Domestic cooking and food skills: A review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Jul 24;57(11):2412-2431. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1072495.


Domestic cooking skills (CS) and food skills (FS) encompass multiple components, yet there is a lack of consensus on their constituent parts, inter-relatedness, or measurement, leading to limited empirical support for their role in influencing dietary quality. This review assessed the measurement of CS and FS in adults (>16 years); critically examining study designs, psychometric properties of measures, theoretical basis, and associations of CS/FS with diet. Electronic databases (PsychInfo), published reports, and systematic reviews on cooking and home food preparation interventions provided 834 articles of which 26 met the inclusion criteria. Multiple CS/FS measures were identified across three study designs-qualitative, cross-sectional, and dietary interventions-conducted from 1998 to 2013. Most measures were not theory-based, limited psychometric data were available, with little consistency of items or scales used for CS/FS measurements. Some positive associations between CS/FS and fruit and vegetables intake were reported, though lasting dietary changes were uncommon. The role of psycho-social (e.g., gender, attitudes) and external factors (e.g., food availability) on CS/FS is discussed. A conceptual framework of CS/FS components is presented for future measurement facilitation, which highlights the role for CS/FS on food-related behavior and dietary quality. This will aid future dietary intervention design.

Keywords: Cooking; diet; food; food literacy; measurement; scale; skills.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cooking / methods*
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Food*
  • Humans