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Women finally become ‘perfect cooks’ at the grand old age of 55, it has been revealed. A new study shows that by her fifties, the average woman has become proficient at throwing random ingredients together to make something delicious, and has the confidence to host a dinner party for 12.
Indeed, by this age, women are rustling up more than 15 meals on a regular basis – to include chicken casserole, steak and kidney pie and seafood linguine – all cooked from scratch.
Soggy broccoli, tough beef, runny gravy and limp carrots are also firmly OFF the menu by the time a woman reaches 55, as she masters the art of cooking foods for the perfect length of time.
Being able to differentiate between herbs, getting all elements of a roast dinner ready at the same time and rescuing a meal from going wrong are all signs of a perfect cook.
Helen Nunn, Head of Marketing at The Co-operative Food, which conducted the study of 1,000 women, said:
“It stands to reason that it takes time to master cookery, and confidence comes with age.
“And there is some truth in the fact that you learn from your mistakes – so women need to endure dinner disasters and mishaps in the kitchen before getting everything spot on.
“The real sign of a good cook is one who doesn’t panic when things do go wrong, instead finding a solution to the problem or even admitting to those she is cooking for that dinner has gone horribly wrong!”
The study shows 85% of women aged 55 and over can confidently cook eggs without breaking the yolk on fried eggs or leaving eggs to boil for too long.
Eight in 10 women of this age group can happily make a tasty meal from next to nothing, and 55% know exactly what herbs to put with which meats to bring out the best flavours.
When it comes to kitchen gadgetry, women in their fifties have clearly mastered the art of technology.
A third use a slow cooker when they don’t have time to cook, eight in 10 know what every dial on the oven does and a third make frequent use of the food processor.
Two thirds of 55-year-olds can confidently cook bread from scratch, a fifth can home-make pasta, and a third can make ice cream without instruction.
Although there is no shame in using pre-prepared sauces, half of women in the older age group always make sauces from the raw ingredients.
Half of those over 55 often use recipes for meals because they are assured they can achieve the dish in the picture, while a quarter will think nothing of replicating celebrity inspired meals.
When it comes to baking, women in their fifties are more likely to throw in all the ingredients using guesswork compared to other age groups.
Indeed, 75% of women aged 55 and over bake regularly, and are a dab hand at churning out Victoria sponges, lemon drizzle cake, shortbread and flapjacks.
When asked about their cooking milestones, the average woman in her fifties admitted she hosted her first ever dinner party at the age of 26.
The average woman cooked her first roast dinner at 23, a romantic meal for a partner at 23 and her first cake at 21 (and for these plucky cooks, the majority cooked their very first Christmas dinner for the whole family at age 27).
Unsurprisingly, eight in 10 women aged 55 and over consider themselves to be proficient cooks.
Helen Nunn added:
“Although we reach cookery perfection in our fifties, it’s interesting to note that most women reach their big ‘milestones’ on their culinary journey in their twenties, with the majority of respondents saying that they hosted their first dinner party, Christmas dinner and romantic meal for two in their twenties.”
THE PERFECT COOK CAN
Make gravy so that it is not runny
Can cook fried eggs without breaking the yolk
Can cook the perfect boiled egg
Cook beef until it’s not tender not tough
Cook carrots until they are aldente rather than soggy
Cook broccoli which isn’t mushy
Can rustle up more than 15 ‘regular’ dishes
Can throw random ingredients together to make something delicious
Is confident about throwing dinner parties for 12
Know what herbs compliment meat
Can differentiate between herbs
Can get all elements of a roast dinner ready at the same time
Can rescue a meal which looks like it is going wrong
Can cook bread from scratch
Cooks sauces from scratch rather than using jarred alternatives
Can make ice cream from scratch
Can make pasta from scratch
Happy to replicate celebrity recipes
Throw ingredients in without weighing when baking
Bake cakes such as Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle cake regularly