How Do You Measure Up?

The book that should be on every kitchen bookshelf

There are cookbooks to cater for every taste and culinary ability and you can download just about any recipe with a click of the mouse.  Unusually,  this incredibly useful handbook by Shirley Bond, doesn’t include any actual recipes but it certainly solves a whole lot of cooking conundrums. 

On the face of it, How Do You Measure Up? looks rather uninspiring.  There are no glossy pictures of mouth-watering recipes or domestic goddesses featured here and the many lists of facts, conversion tables and formulas are rather dull.  But don’t be put off as this is exactly the sort of information you will find you desperately need when you are trying to replicate an American or Australian recipe.  For example, what weight is a USA cup of currants? And did you know that the UK ounce is 5 grams less than its Aussie equivalent or that the UK pint is different from what is known as a pint across the pond? Having such an easy reference book to hand is very helpful when trying to recreate recipes that have been lovingly handed down through the family in old housecraft books on yellowing scraps of paper.  

Shirley covers all aspects of converting measures of food from Imperial to Metric so comprehensively that you will no longer be confounded by such tricky problems as discovering that the recipe uses cream in millilitres while Tesco’s sells it in fluid ounces. It’s true that there are conversion charts in the back of most cookbooks but these aren’t always accurate and they cannot begin to compete with the exactitude and spread of information found in How Do You Measure Up? 

Measuring food is just one of the minor kitchen problems that Shirley tackles. Equipment sizes vary too. If a recipe states ‘transfer mixture into a 1 pint basin’ how do you know if the basin you have is the right size? If the recipe states ‘cook cake mixture in a 23 cm square tin, what size is that in Imperial measures and what ingredients do you need for the same recipe made in a round tin?  And just exactly how hot is a moderate oven?  This book will answer all those questions and a whole lot more. 

When it comes to entertaining Shirley has this covered too, with advice on how to calculate the amount of food and drink you will need for each guest at parties and buffets.  She has it nailed right down to how many glasses of wine you can pour from a bottle to how many sandwiches you can make from one loaf.  So no wasted food and no wasted guests (unless, of course, you want them to be).  Plus for baking batches of cakes and pies, there are templates for working out the quantities of ingredients for all types of pastry and cake mixes in various sized dishes. 

As a lecturer in nutrition it is clear that Shirley knows a thing or two about healthy eating and good food and she goes on to share her knowledge on shopping wisely, understanding food labels and correct food storage.  The book is an absolute mine of information. 

You may have the latest glossy book from Delia or Nigella telling you how to wow friends and family with your culinary skills, but this little gem of a book is the real kitchen bible and the way to avoid domestic disasters.  Not only does Shirley tell you exactly how long the turkey will take to thaw and cook, but she also tells you how much champagne and canapés to provide to make sure your guests are satisfied and spirited rather than starving and sozzled.  Make sure you put How Do You Measure Up? on your Christmas Shopping list. 

How Do You Measure Up? By Shirley Bond is available in paperback price £7.99 (+£2.75 p & p) from

For more information about Shirley Bond and her books go to