I cook in pounds and ounces. I have a scale that weighs in both kilograms and pounds, which is useful for converting between them by multiplying the kilograms by 2.2046. But I also use a digital kitchen scale to weigh things. The digital scale is better than the analogue one: it has a sliding switch between grams and ounces, which allows you to switch between the two, without having to convert all those grams back into ounces.
But there’s an even bigger advantage of using grams over ounces: they’re interchangeable. You can buy stuff in either one or the other without needing special equipment. As I understand it, the standard way of measuring weight was using pounds and ounces until fairly recently, when metric units were introduced by international agreement. But as you go further back into history, weights were measured in different ways. If you want to know how much a slave weighed, for example, you would ask his master: “How many pounds is he?” And not just that—you’d be told his price in pounds and what he was being sold for in pounds of sugar or rice.
In fields where weights are still measured in pounds and ounces, this means that sellers are often able to charge different prices depending on which unit they’re selling in; if they want
Here’s an idea that’s been around since before we had weights and measures: you can save money on a purchase by measuring ingredients in pounds, then cooking with ounces, then converting everything to grams.
You can do this because 1 pound = 16 ounces, and 1 ounce = 28.35 grams. The formula for converting pounds to ounces is easy:
1 pound = 16 ounces * .062500 ounces per pound
The formula for converting ounces to grams is equally easy:
1 ounce = 28.35 grams * .0375 grams per ounce
So if you want to buy 1 pound of turkey or chicken breast, you will save money by buying 1/16th of a pound each time rather than getting a whole pound at once. You’ll also get some savings by buying smaller quantities of things like bacon and sausage.
The math gets more complicated when you need to convert from pounds to kilograms, but these conversions are all simple fractions.*
A description of a sausage spice blend, I learned to cook many different kinds of sausages in my career as a sausage butcher. In this blog post, I’ll describe the main spices in my blend and what they do in the average sausage recipe.
The thing we call a sausage is really just a tube of meat with some fat on the outside. You can think of it as having three parts: a cylindrical middle, stuffed with chopped meat, with fat on one side and without fat on the other; two sausages are made from the same piece of meat by wrapping it in fat one way and in lean the other.
Many sausages have a pair of ends that are not quite cylindrical, which is what gives them their shape. Some also have an off-center knot that makes them look as if they’re turning around. These are different, but you can think of them as being the same kind of stuff as the cylindrical part.
If you want to be exact, you need to know something about meat cuts. The cut used to make this particular sausage is called “chuck beef brisket.” It’s not like a steak or a ham; it’s not a single piece of meat at all but a kind of mix-and-match job, with sections from different kinds of cuts mixed up together. But we’ll get back to that later on.
The history of the sausage is one of the great mysteries of the culinary arts. It is possible that it is named for its shape, not its flavor, which may be why we don’t even know who popularized it. Was it a butcher? A cook? Or was there a sausageman-cook combo?
We do know, however, that before the advent of refrigeration and freezing, sausages had to be consumed quickly; they contained no preservatives or other means of extending their shelf life. So perhaps the ancient sausage was in fact a forerunner of the modern charcuterie-cured meats that are sold at specialty markets.
One of the problems I find in cooking is that you can’t tell what a recipe is going to taste like before you have made it. Sometimes you have to take the chef’s word for it, and sometimes you shouldn’t. (I’ve had two meals prepared by chefs that were so bad, I couldn’t eat them.)
Sometimes there’s no substitute for taking a recipe and making up your own version. It’s no fun being told how things are supposed to be done without being allowed anywhere close to the same freedom when doing it yourself. For example, if a recipe says “sausage”, then the sausage should be cubed or ground meat, not chopped meat, and should include other ingredients besides sausage spices.
I won’t name any names, but in my experience you can almost always get more flavor from something by adding other ingredients than by just sprinkling on spices.
In medieval times the word “sausage” (or “sowage”) referred to a small bit of meat and fat that was made into a sort of sausage shape and then dried in the sun. Medieval cooks would sometimes add herbs or spices and serve them to their guests as a way of showing off, or to make up for having run out of more expensive ingredients.
The word “sausage” also came to mean any food made by stuffing a piece of meat and fat with a spice mixture, which is why it is used as a type of generic term for all such foods.
As time went on, the word became used less and less for this purpose. Eventually it was applied only to certain kinds of sausages, such as pork sausages, made from pork, fat and spices; or chicken sausages, made from chicken, fat and spices.
Our current meaning of sausage has been around for much longer than this, however. It seems not to have changed at all since the Middle Ages: it still means something that is stuffed with meat and fat. But it is used in two separate senses which are not related: first that of a piece of meat and fat that is then cooked; second that of a cooked piece of