Useful Information for English Speakers

George Bernard Shaw once said “England and America are two countries separated by a common language”,  but the English spoken in Great Britain, the United States and other English-speaking countries, are not only separated by geography but also by many centuries of history.   British English and American English certainly have many differences and while most people are aware of the spelling and pronunciation differences, they don’t actually realise how confusing the discrepancies can be in some situations.  Although the American words are creeping into British usage and vice versa, people in English-speaking countries who try to follow a recipe from a different side of the world might find it a bit of a challenge, and will realize that American English and British English have quite a few differences in food and cooking terminology.

An American cookbook can also be called a cookery book in Britain, and the basic cooking equipment and terms for cooking procedures can be different.  An American electric blender is a liquidizer in Britain, the cake pan can be called a cake tin, and the dough either rises or proves.  The major differences between British and American recipe measurements, for example, centre around the fact that British measurements are quoted by weight, while the American ones are quoted by volume.  The imperial system presently used in the United States was introduced by the British when the United States was a British colony, then in the early 1800s Britain redefined the British imperial system while the United States didn’t and continued to follow the original system in use today.

The conversion tables below are intended to be of help to those who wish to prepare the recipes in this book and are as accurate as will be needed for this purpose.  We feel that baking is a form of cooking where precision of measurement and the right ingredients are really important.


 30 grams = 1 ounce

55 grams = 2 ounces

85 grams = 3 ounces

125 grams = 4 ounces or ¼ pound

240 grams = 8 ounces or ½ pound

375 grams = 12 ounces or ¾ pound

454 grams = 16 ounces or  1 lb

600 grams =  1 ¼ lb

907 grams = 32 ounces or 2 pounds

1 kilogram (1000 grams) =  2.2 pounds/35.2 ounces

Liquid measurements for cups:

 ¼ cup = 60 millilitres or 2 fluid ounces

½ cup = 125 millilitres or 4 fluid ounces

¾ cup = 180 millilitres

1 cup or ½ pint = 250 millilitres or 8 fluid ounces

2 ½ quarts = 2.5 liters

4 cups = 1 litre or 1 ¾ pints

Measurements for spoons:

 ¼ teaspoon = 1,25 millilitres

½ teaspoon = 2 millilitres

1 teaspoon = 5 millilitres

1 tablespoon = 20 millilitres or 1 ½ fluid ounces

British and American cooking methods and temperatures are different too so take a look below at the oven temperatures and settings:

Degrees Celsius/Centigrade       Degrees Fahrenheit        Gas mark setting

110                                                       225                                                 ¼

120/130                                              250                                                 ½

140                                                       275                                                  1

150                                                       300                                                 2

160/170                                               325                                                  3

180                                                       350                                                  4

190                                                       375                                                   5

200/210                                              400                                                  6

Below are some of the more common examples of British English-American English differences:

British English                                                                American English

Aubergine                                                                                Eggplant

Bangers                                                                                    Sausages

Beetroot                                                                                   Beet

Bicarbonate of soda                                                               Baking soda

Biscuit                                                                                      Cookie

Cake mixture                                                                          Cake batter

Caster sugar                                                                            Superfine sugar

Chips                                                                                        French fries

Cling film                                                                                 Plastic wrap

Corn flour                                                                                Corn starch

Courgettes                                                                               Zucchini

Crisps                                                                                        Potato chips

Crystallised fruits                                                                   Candied fruits

Demerara sugar                                                                      Light brown sugar

Double cream                                                                          Heavy cream

Essence                                                                                     Extract

Fairy cake                                                                                 Cupcake

Fish fingers                                                                              Fish sticks

Grease proof paper                                                                 Wax paper

Groundnut oil                                                                          Peanut oil

Hazelnut                                                                                   Filbert

Icing                                                                                          Frosting

Icing sugar                                                                               Powdered sugar

Kitchen hob/cooker                                                               Stove

Maize                                                                                        Corn

Maize flour                                                                              Cornstarch

Minced meat                                                                           Ground beef

Plain flour                                                                                All-purpose flour

Porridge                                                                                   Oatmeal

Pudding                                                                                    Dessert

Raising agent                                                                           Leavening agent

Rocket                                                                                       Arugula

Root ginger                                                                              Ginger root

Single cream                                                                            Light cream

Soft flour (low gluten)                                                            Pastry/cake flour

Strong flour/hard flour (high gluten)                                  Bread flour

Sultanas                                                                                     Raisins

Sweets                                                                                        Candy

To whip or whisk                                                                     To beat or whisk

To grill                                                                                       To broil

Whipping cream                                                                      Half cream

Wholemeal                                                                               Whole wheat

Digestive biscuits and Graham crackers are quite different but are both used to make crumb crusts for cheesecakes.  Graham crackers are sweeter and Digestive biscuits are richer.


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