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Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:04 AM
#1
Original Poster

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874

I hate to confess this, but we didn't order meat or cheese from the deli in grocery stores in Italy because we didn't know how much we needed in kilograms.

I found an on-line conversion chart, so now I know that a pound of meat or cheese is .4535 kg, a half pound is .226 and a quarter pound is .113. Darn...I was hoping it would go the other way, so I could just hold up two fingers or something when ordering.

I'd love to be able to sample cured meats in Barcelona, but my Spanish is bad, and my Catalan is non-existent. Are there some common words to use when ordering, e.g. a half or a quarter kilo, or am I better off just writing down the amount I need?
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:17 AM
#2

Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
You might be better off if you expressed those less-than-one-Kilo weights in terms of GRAMS (such as that 113 which equals about a 1/4 pound).

1000 Grams = one Kilo = 2.2 pounds
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:22 AM
#3

Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
you can also order by the slice (loncha).

dos lonchas gordas, tres lonchas FINAS.. and they weigh it.

that is what i do when calculating exact sandwiches for a party.

gordas/finas/muy finas, muy gordas
thick/thin
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:24 AM
#4

Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,568
If you can remember that 500kg is a bit more than a pound, you should be able to go from there. I've always used that as my guide and have had no trouble -- you know the numbers 1-10 and 100 in the local language so you are all set.
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:34 AM
#5

Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
500KG is a LOT more than a pound...you must mean 500 GRAMS
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:39 AM
#6

Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,326
Or just go to a supermarket where meat and cheese are sold pre-packed!
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:44 AM
#7
Original Poster

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Thanks, everyone. Alec, that's what we did in Italy and that's what I want to avoid in Spain. Our choices were quite limited because we were metric impaired.
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:48 AM
#8

Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Which begs the question - are you metric impaired, or simply math challenged? If the latter, then I suggest investing \$2 in a pocket calculator. Maybe one with metric conversions printed on the back?
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:50 AM
#9

Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,568
Thanks, Dukey, for catching my typo. Of course if you just say "two hundred" the vendor will know that you mean grams and won't give you that many kilos.
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:55 AM
#10
Original Poster

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Robespierre, the issue is knowing how to say what I want...do I say a half a kilogram, or 500 grams? Which is more common? How should I order so that I am most likely to get what I want (e.g. writing it down?)....I sure don't want to get 500 kg when I meant 500 grams!
Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:58 AM
#11

Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Occasionally (perhaps more often in restaurants, referring to the price of a steak, or a lobster), you might see "per etto", referring to "ettogrammi" (hectograms, in English), so, in a deli... 1, 2, 3 or 4 "etto" is slightly under under 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or a full pound.

And as indicated above, pointing, and saying "cento, due centi, tre centi", etc., is pretty unambiguous - - since grams is the only unit that makes sense when pointing at a 8 kg ham.

Best wishes,

Rex
Jan 22nd, 2007, 07:00 AM
#12

Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
What Rex said.

If the language is the issue, then calculate what you want and round it up to the nearest convenient number. Then show the calculator to the vendor.

For example, if you're buying an expensive spice* and the answer is 84g., then round up to 100g. For cheese, maybe the nearest 250g (about ½ lb.).

* Did you know that saffron is the most expensive item in most grocery stores (on a \$/pound basis)? It's typically in the range of \$2-3 for 1/8 of an ounce.
Jan 22nd, 2007, 11:50 AM
#13

Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,166
Hi MP
>do I say a half a kilogram, or 500 grams?

If you want about 2 oz of something, on a piece of paper write "50 gram", 4 oz is "100 gram", etc.

Jan 22nd, 2007, 11:52 AM
#14
Original Poster

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Okay, now I'm going to really show my ignorance, but are the words "gram" and "kilogram" the same in all western European languages?
Jan 22nd, 2007, 11:58 AM
#15

Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Yes, a kilogram is the same weight around the world. Same with a gram.
Jan 22nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
#16

Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
I think mp was asking about the terminology. I don't have a definitive answer, but in French and German, the words are cognate with English.
Jan 22nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
#17
Original Poster

Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Not the weight - the word. Is the Spanish word for "kilogram" still "kilogram"?
Jan 22nd, 2007, 12:01 PM
#18

Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,385
A friend of mine tells a funny story about this. While traveling in Germany as an 18 year old, he and his friend went in to order at a deli counter. They both were large boys with very healthy appetites, so they ordered "zwei gram" of lunch meat, hoping that it wouldn't be TOO much. The counter attendant just about fell over laughing - and tried to explain that two grams would be about two specks!
Jan 22nd, 2007, 12:12 PM
#19

Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
German is Kilogramm ;-)
Jan 22nd, 2007, 12:17 PM
#20

Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Fun things one can find online:

Italian: grammo
Greek: γραμμάριο
French: gramme
German: Gramm
Portugese: grama
Spanish: gramo
Russian: грамм
etc...

But I am pretty sure you won't have problem at any store, saying "gram"!