get yourself a set of measuring cups and spoons to use the recipes in The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook.

Do you have a question? Write to me, or ask questions via Twitter or Facebook. I will not be able to respond personally, so don’t expect an email, but I will select questions of general interest to answer here. I may re-word questions as needed. Consult your own healthcare provider for the personal stuff, or to get advice about your diagnosis or treatment. The information on this site is educational in nature. It is not medical advice and it may not be appropriate for all readers.

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