During the pandemic, everyone was forced to make some hard decisions regarding food. We had become accustomed to dining out or stopping by the deli on the way home from work to pick up something to eat or eating fast foods. Once we were sequestered inside our home, we all began to look at our kitchens differently. If you weren’t bothered by the 35% added onto the menu price of an item, you could order takeout from the few restaurants remaining open and add a tip to the Doordash driver who delivered it. Grocery store shelves were often empty, making the trip to the grocery store resemble more of a scavenger hunt. Thankfully, today the shelves are stocked, and we have many options to fill our plates. While the pandemic is over, the high cost of eating out is sometimes beyond reach for a family. The home kitchen still seems to be the safest bet for nutrition.
Baby boomers generally are adept in the kitchen.
Young families and single millennials began cooking during the pandemic and enjoying the time together as well as the meals they created. I often share Instagram posts (@gaccettaeleanor) about being too busy to cook. This is where you can take pre-packaged foods and pair it with fresh meats or vegetables and end up with a nutritious, tasty meal. I find the lonely potato to be one of the most versatile foods on the planet. You can bake a potato and eat it with salt, pepper, and some butter or add a multitude of items, from broccoli and sour cream to chili. Have you ever topped your baked potato with a fried egg? That combination increases the nutritional value and taste. Salads can be simple or complex, add fruits and nuts to lettuce and vegetables or just eat simple greens. Keep it calorie-light with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.
According to a variety of post-pandemic studies (Porch.com), millennials are still more likely to dine out, do takeout or have a home delivery meal or subscription service. Nearly two-thirds of millennials say they are good cooks compared to 75% of boomers. There is no need to malign what they bring to the table. They seem to torture themselves when asked about cooking. Recipes for millennials are less likely to include roasting a chicken, grilling a rib-eye steak, or making shrimp scampi. They are more likely to bake chocolate chip cookies from ready-made dough rather than from scratch. Dessert recipes for millennials most likely will include ice cream that doesn’t have to be churned. They will make whole wheat pancakes from a mix and then pair it with fruits. They opt for turkey burgers, vegan foods, and hummus from the deli. If it takes a lot of work and effort, like roasting and carving a turkey, forget it.
Millennials, in general, are more conscious of eating healthily than the rest of us.
In my book, Generations of Good Food, there are many recipes that millennials and families can easily make and enjoy. While some of the recipes are not for the kitchen novice, most can be made successfully since the directions are easy to follow. If you have a sweet tooth, this little $10 gem has pages and pages of cookies, cakes, pies, and candy. The pasta dishes include fish and vegetables as well as meat sauce.
The book was written during the pandemic and is a tribute to my late mother, who was a masterful cook and baker.
There are plenty of millennials in my family. When the family gathers, they do enjoy spending time in the kitchen, asking questions and lending a hand.
Recipes for millennials most likely will not include an invitation to a holiday dinner. They will continue to go to mom’s and suffer through bad jokes from older relatives like the rest of us. One thing for sure is they will not go hungry.