Friday, September 30, 2011

Tomato paste

The conversion goblin has struck again!

During the two hours it took me to get Lauris and myself ready and out of the house yesterday, I did once think “maybe I ought to convert those quantities,” but since it did take us two hours to get out of the apartment, I shrugged off the thought and we headed to the store.

I had popped over to google translate to find the French words for several of the spices and ingredients I needed, and found almost everything I had on my list. Still missing the baking soda and baking powder; I will have to ask one of my French friends what they are called, I believe the translations I wrote down may be literal.

The main goal was to pick up the ingredients for lasagna, and as I’ve made this particular recipe a few times before, I thought I would be able to get the correct quantities of everything between quick mental conversions and visual guess-timates.

1 pound = 16 ounces = ~ 450 grams

Maybe I should get a tattoo.

Fast forward to dinnertime, and to a lasagna that doesn’t hold a candle to the frozen ones that require 1/10th of the effort. I ended up with half the required ricotta and double the amount of tomato sauce. I didn’t even use all the tomato paste I came home with, but I think the problem lies in the lack of crushed tomatoes. Since I hadn’t translated “crushed” I went by pictures, and figured a large can with pictures of chunky looking tomatoes on the label would be it. Turns out, tomato paste comes in all shapes and sizes; the box I bought thinking it was tomato paste is in fact tomato paste but is in a tube, what I believed to be an unseasoned tomato sauce is tomato paste, and the “chunky tomato label can” was… tomato paste. And the labels all say something different!

Sorry honey, I won’t serve you tomato paste for dinner again… well, after tonight’s leftovers, that is.

Lauris is toad-ing a fine line at the Jardin Lecoq


  1. Too funny, I can't tell you how often this happens to me! In case you are still wondering baking soda - bicarbonate digestif and you find it with the spices and salt and baking powder - levure chimique or levure anglais (it comes in little envelopes/packets) and you find it with the baking stuff...but be careful because it's always next to the levure boulganger which is regular yeast (I've made that mistake before too)! ;)

  2. Oh, bless your heart. I can't even imagine what trips to the grocery store must be like in another country. I don't even go here in the US - my hubby loves to do it. I think you might be onto something with the tattoo though. hehehe

  3. So -- it DEFINITELY seems that there is a niche to be filled - a "magasin spécialisé" catering to expats searching for all those items from "home" not available locally, and/or advice on using/substituting what IS available! Plain Cheerios, dark chocolate Reese's PB cups, white eggs... any investors interested?

  4. Well, most of these products are available... from expat shipping companies that charge outrageous fees. I just read Lucky Charms are going for 14 dollars at one UK specialty store. And there are several blogs I use to figure out substitutions/translations. Eventually products do make their way over, such as cream cheese, but for the others (anything containing peanut butter) we are able to survive between US visits.


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