20 February 2013

How Many Gills is That?

As I've mentioned before, I've got a thing about old cookbooks; one of my prized possessions is one. When my grandfather died, I was lucky enough to inherit a cookbook that had belonged to my great-grandmother. Published in 1910, Ogilvie's Book for a Cook cautions against using flour that is inferior to their "Royal Household" blend. Now, I'm fussy about my flours but if they still made this one, I'd be buying it. Apparently Ogilvie's was, by royal warrant, the flour millers to HRH George V, Prince of Wales. Fancy flour kinda makes me all hot and bothered.

The Ogilvie Flour Mills Company, Limited of Montreal, in accordance with the Department of Agriculture, Ottawa

Anyway, near the back of this book is an old-timey weights and measurements table. And since we are also fans of Archer in this household, it caught my eye. Why? Because frequently, the characters refer to the amount of blood they have lost in "gills".

Which, first of all, who uses "gills" as a measurement anymore, and secondly, always prompts the follow up question, "Imperial or metric?". I can honestly now say I know what a "gill" is. And more importantly, apply it in my daily use as a way to determine amount of blood loss. For your own reference, to print and put on the fridge, or keep in your wallet in case of blood-related emergencies, please see chart below.

As you can see, 4 gills is equal to a pint. 8 pints is a quart. This is perfect for measuring blood. And alcohol, now that I think about it.
So there you go. A new random fun fact to pull out when you're trying to impress someone at a bar or make the nurses at the hospital laugh, whatever floats your boat. As for me, I'll just have you know that I gave 1 gill of blood this morning to the lab across the road, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want it back when they were done. I will, however, take the 4 ounces back in a substitute form of liquid, one that preferably involves sugar or fermentation. Not unlike Sterling Archer.


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