Culinary creations and “International English”

This content is 12 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

As a bit of a foodie, I’ve always enjoyed creating meals although, if I’m perfectly honest, I normally do the “glory cooking” when we’re entertaining friends, and my wife looks after much of the everyday food preparation.

Right now, Mrs W. is very busy in her work (for which I’m very grateful – freelancers need to “make hay whilst the sun shines”!) and that means that I need to pick up a few more tasks around the house. Combined with my need to eat healthily and carefully count calories (I still have another 5kg to lose before the end of March) I’m currently taking on most of the responsibility for our meals, spending a good chunk of the last two weekends in the kitchen, with a good share of my culinary creations heading towards the freezer for use as ready meals.

I’m no Masterchef contender, but my food generally seems to go down well, and it’s good to try something different from time to time. Last weekend, I was creating a Spanish-inspired meal for friends and I decided to make Crema Catalana for desert.  The recipe I followed is pretty simple but I found myself thrown by two things:

  1. “Cups” of ingredients (give me grammes, or even pounds and ounces).
  2. Strange terms like cornstarch (could that be cornflour?)

I finally found a use for a kitchen computer as, with a little help from my smartphone, I had determined that quantity in a “cup” depends on the product. There’s a handy reference at So that was number 1 sorted. As for 2., well, yes “cornstarch” is what we, in England, call “cornflour” and there’s a useful Wikipedia entry on “International English” food terms.

[English is the language spoken by (most) people in England and adopted by many other nations. Some of the variations even make sense (color instead of colour, for example) but I speak, read and write English – and find the term “International English” to be nonsensical. There is English, and there is American, Australian, etc. I know that languages constantly evolve, but… OK, I’ll come down off my soapbox now.]

My time in the kitchen is not normally a topic for this blog but I thought these references might be useful for others. As well as for me, next time I’m confused by a recipe written in “International English”.

2 thoughts on “Culinary creations and “International English”

  1. A Cup is more a measure of volume – 250ml is standard. Weight of flour in a cup would be different of course than of water.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.