The original title of this post was "Why do people still use cups and spoons to measure?" but I didn't want to antagonize anyone because you know, people can be sensitive.
Before I dive into the post, I just want to say something about how I sew. I was born and bred in Singapore and we use the metric system, as in m, cm, kg, g, km, m. But I sew in inches. You want to know why? When I first started learning to make pouches and bags, I used tutorials written by bloggers who sewed in inches. Here in Singapore, our rulers and measuring tapes have both cm and inches. I could easily have converted inches to cm and go from there but I got used to sewing in inches. But mostly what I liked about an inch is it is cleverly divided into eighths. I could eyeball 1/8th of an inch, 1/4 of an inch, 1/2 an inch and one inch. The eye understands it. Now for the metric system. One inch is about 2.5cm. Each cm is divided into 10 units. I can't for the life of me eyeball 0.1cm. Not that I ever need to. A seam allowance is usually 1cm. I could eyeball that but 1/4 of an inch is roughly 0.6cm. Now that I simply cannot "see". I'm now far too gone to ever go back to sewing in cm.
So why am I telling you all these? What I'm trying to say is I'm not a metric snob and I can be pretty flexible. But when it comes to baking...
When I first started baking many years ago after I had my kids, I used recipes from cook books or the internet. Almost all of these recipes have measurements in cups and teaspoons and tablespoons. I won't even go into "sticks" and other funny terms. Anyway, I attribute my failure in baking in those early years to these (in my opinion) inaccurate way of measurement.
Not only are there different types of cups (I discovered later), there are different ways to measure a cup. Do you bang on the cup, do you get a compact amount, do you use a knife to level the cup? Same goes for teaspoon and tablespoon. And sometimes the instructions say to sift the flour TWICE.
As you know I attended baking school since October and what I learnt at the school has forever changed the way I bake. The most important thing I learnt is how to measure your ingredients. Everything is weighed. I mean everything. Even 1 gram.
With weighing scales, there is no need to sift flour more than once because a once, twice or thrice sifted flour weighs exactly the same. And what a relief there's no need to scoop flour in any specific manner. You also don't need to know how much a stick of butter is. Everything is precise.
I believe many home bakers use cup/tablespoon/teaspoon successfully and I'm not trying to convert anyone into switching to scales. In fact I do believe there are many, many bakers who would never entertain the idea of using scales. I respect that. I just want to share that for me at least, my baking improved tremendously after I switched to scales. Nowadays when I use any recipe that uses cups, I actually convert it to grams because you know, as far as baking is concerned, I'm a scale snob. Sometimes I refer to this to do my conversion. There are different conversion rates in the internet so it's pretty confusing. If only there's a fixed standard, how much lovelier the world will be.