We're cooking more, and trying more ingredients.

By Tim Nelson
January 21, 2021

It's perhaps the understatement of a lifetime to say that a lot of things have changed since early 2020. By now, many of us can hardly remember what it's like to enjoy a totally carefree, maskless meal at a restaurant. As a result, we've collectively had little choice but to spend more time cooking (not to mention baking) at home. 

While the prospect of vaccination has folks thinking about a light at the end of the tunnel and a potential return to "normal," it would seem that some of the changes we've adopted to our eating habits may be here to stay, at least if some survey data from consumer market research firm Hunter holds true. 

Credit: Marko Geber via Getty Images

The main takeaway? We're cooking more and plan to stick with it. A majority of folks seem to have recognized the benefits of making our own meals at at home, as 71 percent of respondents say they'll continue to cook for themselves after the pandemic ends and we're no longer spending as much time at home. 

Those who say they plan to stick with their commitment to cooking cite a few reasons: 67 percent said saving money was a major factor, while 56 percent cited both a desire to eat healthier and savoring the good feeling that comes from cooking for yourself as reasons to keep at it. A full 81 percent said that they're finding enjoyment in their newfound habit, and 50 percent said they're more confident in their ability to feed themselves than they once were. Fittingly, almost the same number of respondents (47 percent) say they've been branching out and adding new ingredients to the mix. 

When it came to other ways in which our food habits have changed since lockdowns began, results were mixed. Americans still say they're wasting less food than they did before the pandemic, but the 42 percent who say they're more mindful of food waste was a decline from the 58 percent recorded in April, so it's hard to say whether or not we'll collectively stick with that kind of change in behavior. On the other hand, 56 percent said they're balance of healthy to indulgent eating is at pre-pandemic levels, up from 42 percent back in April 2020, suggesting that our diets have stabilized a bit from those early dark days. 

So whether you've taken Zoom cooking classes, challenged yourself to cook with the ingredients lingering in your pantry, or just perfected a family favorite recipe, there's been at least some small silver lining amid these otherwise difficult times. Maybe once this is all over we'll have to get together and have some sort of giant potluck. 

This story originally appeared on allrecipes.com