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The average adult is a ‘kitchen klutz’, struggling to cook a string of simple dishes such as cheese on toast, jacket potatoes and spaghetti bolognese, according to a new report. Researchers, who carried out a detailed study into the culinary skills of 2,000 adults aged 18 to 65, found a large percentage lack basic knowledge.
The results show beans on toast is too complicated for one in ten, while a further 26% have no idea how to rustle up a tasty tuna sandwich.
The Visit Birmingham study also showed one fifth of Brits haven’t a clue how to cook bangers and mash.
One in three can’t cook a pasta bake and 41% wouldn’t know where to start with baking a cake.
Other dishes considered ridiculously complicated by the majority of people include beef wellington, coq au vin and moussaka.
Four in ten wouldn’t tackle a recipe for homemade soup, 28% couldn’t put together a stir fry and 71% are baffled by a pie.
Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, which conducted the study to launch its ‘Birmingyum’ campaign to promote the city’s burgeoning culinary scene, commented:
”We set out to explore which common dishes have been mastered by the average cook and which ones still elude us.
”It seems we have a number of set meals we are comfortable cooking day in and day out but instead of expanding this repertoire we eat out at restaurants to try something a bit different.”
The detailed report – which looks into the extent to which we broaden out culinary horizons over our lifetime – suggests that nine out of 10 people will have mastered beans on toast by the tender age of 15.
And for those people who ARE a dab hand in the kitchen, most will have learnt to cook Spaghetti Bolognese by age 21, a jacket potato by 18 and a casserole by 24.
The 72% who can cook a traditional British roast will have learnt to do so by age 24.
While the eight in 10 people who confidently knock up bangers and mash will master the dish by 20, and those who can cook chili con carnie will have perfected the meal by 24.
It also emerged 22% of people will be able to cook a paella from scratch by age 26 and 29% will be able to prepare enchiladas by 27.
However, more complicated dishes take years to learn with favourites such as steak and ale pie, paella, and beef wellington above and beyond the cooking abilities of much of the population – with 71%, 78% and 83% respectively unable to cook these dishes.
And a fifth of people are embarrassed that they can’t cook more meals, while 32% are hoping their cooking expertise grows with age.
Emma Gray from Visit Birmingham added:
”Eating out is part of our culture these days, but it is important we don’t lose touch with the simple pleasures of cooking a meal from scratch.
”In Birmingham, we are home to a diverse range of local producers, from ethnic food manufacturers to leading cider makers, providing the right ingredients to help people get creative with their cooking at home.”
Visit Birmingham’s research also looked at the ages by which British adults finally accomplish different dishes, with a number of simple meals taking us years to get the hang of.
As a result, it has created a cooking age calculator on the Visit Birmingham website so members of the public can see if they have the cooking talents of a novice teenager or a seasoned middle-aged pro.
BREAKDOWN OF RESULTS
|Dish||% of adults who still can’t cook||Age dish is ‘mastered’|
|Beans on Toast||8%||15|
|Cheese on Toast||9%||15|
|Bangers and Mash||19%||20|
|Toad in the Hole||51%||22|
|Chilli con Carne||41%||24|
|Coq au Vin||72%||25|
|Fish and Chips||36%||22|
|Steak and Ale pie||71%||25|
|Baking a cake||41%||19|