Cooking pasta dinner

(Credit: Katerina Holmes from Pexels)

NEW YORK — After a long, stressful day of work, cooking dinner can seem like another grueling chore at the end of the day. With that in mind, a new survey finds one-third of Americans can whip together an “ultra-fast” dinner in 10 minutes or less. Nearly half the poll claim to have special “cheat codes” to get a meal on the table lightning quick (such as using one of the best air fryers).

Egg sandwiches, grilled cheeses, hamburgers, hot dogs, and microwavable meals are all common dinners respondents say they can whip together in a pinch. The OnePoll study of 2,000 Americans also examined how people are attempting to get creative in the kitchen during the coronavirus pandemic.

How to keep cooking entertaining

Many respondents will play mind games with themselves as they cook, with two in five (42%) pretending they are on a cooking show to see just how fast they can put dinner together. It’s no surprise then that 61 percent of respondents are pretty proud of their quick skills in the kitchen.

Forty-three percent said they opt to incorporate pre-made ingredients into a recipe to shave valuable minutes off the clock. Over a third (37%) prep part of their recipes in advance. Six in 10 people add they expect their meals to be quality without sacrificing too much time and, in an ideal world, every meal would be delicious and quick to make.

The survey, commissioned by fresh-dried mashed potato maker Idahoan Foods, also reveals those crafty shortcuts definitely come in handy as three in 10 Americans cook over nine meals a week for themselves or those they live with.

‘Fast food’ without the flavor

With so many plates to make, not all of them will be up to the chef’s standards. One in two respondents confessed to sometimes being disappointed in their own cooking. Some home cooks even face culinary critiques from others at the dinner table. The harshest critics within respondents’ own homes tend to be spouses and partners (34%). Following closely behind in cooking complaints are the chef’s kids (33%) and their parents (21%).

Fifty-six percent admit they sometimes feel like they have to sacrifice flavor and healthier options for something quick and easy.

“It makes sense the majority of Americans are getting creative to save time in the kitchen, but it’s also no surprise they sometimes end up disappointed when cutting corners. Saving time only works when it doesn’t come at the expense of quality,” a spokesperson for Idahoan says in a statement.

Cooking in quarantine is no fun

Cooking Fast DinnerTwo in five people (43%) revealed the pandemic has sapped them of their culinary inspiration since they’ve had to start cooking so much more often. Most respondents said they’ve been running on fumes in the kitchen since May or June of 2020.

Nearly two in three Americans (64%) said they’ve developed a craving for comfort food during the pandemic and 58 percent think they would cook more often if they had easier and healthier side dishes to add to their meals.

“People haven’t grown tired of good food but are feeling fatigued when it comes to the time that goes into making it! We’re seeing people move on from trends like bread baking and pickling in favor of finding a way to put dinner on the table fast while keeping the whole family happy,” the spokesperson for Idahoan adds.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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