Lost In Translation

Decorating By Cher2309b Updated 28 Feb 2011 , 1:21pm by miss_sweetstory

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Cher2309b Posted 25 Feb 2011 , 11:03pm
post #1 of 19

CakeCentral is a large multicultural forum and I note that many of us have queries about the meanings of certain ingredients, etc. For example, here in Australia we don't have half and half, sticks of butter, Dream Whip, Graham Crackers or Crisco and a tablespoon is 20mls as opposed to the 15ml tablespoon in some countries.

Perhaps we could work together on developing a list of definitions and substitutes to assist in overcoming this difficulty? How do other CCers feel about this and how do we go about doing it?

18 replies
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icer101 Posted 25 Feb 2011 , 11:17pm
post #2 of 19

I love your suggestion, but i personally don,t know how to go about doing it.

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Melvira Posted 25 Feb 2011 , 11:48pm
post #3 of 19

This is a fantastic idea, and I know it would really help people out.

Now, that being said, this could be a fair bit of work for whoever wants to do it. Being that you thought of it, were you willing to do the footwork, so the speak? I have several suggestions on how to do this.

1. Start a thread, as you just have, and ask people to tell you what things throw them off. Get people to give you the information you need. For example, one person will say something like "Everyone is always talking about Dream Whip, what the heck IS that?!" Then another person will hopefully say what the equivalent is in their country.

2. You can take all that information and create a document with all those details in it. There are several ways you could organize it, depending on the info you recieve.

3. Create a Google doc, or a new thread with JUST the pertinent information. I would suggest a Google document, then post a link to it for everyone to follow. You can also create the new thread with the information and request that one of the moderators here make it a sticky.

If anything i've said makes you scratch your head and think "What the DEVIL is she talking about?" well, firstly, you're not alone! Hahaha. But secondly, feel free to send me a PM or just ask here and I'll try to clarify anything that sent your brain into shutdown mode. I'm well known for that. icon_lol.gif

Edited for a single typo because yes, I am *THAT* anal. icon_rolleyes.gif

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Cher2309b Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 1:19am
post #4 of 19

Thank you icer for your support.

Melvira, thank you ever so much for your wonderful guidance. I am happy to take on the work; I'm sure it's not as technically challenging as it appears on first reading. (My 1950 brain is a little technically challenged but this will be good brain food for it.)

So, I'll start a new thread now, gather some details to get started and then have a go at creating a Google doc.

Wish me luck. When freaking out I have two sons to turn to for guidance or, if you don't mind, I may call out for some advice from you.

Thanks again.
All the best,

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Melvira Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 2:59am
post #5 of 19

Absolutely, if you have any questions give me a holler and I'll happily try to help. I've found the Google docs I've created for cake-type stuff have been very well received. When you finish compiling your info and create the doc, give a shout to BobWonderbuns and ask her if she will add the URL to her link. In her signature she has a link to all those docs we've created. It's very helpful for people, an easy way to find stuff.

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Cher2309b Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 3:16am
post #6 of 19

Great! Thanks again Melvira.
I've posted a request and explanation under "Global list of substitutes for ingredients". Hope there's some response.

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Melvira Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 3:22am
post #7 of 19

See, now THAT is how you title a thread to get attention! Awesome. I will go check it out and mark it as watched so I can see how it's going. I'll also see if I can add anything. No guarantees on that! icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

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cheatize Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 5:01am
post #8 of 19

The "Kiwis check in here!" thread has some of that information in it for New Zealand. Great idea!

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indydebi Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 10:33am
post #9 of 19

Luv this idea! One of my peeves is/are recipes written like casual conversation .... a "capful" of vanilla; a "box" of pudding; etc. sizes of caps, boxes, cans, packages change over time.

I've also learned (on here) how casually we americans use "sticks of butter" without stopping to consider that other countries dont' measure that way. I've worked really hard to avoid using those terms (I convert to "cups") since being exposed to this difference!

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Cher2309b Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 11:08am
post #10 of 19

Hi Indydebi.
Don't you hate that - packets, tins, sticks, etc?
There are even 240ml cups and 250ml cups, depending on where you are. We often visit Italy and, there, everything is measured in grams or mls - no ambiguity. I presume it's the same throughout Europe.
You may like to check out my new thread, "Global list of substitutes for ingredients", where we've begun collecting relevant information. There's been some great input; I'll soon need to start collating it into a more user-friendly format.
Good to hear from you,

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Melvira Posted 27 Feb 2011 , 1:49am
post #11 of 19

Oh, you haven't lived til you've tried to squeeze a recipe out of my mom. And you know what I'm talking about Debi, cuz I know you do this too...

"Well, you take some milk, and you add a little water..."
"Well, like how much milk and water mom?"
"Oh, you know, well, that white kettle that I have, about 1/3 full..."
"So, roughly how many cups?"
"Oh, I don't know, I've never measured it!"
icon_mad.gif Honestly, I know how she feels because I am a slap dash cook, my dishes are never the exact same... add what sounds good, you know? Of course baking is a little different, but cooking is totally off the cuff. Of course, I can give you a basic idea of measurements though. I can roughly estimate what I'm using. icon_rolleyes.gif

My favorite measurement that she uses... "Just add flour til it feels right." Well sure, once you've made it a hundred times you KNOW what right is. When you're just starting, not so much! icon_lol.gif

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indydebi Posted 27 Feb 2011 , 5:36am
post #12 of 19

Yep, sure do! My kids MADE me measure stuff when I made some of their favorite dishes (and even then its still a wish and a prayer that its an accurate measurement!) icon_lol.gif

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Melvira Posted 27 Feb 2011 , 5:51am
post #13 of 19

Ha Deb, I know what you mean. When I finally decide to document a recipe, I write it down, then over the next several times I make it, I sort of average it out, or try to figure out which amount I like it better with, you know? icon_rolleyes.gif It's hard sometimes though, because you know how you evolve your recipes? Well, for instance, some of the methods I list in the Bettercreme doc... I have sort of changed how I do it. And I don't want to totally mess people up by posting too many ways to do the same thing, but I feel kind of weird when someone asks me directly and I tell them something different from what's posted!! icon_redface.gif

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indydebi Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 12:52am
post #14 of 19

Its a learning experience for me to measure. Like my chili ..... I just turn the bottle of chili powder upside down until the top of the chili "looks right". When my kids made me measure, I scooped out 1/2 cup (I make BIG pots of chili!) and poured it in the pan until it looked right. My first "measurement" was "1/2 cup + 1/3 cup - 1 Tbsp". (Kids were NOT amused! icon_lol.gif )

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Cher2309b Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 2:22am
post #15 of 19

To Indydebi and Melvira,
We used to live on Christmas Island and I had a lovely Malay assistant who would demonstrate beautiful Malay dishes for me. There was no measuring - all by eye and experience. So I would watch carefully, write everything down and estimate quantities. It worked quite well back then but, through lack of practice, I've lost the knack. My mee goreng has taken on shades of spaghetti bolognaise and I just can't get it right. icon_sad.gif

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Melvira Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 2:37am
post #16 of 19

Oh man! I hate that when you sort of forget a dish that you've done. When I was 19 I made this midnight chocolate cake with a saboyan filling... I cannot for the life of me remember how I made it. icon_cry.gif I just remember that it was amazing!

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Cher2309b Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 2:46am
post #17 of 19

How frustrating!
That reminds me of a lovely marbled chocolate cheesecake squares recipe I used to make and I've lost it. This one had melted chocolate in it and I've only been able to find recipes with cocoa. Actually, I should be able to get hold of it; I know it was from the "Australian Woman's Weekly" decades ago.

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melave Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 3:33am
post #18 of 19

sounds like you all grew up in my house !!

when i moved out of home i would ring mum
How do you make this
add a bit of this and that
how much
a smidge
how much is a smidge
i don't know just a smidge!!

Now i do it to the OH when he is cooking. He is a by the book cook and gets so frustrated with me icon_smile.gif and he freaks out as i don't taste as i go

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miss_sweetstory Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 1:21pm
post #19 of 19

Hey there! Love this idea. Count me in to help contribute info for US/UK conversions. We are currently stationed in the UK and I shop both at the commissary (US military grocery) and on the economy. I've worked through a lot of this and have done tons of experimenting with substitutions (some with more success than others.)

Off to look at the new thread!

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