couple cooking kitchen

A couple cooking together (Credit: Le Creuset on Unsplash)

NEW YORK — It may be time to make an age-old adage gender neutral. A poll of 3,000 American adults reveals almost three-quarters believe the phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” does ring true. When asked if this applies to themselves, 70 percent of women and 75 percent of men agree that good food wins them over.

More than half admit good food can improve their mood and 48 percent say some of their most treasured memories revolve around eating. Two in five consider themselves a “foodie,” while 43 percent feel they are a “feeder.” Similarly, people like feeding others because it brings them happiness (61%), they have a maternal or paternal instinct (44%), and they like to share their culinary creations (43%).

The memorable magic of meals

The study, commissioned by brioche experts St. Pierre Bakery and conducted by OnePoll, also finds cooking from scratch, knowing how to make something without a recipe, and not getting stressed in the kitchen are among the things that impress people about others.

Three in 10 also like it if someone knows the best spots for food in different cities. Meanwhile, just as many are impressed if a host always has food to offer their guests. On the flip side, many respondents have tried to impress others with their own great cooking skills (30%), by creating a meal out of leftovers (27%), or by discussing food with a passion (23%).

Another 38 percent believe sharing food brings people together and two in five have had food traditions passed down through their family. For 33 percent, sharing food is key to their family dynamic and 35 percent admit that food is at the heart of every family occasion. Nearly four in 10 (38%) see sharing food as a way to bring people together and the average American has four conversations a day about food.

Global gluttony

Reflecting their love for edibles, 35 percent have received a food-themed gift, while 39 percent have been the giver of such a gift. A quarter of Americans have even set up a social media page dedicated to their passion for food and 27 percent have visited another country purely for the cuisines, with Italy, Mexico, and France the top favorites.

“The study shows just how important food is to moods, relationships and memories,” says Paul Baker, founder of St Pierre Bakery, in a statement. “Foods often bring back nostalgic experiences such as eating with family or friends, trying new cuisines for the first time, going on a first date or being on vacation or in a different city. It’s great to see how passionate the nation is about food and that the way to a person’s heart really is through their stomach.”

Memories rooted in food

The poll also asked respondents what it was that stood out about food in their fondest memories. While 58 percent say it’s the taste and 52 percent the smell, almost half the poll (43%) thinks that preparing the food with their loved ones is key to making a memory stand out.

The study also found it’s important to 78 percent that a potential partner likes food and 39 percent agree that preparing food for people is a demonstration of love.

If meeting up with a friend, relative, or date, nearly two in three (63%) admit it’s likely to involve eating and 51 percent think food is central to their gatherings with family. A third of respondents struggle to understand people who don’t get excited by food and confess that fussy eaters annoy them. More than half of Americans admit that they’re always thinking about their next meal (51%).

“Often the best feel-good moment comes from a simple home cooked meal or baked treat – and especially as the holidays approach, we can all relate to that,” adds Baker. “We’ve always believed that great food is a joy to be shared – and that’s especially true as the holidays approach. Whenever you ask someone about their favorite food, the reason for their answer is almost always linked to a treasured memory – and that’s a beautiful thing.”

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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