Bash for beginners / most common conversions

Recently I took off to Chattanooga to spend the day drinking coffee, playing cards, eating good food, and… learning Bash? Yep. Turns out craft coffeehouse Brash provides the perfect backdrop for making flashcards (henceforward known as bashcards) and gettin’ down the basics.

Featuring Android: Netrunner. I slay as Andromeda.

a few of the bashcards

I’d already worked through the Command Line Crash Course‘s terminal-based exercises, but I wanted some practice drilling. Thankfully my beau was willing on the long, slow drive back from Chattanooga. I didn’t have too much trouble, since I recognized many of the terms from my first attempt at Learning Python the Hard Way. Only xargs made me go argh! I definitely feel like I have a good enough handle on the basics to move on to the first chapter, so I’ll cover it in my next post.

For today’s cooking tip, I want to share a few cooking conversions and measurements that I use all the time. Like Bash above, just memorizing these will make your life so much easier. Say you’re making a salad dressing and it calls for all kinds of “tablespoon this”, “teaspoon that”… and you want to triple the recipe for a party. Are you really gonna stand there and carefully measure out 9 tablespoons of sticky tahini, when you could just do a generous 1/2 cup* and call it a day?

Here are the measurements I use all the time:

Dash = 1/16 of a teaspoon. This is nothin’. This like a dustin’. When you see a dash of something, consider that it’s basically an optional ingredient. …Just kidding. …sorta.

Pinch = 1/8 of a teaspoon. This is quite a bit more than nothin’, so don’t discount it. It’s okay to literally pinch a bit of the spice and toss it in (to your mise en place, remember?), but if you want to measure it out, that’s okay too. (If you’re working with cayenne or another pungent spice you might actually prefer to measure it.)

One teaspoon = 1/3 of a tablespoon.
Two teaspoons = 2/3s of a tablespoon.
Three teaspoons = 1 tablespoon.

It’s so helpful to know the above when you’re reading a recipe that says “5 teaspoons” (seriously, I hate that). If you see “5 teaspoons”, just think 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (or, if you’ve got some experience at eyeballing, a 2/3s-filled tablespoon).

Two tablespoons = 1/8 cup.
Four tablespoons = 1/4 cup.
Eight tablespoons = 1/2 cup.
Sixteen tablespoons = 1 cup.

When I see a recipe that calls for four tablespoons I know they need an editor. Quarter cup y’all!

Your 1/3 cup measure go missing? No big deal. Just measure out 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons (or 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon). Note: the internet believes that 1/3 cup equals five tablespoons. This is not true, but it works for most purposes. 1/3 cup is actually slightly over five tablespoons (hence the +1 tsp above).

Doubling a soup? Memorize these:

Pint = two cups
Quart = two pints (4 cups)
Gallon = four quarts (16 cups)

So there you have it: a beginner’s guide to some of the most common and helpful cooking conversions. While I highly recommend that you memorize the above, you can use Google if necessary. Just specify what you’re looking to convert (i.e., “How many ounces in a pint”) and Google will help you out.

googleGoogling: not just for learning Python!

*technically 9 tablespoons = 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon, but I’ve been in this gig long enough that I’m lazy. I do “scant” for just under a given amount and “generous” for just over.

One thought on “Bash for beginners / most common conversions

  1. Pingback: LPTHW: Exercise 3: Numbers and Math and caramelized onions | Coding with Knives

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