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In the United States, butter is generally sold in a one pound package, which contains four individually wrapped equal sticks. The wrapper on each stick is marked to show tablespoons, so the cook can cut the stick according to the quantity required.

Butter and margarine are also sold in a variety of plastic tubs. A common product used to grease baking pans is called “Crisco shortening”. Baking sprays with different flavours are also sold in the baking aisles of the grocery stores.


American eggs are usually washed, which is why you must store them in your refrigerator rather than at room temperature. For reference, the equivalents are approximately:

extra large egg = size 2 (65g)

large egg = size 3 or 4 (60-55g)

medium egg = size 5 (50g)

Milk and Cream

Milk can be found in an initially bewildering assortment of low and high fat and vitamin added combinations. It’s best to try a number of options until you find the right one for you.  Double cream is called ‘heavy cream’ here; a creme fraiche equivalent is ‘sour cream’.  Only cream that is specifically denoted “whipping cream” will whip.


Meat is sold very fresh, so that when cooked it loses a lot of liquid and shrinks. When calculating quantities, it is a good idea to allow for this shrinkage by adding 3 or 4 ounces for each pound of meat.


American all purpose flour is milled from a mixture of hard and soft wheats, and a near equivalent would be half British plain flour, and half strong bread flour.  A variety of flours and bread flours (as well as a host of other grains, berries, herbs, spices etc) can be found at the Heritage Natural Market, 984 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach.

Yeast and Gelatines (Gelatins)

These are usually sold in small envelopes or packages. Yeast is measured by the package; dry, unflavoured gelatine by the envelope. Each is equal to 7g or ¼oz, equivalent to a scant tablespoon.  The strength of gelatine is very different to its European equivalent; experiment with the family before serving favourite dishes at a dinner party!

Wines and Spirits

Some supermarkets sell wines and beers (on production of photo ID) but spirits need to be bought elsewhere.  The Red Barn, Norfolk Naval Base is available to mess members, Total Wine at Hilltop has a good variety with knowledgeable staff, or they can be bought at liquor stores such as ABC.