Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - HOME - Janita Singh

The rooms in our homes are be­com­ing more mul­ti­func­tional, din­ing is now some­thing we en­joy all over the home and each room has to re­flect its shared pur­pose. – Tif­fany Buck­ins, Ikea

AUSSIES don’t like eat­ing at the ta­ble, which is pos­si­bly be­cause we’re em­bar­rassed by the state of our kitchens.

This was one find­ing in the re­cent IKEA Life at Home re­port.

The re­port an­a­lysed global liv­ing and eat­ing habits and looked at how Syd­neysiders lived in and around the kitchen com­pared with eight other ma­jor cities: Ber­lin, Lon­don, Moscow, Mum­bai, New York, Paris, Shang­hai and Stock­holm.

Tif­fany Buck­ins of Ikea Aus­tralia says this is the first time Syd­ney has been part of the global IKEA study which gives us an op­por­tu­nity to bet­ter un­der­stand life at home.

It showed a num­ber of global sim­i­lar­i­ties re­lated to cook­ing at home, food waste and shar­ing meals, dif­fer­ences in where peo­ple eat and so­cial media use while din­ing.

“The re­port clearly showed that we tend to put a lot of em­pha­sis on the look of our kitchens from the out­side, but for­get how im­por­tant it is to or­gan­ise the in­side of our cup­boards,’’ Buck­ins says.

It found that one in five Aussies might not be so keen to lend a neigh­bour that cup of sugar if it meant the neigh­bour had to peek in­side their kitchen, ad­mit­ting that their kitchens were messy and un­tidy (32 per cent), dirty and need­ing a clean (27 per cent) or small and crowded (22 per cent).

But while em­bar­rassed by our kitchens, we pride our­selves on the qual­ity of food we eat, with many Syd­neysiders plan­ning to buy sus­tain­ably sourced or or­ganic (50 per cent) or lo­cally pro­duced (74 per cent) food.

We are also keen to grow our own herbs, plants, flow­ers and veg­eta­bles.

As a na­tion of food­ies, many are guilty of be­ing waste­ful.

The re­port showed that 24 per cent ad­mit­ted buy­ing food only to dis­cover they al­ready had it in the fridge, while 26 per cent said they of­ten found food that had gone off. And lifestyles have changed. While more than half of the re­spon­dents said their fam­ily al­ways ate to­gether when they were a child, the kitchen and din­ing room had be­come a place for any and ev­ery home ac­tiv­ity, but not nec­es­sar­ily eat­ing.

Stress­ful week­days have re­sulted in fewer fam­ily din­ners.

Only a third of Syd­neysiders (33 per cent) now eat at the ta­ble daily, opt­ing in­stead to eat in bed (13 per cent), al­fresco (12 per cent), or even in their bath­room (4 per cent).

When they do share a meal, two out of three Syd­neysiders use mo­bile de­vices. More than a third show their frus­tra­tion at this habit, pre­fer­ring that mo­bile phone not be al­lowed while eat­ing to­gether at home.

The lan­guage of shar­ing has taken on a new mean­ing at meal times in Aus­tralian homes — a new IKEA re­port shows most of us are slip­ping into an anti-so­cial habit of us­ing mo­bile de­vices while eat­ing.

While clut­ter drives us away from eat­ing at the kitchen or din­ing ta­ble, we do take pride in grow­ing qual­ity pro­duce such as herbs.

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