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Americans Cry For Help to Cook Simple At-Home Dishes

Does making pancakes sound like a Herculean task? Does your inability to make al dente pasta leave you red in the face? No need to worry. You’ve got plenty of company.

A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Idahoan Foods, maker of Honest Earth brand mashed sweet potatoes, found that more than half of Americans struggle with cooking the simplest dishes. A survey of 2,000 adults found that over half “mess up” seemingly easy-to-make dishes and that 56% of respondents end up botching foods that most consider easy to make. Maybe they just need some help. 63% of those polled said that they would appreciate some help in the kitchen. Now those of you who dread the sight of a frying pan can come out of the closet and ask for a hand without shame.

It’s understandable that a whopping 83% of respondents who destroyed a dish felt like failed chefs. There’s an abundance of home chefs dropping YouTube videos featuring mouth-watering meals described as effortless to put together. The truth is that cooking food is just like any other skill: It takes practice and experience to build skills. The subtle twists of the wrists, the inherent knowledge at what mix needs just a little more salt or a drop more honey or dash more hot sauce, come with making hundreds of meals.

Impressively, Honest Earth found that people will return to failed dishes. The brand’s numbers found that home cooks will try to cook a dish four times before giving up. That’s some solid fortitude there. Still, preparing food is truly an art and a science. Consider the simple egg. Just cracking its shell is a practiced craft in itself. Never mind that the silky treasures can be prepared in dozens of ways, used in hundreds of dishes, and can be mind-bogglingly difficult to get right. Four times might be valiant, but you need the heart of a warrior in order to step back behind the stove to fry and fry again.

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Eggs, in fact, are number two on Honest Earth’s list of “easy” foods that would-be chefs say that they’ve botched. Number one? Pancakes — a four-ingredient dish that is also deceptively difficult given its mix of powder and eggs. Batter can run too thin, too sweet, too salty, or too thick. And when you’re ready to dump the concoction in the pan, pancakes are easy to over- or undercook. Never mind trying to scrape and flip them. They’ve been bungled a million times before and they’ll be bungled a million times more, but there’s always more flour, salt, baking powder, and eggs to try making flapjacks again.

berries pancakes breakfast
Sydney Troxell

There’s also a tendency towards “ready-made” dishes, with three in four people surveyed stating that they prefer to save time with prepared foods. Given the almost universal scarcity of time for industrious Americans, this is understandable. Just realize that chopping a few fruits and veggies, and adding a few nuts supercharges the nutritional value of these ready-made meals and it only takes a few minutes to toss these additions in.

So, no need to beat yourself over the head with a rolling pin. Try, fail, and get back in the kitchen again. It’ll save you money and be better for your mind and body in the end.

Read More: Chef Roy Choi Discusses the New Season of Broken Bread

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