Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Google Conversion Tool

Have you ever found yourself staring in frustration at conversion tables or algebraic conversion formulae meant to "help" you convert cooking/baking temperatures?

I have. They drive me crazy.

They invariably omit the temperature I need, or they involve a calculator more powerful than my brain.
For example, if you're fond of math, you can convert using the following formulae:

Fahrenheit -> Celsius:
Tc = (5/9)*(Tf-32)

Celsius -> Fahrenheit:
Tf = ((9/5)*Tc)+32

Don't get me wrong. I loved math, calculus in particular, in school. But converting things on the fly in the kitchen? It's not for me.

Want an easier way to convert in your head? I've tried this, and I can say from experience that it's not a very good idea. At least, not in the kitchen.

When I was a theatre school student in Moscow, I would pass a large thermometer hanging outside the main post office every day on my way to class. During my first few weeks there, I often converted the outside temperature this way: multiply the Celsius temperature by 1.8 (ok, let's be honest here- I would multiply by 2, then subtract a tiny bit here or there), then add 32. It's not terrifically accurate when you're fudging numbers as you slip and slide over ice patches on the way to 8 am dance class, but it gave me some sense of the temperature in familiar terms.

This method is fine for gauging, in vague terms, just how frozen your nose is, but there is something fabulous out there that beats my lazy-day method hands-down.

If you have web access while you're cooking, check out Google's conversion feature. Simply type your conversion- for example, convert 140 Celsius to Fahrenheit (no quotation marks needed) into the search box and and hit Google Search. Google will give you the conversion for anything- temperature, weight, volume- in no time flat! I discovered this last year, and it has been my secret weapon ever since.

Of course, you can still use those annoying formulae or conversion charts... but why bother?

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