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Conversing in Converstions: Metric System 101

11 Oct

One thing that is vital when cooking is understanding food measurements. Whether you’re reading a foreign recipe or buying deli meats and cheeses at the market, a lesson in conversion is pretty helpful. This blog post would have seriously come in handy for me last year when I was studying abroad.

While studying in Montreal, my friends and I decided to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, and I was left with the task of cooking the turkey (probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever cooked before).

Oh Canada!

When I went to the grocery store, I had come thinking I need a 14 pound turkey to serve everyone. I was surprised to find that I could not buy things in pounds—thanks to America’s alternative to the metric system—but I had to figure out 14 pounds in kilograms. Needless to say, I was lost.

I asked a man behind the butcher counter if he could tell me the conversion, but he responded something in Quebecois French that I could not decipher, and then proceeded to show me a pork leg.

“No,” I said. “Nevermind.”

I called my Dad, who was on the road , if he knew the conversion and that was another deadend.

“Maybe you should call your mother on this one,” he suggested.

So I called my mom, who was just home from work, so she was a little on edge as she settled back into my chaotic house. “Mom, I am at the grocery store, and I have no clue how big I should get my turkey. Can you look up the conversion online for me?”

She searched on my home computer conversion charts for pound to kilo and found all kinds of numbers and equations to help solve my turkey problem. “I think you multiple .45 to whatever the poundage is, or maybe it’s division. Wait a sec this website says something about ounces. Are there ounces on the a label?”

The overload of multiple kinds of information was not helpful. I ended up just picking up four or five turkeys and just guessing.

Though when it came time to cook the turkey, it was a lot more hassle not knowing the weight of the bird. If you’ve ever cooked a turkey you know that for every four pounds of poultry, you cook it for about an hour and a half. I had no idea what the size of my turkey was except for the not-so-exact measurement: big.

So confusing!

To make matters worse, the turkey cooking instructions were in Celsius. Kill me now was all I could think.

In the end, the turkey came out amazing thanks to a lot of patience, intuition, and the motivating smells of deliciousness.

To make it easier on all you studying abroad, however, I’ve included a link to a website that explains and calculates conversion way better than I ever could.

http://www.france-property-and-information.com/metric_conversion_table.htm

http://www.calcul.com/cooking-conversion

Why America? Why?

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Vegan Meals and Community in Montreal

21 Mar

Montreal offers a diverse array of restaurants for all tastes and preferences. One student recently pointed out two unique and delicious (and cheap!) spots for warm meals and great company.

Rabit Hole Cafe:
The Rabbit Hole Café is a safe haven where students living in Montreal can go to enjoy a delicious, warm meal and some great company on a Friday afternoon. From 12:30 to 3:30 pm, Rabbit Hole Cafe opens its doors to invite students to eat a scrumptious 3-course vegan meal for just two dollars (and washing your dishes after)! All the proceeds go directly into sustaining the program. We will not turn away students who cannot pay the suggested donation. (The last time I was there, they had a chocolate chip cookie with an oreo baked inside.)

Midnight Kitchen
The Midnight Kitchen is a non-profit, volunteer and worker run food collective dedicated to providing affordable, healthy food to as many people as possible. Based out of McGill University in Montreal, QC we provide free/by donation vegan lunches 5 days a week, Monday through Friday, at 12:30 in the Shatner building on McGill campus.

Another locations for connecting with food and community:
The People’s Potato
The People’s Potato is a vegan soup kitchen at Concordia University – a student initiated project. We offer by donation meals each day of the week during the Fall and Winter semesters. We serve more than 400 meals daily to students, community members with the help of our dedicated volunteers. We are committed to educating about healthy cooking and food politics and to broader goals of social and environmental justice.
Contact us: 514-848-2424 x7590 email: peoplespotato@gmail.com
Address: 1455 de Maisonneuve west, H-733, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8

The IGA and Provigo

5 Nov

The two grocery stores we use the most in Montreal are the IGA and Provigo. They’re both about a five minute walk from the UQAM dorms and are both fully fledged grocery stores. We all had our different opinions on which one we preferred and which was better for different kinds of groceries. The best way for you to find out, of course, is just to try them both. Here’s my little heads-up and summary of them. Continue reading

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