From leaving the oven on overnight to forgetting a crucial ingredient in a meal or using salt instead of sugar, more than six in 10 Americans have experienced a cooking catastrophe. A new survey of 2,000 people who cook found that 64 percent have had a major mishap in the kitchen. Almost a third (29 percent) even say they feel hopeless when it comes to cooking. Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by SeaPak, the survey looked at the cooking catastrophes Americans have experienced in the kitchen, as well as the ways in which they're trying to improve their skills. The most common blunder was found to be burning food while cooking it (68 percent), followed by burning a pot or a pan (54 percent) or misjudging and overboiling a pot (52 percent). Other mishaps included setting off the smoke detector (48 percent) or using too much salt in a recipe (44 percent). Three in 10 people who cook say they're embarrassed by their cooking skills - of those who are, 36 percent avoid cooking for other people. And mom might be who they commonly avoid cooking for, as the survey found that she's the most likely to criticize someone's cooking skills. Forty-two percent of respondents have been judged on their abilities in the kitchen. After mom, the judgment was most likely to come from friends (45 percent) or a significant other (41 percent). Top difficulties in the kitchen were found to be having various dishes be ready at the same time (44 percent) and hosting a three-course dinner party (38 percent). That was followed by making a sauce from scratch (38 percent), cooking perfect poached eggs (35 percent) and cooking fish to the perfect consistency (34 percent). "Cooking can be stressful, especially when you're in a rush or trying out something new in the kitchen," said Kristen Beadon, the director of marketing for SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. "Leaning on recipes and products you trust and using ingredients that simplify the process, like sauces and garnishes, are all great ways to avoid typical home-cooking challenges." But even cooking catastrophes and critique from loved ones isn't stopping Americans from trying to improve: Sixty-three percent are actively working to be more confident in the kitchen. Top ways respondents are improving their cooking confidence are cooking more often (70 percent), watching tutorials online (61 percent) and using cookbooks to find new recipes (61 percent). Others are watching cooking shows (59 percent) or even taking cooking classes (36 percent). "If you're looking to improve your cooking skills, the frozen food aisle is a great place to start. Here, you can find easy-to-make, flavorful foods designed to enhance and accentuate any menu," said Kristen Beadon, the director of marketing for SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. "Plus, product packaging often features chef-tested, easy-to-follow recipes perfect for when you're ready to take things up a notch in the kitchen."
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