Do culinary television programs influence the way people cook at home?

A recent study of 2,000 British citizens conducted by Rachel’s Organic, a dairy manufacturer in Britain, found that television programming dedicated to the culinary arts influences the way many Brits are approaching the kitchen. The results of this study found that many home cooks were particularly confident in their ability to innovate meals without instruction, as 31 percent of participants claimed to not follow recipes and instead add their own elements to a specific dish. The study also found that 72 percent of those aged 25-34 are especially confident in their cooking abilities. Furthermore, over 50 percent of those interviewed believed they had the ability to create a quality dish with a list of random ingredients, a challenge often implemented on TV cooking shows.

Culinary television challenges
Though the study focused on British television programming, asking participants if they were influenced by shows such as “Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals” and “Great British Bake Off,” similar shows in the United States, including “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” have also altered the way many people cook at home. The study by Rachel’s Organic found that Brits are also spending more time cooking, on average 49 minutes per meal. Perhaps what is most interesting about these results is the competition aspect of most of the influential programming. Even the most influential show, “Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals,” has a time element that seems inherently competitive. However, for the average home cook, making a meal in such a small amount of time is no easy feat.

The study further suggested that a quarter of British home cooks have baked their own bread within the last year. Learning to bake bread can be challenging, although a great avenue for learning this skill is to simply take a baking program online.

Contradictory studies
While Rachel’s found that Brits are spending more time in the kitchen, other studies have in fact suggested the opposite. A recent study of 4,000 Brits found that people spend half as much time in the kitchen as they did in the 1980s, and that traditional meals are increasingly being substituted for sandwiches and frozen dinners. The study found the average home cook in Britain only spends an average of 34 minutes cooking a meal, a full quarter of an hour less than the study by Rachel’s. It has been speculated this decrease is due to busier lifestyles.

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