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How The Internet Is Killing The Family Recipe

What’s the Big Idea?

The days of children turning to their parents to learn how to cook may be coming to an end.  

Nearly half of Americans believe that in the next 15 years, more people will learn to cook from instructional videos online rather than from their parents. That’s according to a new survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by Allrecipes, one of the first major recipe websites. 

This survey, a follow-up to another Allrecipes conducted back in 1999, provides a snapshot of just how much technology has changed our cooking habits since then, for better or worse. One surprising takeaway is that as the popularity of online cooking tools has increased, the role that parents play in the kitchen seems to have diminished. Some 44% of those surveyed said they would choose to rely on cooking websites for the rest of their lives if they had to pick just one tool, while just 9% said they would choose to rely solely on their parents.

What’s the Significance?

There’s no doubt that smartphones and the Internet are increasingly becoming kitchen essentials for many households. For example, more than a third of those surveyed use their smartphones to look up recipes and three quarters of women say they watch cooking videos online.  

As the survey points out, this has proved particularly helpful for busy parents with children who rely on tools like these to make planning meals “quicker and easier.” Indeed, one could argue that the abundance of recipe websites and food shopping apps help make the idea of a home-cooked family meal more attainable at a time when both parents in many households work full-time jobs. 

Yet, these tools may gradually be killing off the tradition of turning to relatives for culinary guidance. Just as its more efficient for parents to rely on the Internet for meal planning, it may end up being more efficient for young chefs to rely on the Internet for cooking instructions. Instead of nagging a busy parent to show you how to make eggs over easy, you can just pull up a video on a recipe website. Instead of asking your grandmother to dig up a good pasta recipe, you can just search for the most popular recipes online. 

This trend probably isn’t unique to cooking either. There are instructional videos and guides online for everything from tying a tie to learning how to knit. In the past, young adults might have had no choice but to turn to their parents to learn skills like these. Going forward, the more convenient option may be to turn to the Internet.  In the process though, we might lose one of the ingredients that goes in to making a family. 


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