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Generation gap

(article, Caroline Cummins)

It's no surprise that General Mills conducts consumer surveys of the American public, hoping to figure out which products might appeal the most. But the company's survey results can be surprising, and certainly entertaining.

For example, back in 2005 General Mills did a survey called "How America Cooks II: A Generational Look at Cooking/Baking Differences, 20s vs. 40s." The survey looked only at women in their 20s and 40s. Differences? Plenty. 

The older women, for example, tended to host elaborately planned menu parties, while the younger lasses preferred more impromptu affairs. The 40-somethings tended to make hearty entrées (casseroles, meatloaf, pot roast), while the 20-somethings liked to whip up lighter stir-fries or pastas. 

Far fewer of the younguns had learned to cook as kids; they were also more likely to rely on prepackaged foods. But a majority of the youth crowd told the General Mills folks that they were interested in cooking, and wanted to become better cooks.

No word on what male 20- and 40-year-olds are doing in America's kitchens — although the survey noted that younger women were more likely to have learned to cook from Dad than older women. Go dads.