The biggest difference you’ll notice is that often the Brits go by weight (as do many European countries, including the French), whereas Americans tend to go by volume. If you’re really into cooking and want to amass recipes from everywhere, we’d solidly recommend you be prepared for both, and buy a kitchen scale as well as measuring cups and spoons (and preferably ones that show both varieties of measurement, grams/ounces, ml/cups). Also, most recipes that do things in ratios (breads and pastries are this way a lot) tend to be by weight, not volume. Either way, we will do our best to post things in both increments.
Another obvious difference is the different units of measurement. Not only is there the fundamental grams/ounces, etc, but sometimes the British like to throw in quirky ones, like Stones (14 pounds. Seriously.), and, more relevant to the issue of cooking, Gas Marks. Because Farenheit & Celsius conversions weren’t fun enough.
We quite often find ourselves mixing measurements which a lot of professional cooks recommend that you avoid. Our theory is try to stick to one but don’t worry if it’s just easier to measure a cup of flour and 50g of butter. Chances are it won’t be the end of the world. Baking is the one area you should probably put more effort into as precision is a lot more important.
The last issue is availability of ingredients, and the fact that ingredient names don’t necessarily mean the same thing. The British don’t have Graham Crackers and Americans won’t be able to find blackcurrants as easily. In this blog we will try to offer up country-appropriate alternatives when something doesn’t exist. But knowing good import stores, both in your neighborhood and online, can help you find almost anything. But an item simply not existing is a simple issue, differences in how you define ingredients is not. In our experience, American produce tends to be a lot bigger than in the UK, so if you’re following an American apple pie recipe, you might need to pick up some extra apples. And of course, words can mean totally different things in the two countries, like biscuits (a roll type thing you eat in gravy, or a relative of cookies that you eat when sipping tea), pudding (dessert as a whole, or only a select few types of dessert, most of which are provided to us by the Jello company), jelly (like jam, or gelatin?), and sausage (this is generally the same, but in America it’s not always assumed that it’s in casing, especially when talking about Italian sausage). Oh and the issue of spelling, Shannon will spell in American and Lucy will spell in British. It’s just easiest this way!
Confused yet? Don’t be. In the end, it’s all food. We’ll clear up what we can, and if we aren’t clear enough drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment here.