Meryl Streep portrays chef Julia Child in a scene from Julie & Julia. The film contrasts the life of chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell, who aspires to cook all 524 recipes in Child's cookbook in 365 days.

London - Women become perfect cooks at the age of 55, it has been revealed.

Research shows that by the time they reach their mid-fifties, women have learnt how to cater for parties of 12 or more, throw together random ingredients to make a decent meal, and rescue a dinner that has gone awry.

By 55 the typical women will also have the ability to produce 15 meals from scratch.

Being able to differentiate between herbs, getting all elements of a roast dinner ready at the same time and rescuing a meal from going wrong have also been mastered.

Helen Nunn, head of marketing at The Co-operative Food in the UK, which carried out the survey of 1 000 women, said: “It stands to reason that it takes time to master cookery, and confidence comes with age.

“And there is some truth in the saying that you learn from your mistakes – so women need to endure dinner disasters and mishaps in the kitchen before getting everything spot-on.

“The real sign of a good cook is one who doesn’t panic when things do go wrong, instead finding a solution to the problem or even admitting to those she is cooking for that dinner has gone horribly wrong.”

The study also revealed that 85 percent of women aged 55 and over can confidently fry eggs without breaking the yolk or, with boiled eggs, judge the timing perfectly.

Eight in 10 women of this age group can make a tasty meal from next to nothing, and 55 percent know what herbs to put with which meats to bring out the flavours best.

And although there is no shame in using pre-prepared sauces, half of women in the older age group always make sauces from the raw ingredients.

When it comes to baking, women in their fifties are more likely than other age groups to throw in all the ingredients using guesswork. Indeed, 75 percent of women aged 55 and over bake regularly, and are a dab hand at churning out cakes.

Asked about their cooking milestones, the average woman in her fifties said she hosted her first ever dinner party at 26. She cooked her first roast dinner at 23, a romantic meal for a partner at 23, and her first cake at 21.

And, for these plucky cooks, the majority cooked their very first Christmas dinner for the whole family at age 27.

Unsurprisingly, eight in 10 women aged 55 and over consider themselves to be proficient cooks.

Nunn added: “Although we reach cookery perfection in our fifties, it’s interesting to note that most women reach their big ‘milestones’ on their culinary journey in their twenties, with the majority of respondents saying that they hosted their first dinner party, Christmas dinner and romantic meal for two in their twenties.” – Daily Mail


* Fry eggs without breaking the yolk.

* Cook the perfect boiled egg.

* Rustle up more than 15 “regular” dishes.

* Throw random ingredients together to make something delicious.

* Confident about throwing dinner parties for 12.

* Can get the elements of a roast dinner ready at the same time.

* Differentiate herbs.

* Rescue a meal going wrong.

* Make bread from scratch.

* Cook sauces from scratch.

* Throw ingredients in without weighing when baking.