Preparing fresh meals with delicious ingredients is one way of improving your health and quality of life.
Eating well means consuming a balance of the right produce: from homegrown vegetables to meats which provide the proteins and nutrients we need to remain strong and live well.
There is, however, more to cooking than the ingredients and the way they’re prepared. Mealtimes spent together have a positive effect on families and are times that shouldn’t be ignored, even if your day-to-day life limits time you can spend chatting around the kitchen table.
Virginia Woolf got it spot-on when discussing the topic; she said: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
With this in mind, and because we love preparing our own meals, we’ve looked at Britain’s current culinary habits.
Thanks to The Great British Bake Off, it’s clear that baking is in the public consciousness, but what about cooking? Are we spending enough time at home preparing our own meals?
The Great British Bake Off effect
A record-breaking 13.4 million people tuned in to see Nadia’s victory in the 2015 series of The Great British Bake Off. Mary Berry cried, social media went into overdrive and the nation collectively got behind the winner as she expertly prepared a stunning showstopper. Who could forget her facial expressions as her emotions got the better of her throughout the series?
Traditionally, there has always been a surge in the sales of baking ingredients in the days and weeks before pancake day, but now there’s another peak period: the Great British Bake Off season.
The figures are there: in 2014 Tesco reported a 30 per cent rise in demand for baking decorations, and according to IRI, sales of baking products rose 62 per cent between 2007 and 2014.
Clearly we’re baking lots more than we used to. However, we’ve long had famous British culinary stars – just think about the youthful Jamie Oliver, the demanding Gordon Ramsay, the perfectionist Nigella Lawson, and the untouchably knowledgeable Rick Stein.
All do their best to bring their cooking expertise into our living rooms and inspire a nation of have-a-go chefs.
But have they had an effect? As a nation, how long do we spend cooking and have Gordon Ramsay's infamous rants motivated us into making the most of our kitchens and making meals from scratch?
How does Britain compare?
A study by market research institute GFK asked more than 27,000 people between the ages of 15 and 60 (from 22 countries) about their home cooking habits. It found that India – followed closely by Ukraine – is the nation most in love with creating meals from scratch.
On average, people from both nations spend over 13 hours per week cooking, with the third-highest being South Africa at 9.5 hours a week.
Are Italians as passionate about cooking as they’re perceived? The study found they spend an average of 7.1 hours a week cooking, which is slightly above the survey’s average of 6.7 hours.
And Britain? We are 13th, spending a below-average 5.9 hours a week in the kitchen. The study also revealed:
26 per cent of Brits are passionate about cooking
22 per cent would say they are knowledgeable
Women spend more time cooking than men
Thanks to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, we might be baking more, but we are still behind other nations with regards to cooking.
Has our culture changed so much that rigid mealtimes aren’t relevant anymore, with many of us happy to eat out at a restaurant or sit in front of the TV with a microwave meal?
We’re interested to know how much time you spend preparing delicious homemade meals in your kitchen each week. Is it more or less than the British average? Do the figures above surprise you?
Do you buck the trend and cook more than the average Brit?
Why not like our page on Facebook and let us know if your culinary habits mean you have more in common with the people of India, South Korea or – like your fellow Brits – you’re somewhere in the middle!Image courtesy of Ian Barbour.