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Cooking techniques, ingredients and utensils may change with the trends, but one thing remains the same: women still dominate the kitchen, according to the results of a cooking study by the National Pork Board (NPB).
Conducted in December 2009 to measure modern-day women’s cooking attitudes and skills, the study polled more than 1,000 women nationwide about their experiences, mealtime challenges and what they look for as they prepare meals for their families.
“We’ve found that women care as much about cooking as they always have, but are faced with less time to spend in the kitchen, presenting an entirely different set of needs than their mothers had,” reported Pamela Johnson of the Des Moines, Iowa-based NPB. “Based on these findings, our goal is to provide home cooks with techniques and recipes that are not only quick and easy to use, but taste great,” added Johnson, who noted that pork is an ideal solution, “since it pairs well with anything, can be prepared often in less than 30 minutes and offers a variety of cuts, from chops to tenderloin, that are easy to prepare.”
When asked about their greatest cooking challenge, the No. 1 answer among respondents was time. Six out of 10 women (58 percent) said they don’t spend as much time in the kitchen as their moms did. Gone are the days of slaving over a hot stove. Only one in five (21 percent) women spends an hour or more preparing a meal on an average day.
Women may rule today’s kitchen, but it’s not necessarily where they want to be. Indeed, only 31 percent would choose cooking over reading a book, going shopping (31 percent) or exercising (18 percent). When given the choice, the majority of women (83 percent) would prefer doing something besides cooking in their free time, but surprisingly, one in two women (47 percent) wish they had more time to spend preparing meals than they currently do.
With little time to spend developing menus outside the confines of a cookbook, women are interested in recipes that have only a few ingredients. In fact, 69 percent said that five or fewer ingredients would be an ideal number when selecting a recipe. So, where does pork land on today’s shopping lists? Pork and specifically ham are items most women (83 percent) are comfortable cooking, and as far as technique goes, 37 percent prefer to bake it.
Despite the desire for a simple formula, results show that women are hungry to learn new recipes and expand their cooking skills. More than half (55 percent) admitted that although they consistently cook “go-to” dishes, there’s still an interest in heating things up with new recipes.
Retailers can point shoppers to tips and ideas about how to make quick, unique dishes using pork by directing them to visit TheOtherWhiteMeat.com. The site, which was relaunched in fall 2009, features tasty pork recipes, time-saving meals, and tips on eating lean for less.