What Is Cooking? – A Questionnaire

I posted up a quick survey for people to fill in and here are the results, some answers provide great insights into what people assume cooking actually is.


1. Would you define making a ready meal or other convenience foods as cooking?

No: 86.5%
Yes: 5.4%
Sometimes: 8.1%
“It is if I am in a rush”
“Depends what you have to do in order to make the ready meal”
“No, if it is a ready meal for a microwave but yes if it is something like frozen peas or ready rolled pastry”

2.  Would you define using a microwave in preparation of a meal as cooking?

No: 35.1%
Yes: 24.3%
Sometimes: 40.5%
“Sometimes you need to defrost meat before cooking”
“If heating something up to go with a meal. e.g.. beans”
“It can be used to steam fish, veg etc.”
“If a meal was cooked earlier and you are heating it up again”
“Heating up something that you would just pop into the oven anyway”

3. Would you define using a kit such as a ‘make your own fajita’ kit as cooking?

No: 16.2%
Yes: 83.8%

4. Would you describe making a dish like a simple stir fry as cooking?

No: 0%
Yes: 100%

5. Finally, how would you define cooking?


“Preparing and making the meal”
“I really enjoy cooking, especially experimenting in the kitchen. I make rad burgers!”
“The combining of various different ingredients to create a meal”
“To heat raw material to a point where it changes becoming softer and more delicious!”
“Cooking is preparing a meal. Preparation could be variable.”
“Preparing and cooking a meal from scratch using ingredients rather than just ‘popping’ a ready meal in the microwave.”
“Taking a mixture of ingredients, chopping and heating individually, then combining
“Using ingredients to make part or all of a meal”
“Putting ingredients together and heating them up together to blend the flavours”
“The preparation of food by heating”
“Preparing from scratch
“Prepared by your self”
“The preparation of food from the raw materials to finished product, doesn’t matter what utensil/heating device you use”
Preparing food with some hands-on work”
“Cooking is where you get ingredients (Either from the shop, in a pack etc.) and you need to prepare, put them together and cook them in a certain way…That’s why a stir fry is cooking, because there is still effort in cutting and preparing vegetables, and thats why microwave meals is not!”
“Putting ingredients together to create a taste sensation”
“Cooking is the chopping, cutting and slicing of food (be it fruit, vegetables or meet) in preparation for adding to the pot and heating, it is the blending, stirring, simmering and serving”
“Cooking is not a part of everyday life anymore. We all have a choice to cook or not which wasn’t really there before or affordable. Cooking is creating something making something delicious to share. I wouldn’t really cook for myself I would just eat. I think cooking for me is enjoying food not just eating it
“Anything that involves, preparing some thing, cooking it with a bit of skill(eg not heat water and add boil in the bagstuff) then serving it”
“Cooking is making a meal from scratch. There are many appliances which you can use to aid you when cooking but heating up convenience food is not a form of cooking”
“Combining ingredients together using skills e.g poaching to make a meal”
“Preparing food for a sweet ass meal”
“Putting effort and care into creating a meal”
“Applying heat to food. Preparing vegetables. Time consuming. Love and effort put into a meal. Something you should enjoy”
“Cooking is basically following instructions and getting timing right so everything comes out warm and at the same time”
“Preparation and cooking of ingredients.”
“Making a meal yourself. Doesn’t have to be every component, but at least one”
“The preparation and combination of ingredients to be consumed as a whole, that explores the senses”
“Anything that starts with ingedients and ends up with a meal”
“Mixing together ingredients to make a meal or snack”
“Mixing up ingredients and experimenting with flavours to create something wonderful you can share with family and/or friends, or eat joyfully by yourself!”
“Taking separate ingredients and combining them to produce something edible in a way that requires thought and action from a person”
“Preparing food for eating, for some reason I feel it should involve heat? And I kind of think it’s using raw ingredients and turning them into something rather than just heating something up or mixing pre prepared ingredients”
“Cooking is just getting arrange of different food and spice throwing them all to getting and hoping something great comes out the other end of it”
Grown up I feel you have fully grown up when you start cooking proper meals for yourself and when you buy your own toilet paper”
“Making something tasty for your self so ya don’t die and shrivel up like a crisp”
“Cooking is something that, in itself, can either be successful or unsuccessful. These two end product descriptions can mean different things to different people (e.g. success= I followed a recipe and this turned out how it was meant to according to that recipe or unsuccessful= this does not taste good I am thus not going to eat it, so I am not full in fact still hungry so my act of cooking failed at providing me with necessary nourishment.) In the case of convenience meals many of the steps in cooking have been done for you, leaving you with no assembly but instead just heating. The act of heating something is literal cooking but not theoretical or ideological