Four out of five (79%) U.S. adults enjoy cooking, although nearly half of them (49%) say they enjoy it "when they have the time" -- and just 30% report that they actually "love" cooking, according to a new Harris Poll.
However, a mere 11% report that they rarely or never prepare meals at home. In fact, two in five (41%) report preparing meals at home five or more times a week, 29% report doing so three to four times a week, and 19% report doing so one to two times per week.
Given the huge popularity of cooking channels/shows and Americans' current propensity to eat at home more often to save money, the poll results may point to an element of necessity versus enjoyment, and a preference for "watching others cook" versus having to actually cook oneself, observed Harris.
One-third of "Matures" (65 and older) report that they "love" cooking, versus 28% of Boomers (age 46-64). And nearly one-third (32%) of men, compared to 28% of women, report the same.
More than half (52%) of Matures cook at home five or more times per week, compared to 43% of Boomers, 38% of those in Gen X (34-45) and just 33% of Echo Boomers (18-33).
When cooking at home, 22% say that they often cook just for themselves, while 75% report that they often cook for their families, and 22% report that they often cook for friends.
Among those who prepare meals at home, 81% say they very often cook "familiar" meals. Confirming the importance of convenience/time-saving, three-quarters say they very often or occasionally use pre-prepped and/or frozen ingredients and kitchen appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens to speed cooking and clean-up.
Nearly one-quarter (22%) of those who prepare meals at home report that they very often look for and use new written recipes to try new foods and techniques, and nearly half (46%) say they do so occasionally. One in five (20%) report that they often gain inspiration from food-related articles, online postings and cooking shows, but do not follow their recipes exactly, while two in five (41%) say they do this occasionally.
The online poll was conducted May 10-17 among 2,503 adults. Results data were weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the respondent sample was taken from among adults who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys, no estimates of theoretical sampling error could be calculated.