Husband is always on the lookout for sourdough rye recipes, and settled on a Danish Rugbrød last week. That is the coarse, very thinly-cut type of rye bread baked in a Pullman pan with added sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and rye chops. It is often used as the base for Smørrebrød, those lovely open faced sandwiches..

The recipe he chose took eight days to make, beginning with the sourdough starter. He meticulously measured things as he fed the rye starter, and by Day 8 he was ready to mix up the bread.

The recipe was poorly translated from the Danish, and the exact steps were very difficult to follow. Husband fussed and fussed over getting all the proportions of everything correct at every step. He measured out everything by weight, and had to covert even the liquids from liters to grams. I served as his calculation assistant, and when he asked me to find out how many grams in a deciliter, I knew we were in uncharted territory.

I remember feeling so lost when the metric system was introduced when I was in elementary school. As I helped Husband with his deciliters, I thought of that and how ridiculously logical the metric system is. Why is this so hard for my American brain to comprehend?

The bread turned out quite well. We froze half and plan to send it to the only two Danes we know for their honest opinion.

What are your experiences with the metric system? Why is it hard for the American mind to grasp? What is your favorite bread to bake? Whose opinion do you value?

57 thoughts on “Deciliters”

  1. First 2 plus years of college I was a science major, which means I had become accustomed to metrics for volume and weights of a kilo or less. Switching to the metric system made sense to me, still does. But please don’t do it now when I am 77. Considering the frustrations I have had with technology the last 4 days, i would be confused by it.
    But in 1973 I modernized and added onto a a small house right on Lake Superior which was built in 1953. It was the time of the big push for decimals. It would not have been fun to be battling measuring materials in a new system and adjusting where they met.
    Also, the size of the 2 x 4 changed between 53 and 73. Old size was 1.75 by 3.75. New size 1.5 x 3.5. (2 x 4 refers to size before it was planed. Now of course it is rough cut at 1.75 by 3.75.) Every time new met old I had to adjust one to the other. Lots of shimming or game playing. Add in metrics right then, well, it would have caused a few errors along the way and confusion. It was a joy to work in the addition where every thing was “new money.” Also the old house was mostly still 2 prong outlets and the new three prong. There were rooms that were a mix of the two. Again so much more fun to work in the addition.
    An American friend living in eastern Canada says you still hear people talking miles and pounds and F and not C.
    Why are we resistant to the change? Why do we choose to be ignorant about all things math and science?
    (High pain and close to blind this morning. Excuse typos.)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Clyde, my knee is “talking” to me this morning. I looked at the barometer, and it bounced from high to low in the night.

      I feel your pain (and mine).

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Jacque, sorry about confusion my identity as northshoreclyde when I am on my computer and annonymous on iphone and ipad. Long story. For reasons too long to explain, I trashed out the identtity nsc.
        but for whatever reason it allows it on here, even though it does bot technically exist. I should create a new identity to use on both. But last four days
        i have been in 5 tech battles. So far score is 4 for them and 1 for me. Not big things. One is with LED bulbs our lease requires us to use in cealing fixtures. Worn out with it.
        My pain is not really triggered by pressure, but maybe today. MY FM just goes through surges of pain, flairups we call them.
        Blindness is mostly caused by me not paying enough attention to my eyes.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Many flooring products are now being manufactured using metric dimensions. Especially is that the case with commercial applications. Conversion isn’t usually a problem as the material is to simply cover the whole floor. However, when specific layouts are required, it’s a bit more challenging. Architects/designers/owners who make their layout without regard to the product size are the problem. Add to that, the old standby of 1/8 inch equals 1 foot on a blueprint won’t work when the CAD uses metric. It’s a communication problem. The challenge can be met by talking it through.
    On one occasion, I attended a Forbo linoleum certification school in Pennsylvania. The class was divided up into teams of three. None of the team members knew each other. One assignment was to install linoleum tiles over an area with attention to borders of another color. My two partners dove right into getting the layout but we’re ignoring that the tiles were not 12 inch squares; they were 1/2 meter squares. For half an hour I let them go at it with conversion calculators and physically dry-laying out the rows. Meanwhile, the other three teams were already gluing in their mockups which added to the frustration experienced by my teammates. I could see the instructors were bemused by all of this. I must admit to chuckling to myself. Finally I went to the instructors and asked, “May I please have a metric tape measure?”
    “They’re right over there with all the other installation tools.”
    Asserting a bit of old guy experience, I showed the team how to layout using a metric tape. Later at the pub (I bought so as to sooth ruffled feathers) the three of us discussed the matter. But not just the history of the problem but the communication needed for teamwork. By the end of the week, we were cooperating very well.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The short answer, Clyde, is that I have lived in a state of confusion ever since I arrived in the US. I blame it all on having to convert from a system where all I’d have to do was move a decimal point a couple of places to the right or left, and sooner or later I’d arrive at the right answer. The new system required me to be able to multiply and divide, plus memorize a bunch of numbers the relevance of which escaped me. If you add to that that I went from being a 176 cm tall young woman in a roughly 37º C body that weighed 57 kilos, to a 5’9″ weighing in at 127 lbs with a temperature of 98.2º F, I think my confusion is entirely understandable. Don’t even get me started on gasoline prices and the virtue of selling it by the liter or gallon, I’ll just take my bicycle. Oh wait, I forgot that everything here is miles away, especially if you live in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

      Liked by 6 people

  3. Rise and Measure, Baboons,

    It appears to me that Metric System has many advantages over the mess of a system we use here, but that is my 2 cents. At this point in the USA we seem to have bigger issues to cope with, such as authorizing budgets, getting people their vaccines, or dispatching #46 from his political ambitions. I would rather make decisions about metrics, but this is where we find ourselves.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Getting people vaccines is a really, really murderous idea. It has been proven repeatedly that the vaccine DOES NOT work and that it causes many health issues such as heart disease! It is lethal! And also dispatching #46 is an excellent idea! Who wants a mentally deficit person in charge?


      1. Welcome back, Jeanne. Just a friendly reminder, check your sources before you start sharing your opinions as facts. Or is that a distinction that lost on you?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Good. We can not lose anymore Baboons! I have had 2 Modernas and a booster. And I had COVID 1 year ago. It took me 6 months to shed the long-haul symptoms, so I am not interested in experiencing it again.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Wow! Didn’t know you had it, Jacque! That’s tough. I need to be more regular here. I don’t want to lose any more Baboons either.

          Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh Jacque… this was not meant for you. Your post was clear – separating ambitions from a person. Not removing a person from this earth by dispatching him or her.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. I got used to using the metric system in my early years working as a practical nurse and I still think in terms of milliliters or cubic centimeters when measuring liquids. It’s harder for me to think in terms of ounces now. But I have a really hard time trying to convert temperatures to metric. I kind of envy other countries who use that system and I think we should have switched long ago. I’m sure any attempt to make the switch would cause an uproar now, especially amongst those who object to change. They’d probably think it was a liberal plot to take over the world… (insert eye-rolling emoticon here).

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Back when I was a volunteer helper on archaeological digs (in the ’70s) we used inches and tenths of inches to measure things. I guess it was someone’s idea of a compromise between the English system and the Metric.
    So, why are miles still used in the UK?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Holy mackerel, Andy, and here I’ve been beating myself up over not reading the directions properly the first (and only) time I made tapioca pudding.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I don’t want to be presumptuous, Renee, but I’m wondering if the two Danes you refer to are husband and moi? I’ll be really disappointed if we’re not.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. HI-
    I remember being in middle school when they tried to push Metric. I don’t like change so that’s a problem right there. It’s true, I like how easy it is to just slide the decimal point over and adjust. I just haven’t learned all the terms yet so that gives me problems.

    But as metric bolts have become more common in machinery, I’ve had to get a whole new set of tools so I have both SAE and Metric wrenches. (SAE meaning Society of Automotive Engineers – Our USA tools).
    At this point I haven’t started a collection of metric bolts and nuts yet, aside from just a couple smaller things. but I bet that’s coming.

    Not to mention, bolts come in different strengths and sometimes that matters. But I don’t know what the numerals on metric bolts means or how it compares. SAE, plain is soft grade 2. 3 marks is Grade 5, and 6 marks is Grade 8.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep. If you want to reuse the screw or bolt, having the correct wrench or screwdriver is critical. Tools that seem “close enough” end up damaging the bolt or screw heads.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. No memorable experiences with metrics…
    Favorite bread to bake is Boston Brown Bread, in the coffee cans,
    Swedish Cardamom Wreath, for Christmas morning… may have to do that one again this year – I’ve taken a few years off from it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I can only speak for myself but part of the problem with changing to metric is that I have a lifetime of memory tied up in the imperial system. When you say to me it’s 85° I know what that feels like. When you say to me it’s about a cup I know how much that is. When you say 8 inches or 12 inches I know approximately how much that is just by sight. So in order for me to go metric I would need to find a way, on a consistent basis, to have both pieces of information at the same time so that I could learn to associate Celsius with the Fahrenheit that I recognize .

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I cannot remember the exact plot but in one of the Issac Asimov Mysteries an extremely valuable chemical formula is lost when the dying scientist fails to indicate the temperature at which it will work: C or F? He was heard saying, “it doesn’t matter”.
    Why wouldn’t it matter? Because at minus 40 Centigrade and Fahrenheit are the same.

    Liked by 5 people

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