They say don't knock something until you've tried it. Yet regardless, for many years I snubbed the idea of using US measuring cups when it came to cooking up kitchen creations. It meant interesting recipes that stated quantities in cups were quickly disregarded by me, since the conversions I needed to make seemed too complicated.
"It's just so stupid!" I would say, dismissing the measuring cup as a wholly innaccurate method of putting together any cake or savoury dish. I thought that the British weighing scales and measuring jugs that I was so familiar with were a much more, dare I say, evolved way of dealing with the quantities for a recipe.
After all, it seemed too simplistic and 'play school' to be able to work properly. Using a half cup of liquid, instead of 125ml? Then adding 2 cups of flour instead of weighing PRECISELY the amount needed on the scales?
And then I bought an American cookbook, Veganomicon, which I loved, and of course, the book used cups. If I was to be able to cook anything properly from this book, without spending hours fathoming the conversions, I would have to get a set of cups for myself.
So my good friend from NYC brought me a set back from the US after her trip home. And guess what? I bloody love them.
First off, they are so easy to use. I was right about them being very play school, but that's a good thing. Why wouldn't it be? Anything that makes cooking simpler and more of a joy to do is better!
And they are far less fiddly and time-consuming than measuring scales - the idea now of having to cook according to a British recipe, with measurements, makes me baulk.
But the main thing - they are actually more precise! It's harder to go wrong with cup of flour as opposed to 200 grams of flour on scales that read differently everytime you use them. Scales are actually far from accurate, however much I wanted to kid myself. Unless your weighing scales are super-techno-robotic (which mine are not), chances are everytime you weigh out what you think is 200g of flour, you'll have a totally different amount.
But one cup of flour, levelled off with a knife, the same amount every single time you measure it? How can you go wrong with that?
So - with the discovery of American measuring cups, I've actually found a new joy for baking and cooking that I never knew I had. And you'll see that I'm going to be posting a huge amount of recipes here soon, so expect the majority of them to be in US measuring cups. It's how I put my own recipes together now.
After Surfer Rosa by the Pixies, measuring cups are definitely the best thing to come to me from America. I'm in awe of their practical simplicity.
If you want to buy your own for recipes, you can easily find Amercian measuring cups on Amazon, such as this set from Tala. Or get yourself a fab friend in America who will bring them to you...