Can't Cook, Won't Cook

British adults can’t cook a string of basic dishes such as cheese on toast, a jacket potato, spaghetti Bolognese or a roast dinner, according to new research by Visit Birmingham. #Birmingyum

 

Researchers found that even beans on toast proves too complicated for one in 10 people, while a further 26 per cent have no idea how to concoct a tuna sandwich.

The report was commissioned by Visit Birmingham to highlight how the nation is choosing restaurants over their kitchens, and to encourage them to pick up their pans and experiment with local produce.

The study of 2,000 people aged 18 to 65 showed that a fifth haven’t a clue how to cook bangers and mash, while 36 per cent can’t even serve up fish and chips. What’s more, 35 per cent don’t know how to cook pasta bake and 41 per cent wouldn’t know where to start when baking a cake.

Incredibly, the poll suggests that nine per cent of adults wouldn’t be able to cook themselves something as simple as cheese on toast.

Other dishes considered ridiculously complicated by the majority of people include beef wellington, coq au vin and moussaka. Meanwhile, four in 10 wouldn’t tackle a recipe for homemade soup, 28 per cent couldn’t put together a stir fry and 71 per cent are baffled by a pie.

Visit Birmingham has recently launched its ‘Birmingyum’ campaign to promote the city’s burgeoning culinary scene which offers everything from street food to fine dining, and artisan produce to ‘grow your own’ courses. In fact, Birmingham has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other English city outside of London and the largest number of allotments of any UK city – reflecting the growing interest in where our food comes from.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, 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.”

Glynn Purnell, the Michelin starred chef and TV star based in Birmingham, said: “With so many restaurants and cuisines on our doorsteps, it’s not surprising that people are opting to eat out rather than learning to cook new dishes at home.

“Restaurants are vital in broadening our food knowledge and experience, showing us how different textures and flavours go together and introducing us to new dishes – in Birmingham city centre alone there are cuisines from some 30 countries on offer.”

Findings show that most Brits will have learnt to cook beans on toast by age 15, a jacket potato by 18, spaghetti Bolognese by 21 and a casserole by 24. 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 (71%, 78% and 83% respectively cannot cook these dishes).

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.

The 72 per cent who can cook a traditional British roast will have learnt to do so by age 24, yet despite the lack of skill in the kitchen, eight out of 10 (81%) are not embarrassed that they can’t cook.

Gray continued: “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.”

To find out more about Visit Birmingham, recipes and cooking tips from local chefs, and to try the cooking age calculator, visit www.visitbirmingham.com/cookingcalculator.

 

BREAKDOWN OF RESULTS

MEAL

% of adults who can't cook these dishes

Age when dish is mastered

 

 

 

Beans on toast

8%

15

Cheese on toast

9%

15

Tuna sandwich

26%

15

Jacket potato

14%

18

Baking a cake

41%

19

Bangers and mash

19%

20

Spaghetti Bolognese

24%

21

Toad in the hole

51%

22

Fish and chips

36%

22

Cottage pie

33%

23

Pasta bake

35%

23

Lasagne

42%

24

Chili con carne

41%

24

Roast dinner

28%

24

Casserole

37%

24

Curry

36%

25

Coq au vin

72%

25

Steak and ale pie

71%

25

Homemade soup

39%

25

Stir fry

28%

25

Paella

78%

26

Beef Wellington

83%

26

Enchiladas

71%

27

Moussaka

79%

27

Lamb shanks

68%

28

 

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