It’s generally mothers who teach their daughters how to cook – and in doing so strongly influence their eating patterns, even as adults

A qualitative study led by CREDOC in March 2004, on 26 mother-daughter duos, confirms that the majority of the time, mothers are the ones who introduce their daughters to cooking and to flavours. What’s less intuitive, however, is that these initial basics in cooking will form the dietary habits of girls during their lifetime: lots will continue to feed and cook “like mum”, even after they’ve left the family home…

The first thing the study shows is that while mothers introduce their daughters to cooking, the process of transmitting information is rarely conscious: mothers don’t ”teach” their daughters to cook, instead they make dishes in front of them and allow them to stir a mixture, add spices, etc. While mothers themselves had to help out during their childhood, especially in large families, they haven’t imposed this on their daughters, for whom learning about cooking is done as they go along and not through voluntarist teaching. It’s by watching and imitating that young girls take their first steps in cooking: “With my kids, I did the same as my mum did with me: I didn’t ask them to help, they just got involved if they wanted to,” tells one of the girls.

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