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One in four adults in UK have never boiled an egg, survey reveals

Waitrose Cooking Report also found 38 per cent use the ‘five-second rule’ for picking up food off the floor and 16 per cent are happy to scrape mould off food

Josie Clarke
Thursday 06 July 2023 07:54 BST
Waitrose has released the findings of a survey suggesting that more than a quarter of UK adults have never boiled an egg (PA)
Waitrose has released the findings of a survey suggesting that more than a quarter of UK adults have never boiled an egg (PA)

More than a quarter of UK adults have never boiled an egg and do not know how to, fewer than a fifth have made a salad dressing and just 45 per cent have baked a Victoria sponge cake, according to a report by Waitrose.

While more than a third of people (35 per cent) rate themselves as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent cooks’, some 27 per cent have never boiled an egg, a survey for the supermarket’s annual Cooking Report found.

Nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) wish they could spend more time in the kitchen than they actually do, while one-fifth (20 per cent) say they are entertaining more at home due to the cost-of-living crisis – although 34 per cent now think the term ‘dinner party’ is old fashioned.

Four in 10 (40 per cent) are happy to choose cheaper cuts of meat and more affordable ingredients to economise when entertaining and seven per cent will ask friends to bring a dish or course.

Meanwhile, despite the soaring popularity of air fryers, microwaves have topped a list of 24 kitchen gadgets that most adults said they could not live without.

Almost three times as many people said they could not live without their microwave as those who said the same about air fryers, at 32 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Waitrose said searches for ‘microwave meals’ were up 71 per cent on waitrose.com compared with the same time last year, while sales of microwaves were up 13 per cent at John Lewis.

Martyn Lee, executive chef for Waitrose, said: “Food is a daily joy and the cost-of-living crisis has hastened a change in how we cook.

“For too long we’ve been looking down on microwaves. You can do so much more in them than heat a cup of coffee. I make a great sponge in mine. I think it’s time to remember the enjoyment we get from the anticipation of their pinging.

“When you reheat a stew, or a slice of lasagne in your microwave after the flavours have had time to develop, you enjoy what’s known as the sixth taste sensation ‘kokumi’ – which is lesser known than the other five tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.”

The survey also found 46 per cent of people ignore the sell-by dates on packaging, 38 per cent use the ‘five-second rule’ for picking up food that has dropped on the floor, and 16 per cent are happy to scrape mould off food to eat or cook with it.

One-third get their ideas on what to cook from TV programmes and five per cent have turned to Chat GPT for recipe inspiration.

OnePoll surveyed 4,000 UK adults between 10-16 May and 24-30 May.

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