Food: Most young people leave home with no cooking skills

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New research shows that the majority of people are 18 to 25 are leaving home without the ability to cook even a simple recipe such as spaghetti bolognese.

The national study marks the launch of a new campaign – 5by25 – which calls for young people to be given the support to master at least five simple recipe dishes by the age of 25.

Researchers discovered that whilst the majority of young people claimed they could cook, when tested on popular recipes such as Spaghetti Bolognese, curry and even the humble Yorkshire Pudding, the majority simply couldn’t. Only six per cent of this age group could make all three of these recipes.

The study showed that a fifth of 25 year olds hadn’t cooked any scratch meals for themselves “in the last seven days” with many saying they relied on ready meals and take-aways.

Many of those interviewed believe that their parents were much more skilled at cooking when they were a similar age.

Jane Ritchie-Smith, marketing manager of EBLEX the organisation who sponsored the research said “Our research highlights a major learning and skills gap, with young people lacking the confidence to buy fresh food, prepare and cook simple dishes.

“Without these basic skills, young people lose the choice to cook and the understanding of what is in their foods. They will increasingly become the ‘heat and eat’ generation.”

5by25 is an umbrella campaign aimed at helping youth and parent groups co-ordinate their activities behind a single purpose – supporting young people to master at least five basic recipe dishes by the age of 25.

Core to the campaign is the www.5by25.com website which contains 25 basic recipes each with a MasterThe Dish challenge.

James Martin, celebrity chef and presenter of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen said: “We have identified the 25 basic recipes that we believe are the building blocks to cooking.

“From these, anything is possible! We want young people to visit www.5by25.com and have a go at the Master the Dish challenge. We also want mums, dads, youth and parenting groups to encourage young people to have a go. Cooking is fun and rewarding. You just need to get started!”

In addition to the 25 recipes, www.5by25.com contains a range of support to help build general cooking skills amongst young people. These include time management, food buying and knife skills.