Food culture: Americans spend 1,000 hours a year in the kitchen

NEW YORK — How long does it take you to make dinner? Despite all the takeout options and delivery services around, it turns out plenty of Americans are still spending a lot of time near the refrigerator! The average American spends over 1,000 hours a year in the kitchen, according to a new survey. That’s nearly three hours a day.

The poll of 2,000 adults looked at the time spent in different parts of the home and found that nearly half of the respondents host guests at least once a year (49%). When they have other people over, respondents say they also spend plenty of time together in the living room (51%) or dining room (32%). Another one in seven cherish the times they spend with loved ones in the kitchen.

Conducted by OnePoll for Whirlpool, the survey finds that Americans’ love for their kitchen shows through their time spent there. One in nine consider it to be “the heart of the home” because it meets their needs, provides comfort, and provides a space to spend time with family and friends.

After all, 73 percent of those surveyed enjoy cooking at least sometimes, with half saying that cooking a meal is just as — if not more — fun than eating it (53%). Seventy-four percent of respondents even say that they wouldn’t mind guests lending them a hand in the kitchen.

Infographic on how people prefer to entertain guests in different rooms of their home.

“The kitchen is where some of our earliest memories with family are made,” says spokesperson Bree Lemmen, Whirlpool kitchen brand manager, in a statement. “Our goal is to create a sense of care in the kitchen, bringing generations together to learn new skills and of course, try new foods.”

No matter what room they’re in, having guests over means one thing for most respondents: cleaning up the day before (74%). Messy homes take away from spending time with loved ones, as one in six Americans have a tough time focusing on other things when their home isn’t clean.

More than half of those surveyed claim they “always” or “often” think about needing to clean their home (53%). Although many love spending time in the kitchen, it tends to fall behind on their list of cleaning priorities.

Respondents use their microwave (46%), dishwasher (50%) and stove or oven (51%) seven or more times a week, but often skip cleaning them at the end of the week. In the kitchen, those surveyed are most likely to clean the stove or oven (61%) and warming drawer (53%) two or less times a month.

Respondents prefer to use the microwave (25%) or a countertop appliance like a toaster oven or air fryer (24%), or the oven (24%) to heat food.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Whirlpool on Nov. 27, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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