More than a quarter of UK adults have never boiled an egg and do not know how to, fewer than a fifth have made a salad dressing and just 45% have baked a Victoria sponge cake, according to a report by Waitrose.
While more than a third of people (35%) rate themselves as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent cooks’, some 27% have never boiled an egg, a survey for the supermarket’s annual Cooking Report found.
Nearly two-fifths (39%) wish they could spend more time in the kitchen than they actually do, while one-fifth (20%) say they are entertaining more at home due to the cost-of-living crisis – although 34% now think the term ‘dinner party’ is old fashioned.
Four in 10 (40%) are happy to choose cheaper cuts of meat and more affordable ingredients to economise when entertaining and 7% will ask friends to bring a dish or course.
Meanwhile, despite the soaring popularity of air fryers, microwaves have topped a list of 24 kitchen gadgets that most adults said they could not live without.
Almost three times as many people said they could not live without their microwave as those who said the same about air fryers, at 32% and 12% respectively.
Waitrose said searches for ‘microwave meals’ were up 71% on Waitrose.com compared with the same time last year, while sales of microwaves were up 13% at John Lewis.
Martyn Lee, executive chef for Waitrose, said: “Food is a daily joy and the cost-of-living crisis has hastened a change in how we cook.
“For too long we’ve been looking down on microwaves. You can do so much more in them than heat a cup of coffee. I make a great sponge in mine. I think it’s time to remember the enjoyment we get from the anticipation of their pinging.
“When you reheat a stew, or a slice of lasagne in your microwave after the flavours have had time to develop, you enjoy what’s known as the sixth taste sensation ‘kokumi’ – which is lesser known than the other five tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.”
The survey also found 46% of people ignore the sell-by dates on packaging, 38% use the ‘five-second rule’ for picking up food that has dropped on the floor, and 16% are happy to scrape mould off food to eat or cook with it.
One-third get their ideas on what to cook from TV programmes and 5% have turned to Chat GPT for recipe inspiration.
OnePoll surveyed 4,000 UK adults between May 10-16 and May 24-30.