A new study released this week shows that Americans like to cook, but age and gender play a factor in who loves to spend more time in the kitchen-- also a factor, the definition of cooking itself.
According to a new poll released this week by Harris Interactive, four in five U.S. adults said they enjoyed cooking and three in ten said that they loved it. That's compared to only 14 percent saying that they do not enjoy cooking and seven percent said that they didn't cook at all.
The study also raises the question if people have changed the definition of cooking. Three-quarters of those who prepare meals at home say they very often or occasionally will use pre-prepped and/or frozen ingredients and kitchen appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens to both speed up the process and clean-up involved.
The study did not break down the frequency frozen dinners and microwaves were used by people who cook.
Certain groups love cooking more than others and researchers believe that time may be a key factor for who cooks. A third of people 65 and older love cooking, compared to 28 percent of baby boomers-- people aged 46 to 64 years old.
Men are also more likely to say that they love cooking, 32 percent versus 28 percent of women. Pollsters suggest that this is the case because the daily chore of cooking may not fall on men's shoulders as frequently.
No matter what your age or gender, we are spending time in the kitchen. Twenty percent say they prepare meals at home five or more times a week and three in ten do so three to four times a week. That's compared to 11 percent saying they rarely or never prepare meals at home.
There is a generational difference in the frequency of preparing meals at home. A little more than half of seniors cook at home five or more times per week, yet younger Americans do so with less frequency--just 33 percent of people aged 18 to 33 cook at home five or more times per week.
When younger adults are cooking at home, just over one in five say they often cook only for themselves, while three-quarters often cook for their family and 22 percent often cook for friends.
The study found that Americans are not experimenting much in the kitchen. Among those who prepare meals at home, a little more than 80 percent say they mostly cook what they are familiar with.
When people chose to look for inspiration, a little more than 20 percent of people who say they cook say they very often look for and use recipes to try new foods and techniques. One in five say they often gain inspiration from food-related articles, online postings and cooking shows, but do not follow their recipes exactly.
The Harris Poll surveyed 2,503 adults online between May 10 and 17, 2010.