Arguably one of the most repetitive things about living through lockdown was having to fend for ourselves in terms of meals – not to mention the ever growing leaning tower of dishes in the kitchen sink!
Despite the convenience of Uber Eats, Postmates and Door Dash, getting to know your neighborhood food delivery person on a first name basis after the first few weeks of lockdown was probably not a great sign, as some of us soon came to realize. This meant we had to DIY our own breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but not all of us can take things to flavortown like Guy Fieri or Bobby Flay…
To find out how we coped with cooking during the pandemic, reviews resource GearHungry.com carried out a survey (3,300) and made the discovery that on average, Georgians can only cook 4 different types of meals (not including microwave meals or sticking a frozen pizza in the oven). This was in line with the national average.
Not bad, you might think, but Michiganders, Vermonters, Utahns and Delawareans take America’s culinary crown, as they have an average of 6 meals each up their sleeves. Comparatively, those in Hawaii, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota only know how to make 2 meals on average — perhaps they’re more reliant on takeout or convenience foods.
Perhaps we’d learn more if we headed to the grocery store to put our money where our mouth is. Almost a quarter (23%) of people say they spend more time looking at other people’s cooking than actually doing any cooking themselves. This could be scrolling through viral food videos — like the famous TikTok tomato and feta pasta — or lining up our favorite episodes of The Barefoot Contessa.
The survey also found that parents have been putting pressure on themselves to make elaborate, better quality meals for the family, as nearly 1 in 3 (32%) admitted to suffering bouts of anxiety when preparing meals.
With a bit more time on our hands to think about meals, it appears some were more experimental when it came to cooking different types of cuisines during the pandemic.
Over a quarter (26%) were inspired by the Deep South, turning their hands to dishes such as conch chowder, creamy shrimp and grits, fried catfish or chess pie. Another quarter (25%) attempted dishes from the Southwest, with favorites influenced by spices from Mexican and Spanish cuisine. Dishes including hearty Brunswick stew – made with meat, tomatoes, corn and okra – or Huguenot Torte, a popular dessert from South Carolina made with apples and pecan nuts were third most popular (11%). New England meals were less popular (3%), but some people tried their hands at things like traditional clam chowder, and the fun Whoopie Pie (basically two giant cookies joined with a creamy filling).
It’s tempting to turn away from a fridge full of deconstructed ingredients and fall into the trap of food delivery apps. What’s not to love about pressing a few buttons and having food magically arrive on your doorstep before you can even think about what to cook? Nearly half (43%), however, believe that the growth of food delivery apps has led to inferior culinary skills, and knowledge about ingredients and equipment – for example, when asked what a mandoline was, 7% had no idea that it’s a kitchen utensil used for slicing.
Finally, almost half (47%) people say that the pandemic has actually encouraged them to cook more healthily.