Canada, for all of its wonderful traits, is a wee bit confused in the measurement department. We officially switched over to the metric system in the 1970’s, but we did a pretty half-assed job of it. We measure distances in kilometers, and temperature in Celsius, but our stoves are in Fahrenheit, and the great majority of our grocery stores advertise prices in cost per pound.

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It wasn’t until I went to Australia, where they are 100% metric, that I realized how haphazardly we bounce between the systems. Anyhow, between my love of cooking (most of my cookbooks are American or British, and therefore Imperial… though 2 different versions of Imperial…) and my love of travel and common sense, I know both systems quite well, and I can tell you without a moment’s of hesitation that I prefer the metric system.

Most packaged goods in Canada are sold with both metric and imperial measurements noted.

Most packaged goods in Canada are sold with both metric and imperial measurements noted.

Adjusting to metric system after using the imperial system all your life is sort of like learning how to drive in manual after driving nothing but automatic vehicles. It’s a bit intimidating at first, but with a small amount of perseverance you will quickly find it’s nothing at all, and you will likely prefer it (even better with metric than with manual as metric is far easier than imperial when you look at it objectively, and as a big plus, hills and stop-and-go traffic are not an issue as with manual). If you’ve ever browsed my blog you’ll have likely noticed that the great majority of my recipes are in metric measurements. If you’re American, this has likely confused you. I don’t want to confuse you, so I’ve written up a handy guide to the metric system to try and convince you to give it a go.

Believe it or not, 20°C is actually a pretty nice day.

Believe it or not, 20°C is actually a pretty nice day.

Once the darling (well, really the only) measurement system of the globe, there are now only 3 countries in the world that still use the imperial system as their official measurement system.

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Countries that still officially use the Imperial system. Source.

And, of course, I get it. Stick to what you know, right? (There’s a reason I don’t speak a dozen languages.) It’s easy because you know it already, and math kind of sucks (especially when you’ve been out of school for a while and you have made it your goal to prove to that annoying 3rd grade math teacher of yours that math really isn’t all that useful when you’re a grown up).

But that’s where I want to seduce you with the wonder and awesomeness of the metric system! I will make you three promises:

  1. The metric system is easily even if you don’t know it already
  2. If you think math kind of sucks, I can promise you that you will do far less math than you have to when you use the imperial system.
  3. You will look like quite the champ whenever you visit a foreign grocery store or read recipes from anywhere else in the world. It’s pretty much the easiest way to become bilingual.
  4. (fourth, extra bonus promise: You will sound much lighter in kilograms, and much taller in centimetres!)

    My dirty (and confused) stove uses Fahrenheit.

    My dirty (and confused) stove uses Fahrenheit.

Here’s a few things you will never have to worry about with the metric system:

  1. You will never have to divide anything by 12, or 8, or 32, or any number other than 10 (and every third grader can tell you that’s so easy practically cheater division).
  2. You will never have to wonder if a unit is the fluid or weight version of itself (cough, ounces, cough).
  3. You will never have to worry if a unit is the British Imperial or American Imperial version of itself.
  4. No more fractions!
  5. You can do away with most of measurement type memorization as everything is intuitively named and easily figured out—you don’t have to know there are 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, and 1,760 yards in a mile. Where did those numbers come from?! With the metric system, it is always a multiple of 10. Think of what you can do with all that extra room in your brain!

Do I have you even moderately convinced? I sure hope so. Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll walk you through the basics of metric and you’ll become an expert in no time!

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