TECH

Smartphones May Be Inspiring Millennials To Cook More

For the last bunch of years, I’ve been trying to duplicate the Portuguese Sweet Bread I grew up eating. This bread (known i
For the last bunch of years, I’ve been trying to duplicate the Portuguese Sweet Bread I grew up eating. This bread (known in some parts of the country as “Hawaiian Bread”, because it caught on in Hawaii for the same reason it caught on in my home town: lots of Portuguese sailors immigrating with their families) is made from a butter-, sugar-, and egg-rich dough, baked in large rounds. Where I grew up in southeastern Massachusetts, It was readily available from local bakeries year-round, but it was really an Easter tradition, something rich to eat following the privations of Lent. We used to get a home-baked loaf just about every Easter as a gift from my next-door neighbor, Mrs. Souza, and while I still haven’t quite matched what I remember that bread to taste like, I’ve gotten very close. Maybe I’ll share the recipe some day. I bake two large loaves at Easter, and I love it just lightly toasted with butter, but this is the big payoff for me every year: transforming the last bits of it into thick slices of French toast (pain perdu) by soaking it in a custard of heavy cream, milk, and eggs and griddling it, like I did for brunch today. I grabbed a few quick shots in the window light while Thing Two poured on a mixture of melted butter and maple syrup, just because. Nikon D7000 w/Nikkor 18-300mm @ 165mm, 1/60s @ ƒ/5.6, ISO800. Post-processed in Aperture (although this is pretty close to straight out of camera.)

Who needs a sous-chef when you have a smartphone?

A new study released by Google found that millennials are turning to their mobile devices at every step of the culinary process -- from finding inspiration for meals to keeping track of recipes and purchasing ingredients.

Fifty-nine percent of 25- to 34-year-olds bring either smartphones or tablets into the kitchen, while people over 35 are more likely to print out a recipe, per the findings.

"We see through secondary research that millennials are cooking more,” said Anna Conroy, planning director for mcgarrybowen, an advertising agency that partnered with Google and Kraft Foods to conduct the study. “It isn't a chore as much as an ability to create an experience."

In March 2015, sales at restaurants and bars surpassed spending at grocery stores for the first time ever. Millennials are said to be at least partly responsible for this surge in dining-out spending.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but its data suggests that the so-called "digital kitchen," to borrow the study's parlance, might be reviving millennials' interest in cooking at home.

Smartphones provide an easy-to-access trove of recipes, tutorials and information for millennials, including dedicated mobile apps and popular YouTube channels such as HowToCookThat or CookingWithDog. Additionally, how-to videos about cooking racked up a total of 419 million views in 2014, and "How to Cook That" is one of the 10 most popular searches on YouTube, per data cited in Google's study.

Nearly one-third of millennials said that the least enjoyable part of the cooking process was choosing what to cook, per the study. Indeed, broadly worded Google searches such as "dinner ideas," "healthy recipes" and "slow cooker recipes" have become extremely popular, and search interest for "best recipes" on YouTube is up almost 50 percent year over year.

It shouldn't be a huge surprise that people are increasingly using smartphones in the kitchen. After all, we already use them in the bathroom and bring them to bed with us or keep them within reach at night.

Just make sure you don't spill on your device while whipping up something delicious!

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