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January 16, 2013
Heston Blumenthal: not many people are confident that they can cook like him

Did you get a cookbook for Christmas? Have you used it yet? Think you ever will?

The pesto and pasta maker Sacla’ commissioned a survey looking into how Brits use cookbooks and it’s not pretty:

Typical British adult owns ten cookbooks but has only tried an average of four recipes from each

40% of recipe books have never been used

Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection and Gordon Ramsay’s 3 Star Chef are cited as books most likely to gather dust

Jamie Oliver’s books were voted most user-friendly

Brits not cooking the books

The survey of 2000 British adults by Sacla’ found that 40% of our cookbooks languish unopened on kitchen shelves and have never been used. Of the books we do use, the majority (54%) of us admit we refer to them just once a month.

Christmas was found to be an important contributor to the accumulation of recipe books, with the average British household receiving two cookbooks as presents this year alone.

Two in three (67%) British adults admitted that they find many of the cookbooks intimidating.

The books voted the most likely to be left on the shelf due to their intimidating nature and complex recipes were named as Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection (17%), Gordon Ramsay’s 3 Star Chef (15%), Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem (12%), Gordon Ramsay’s Just Desserts (9%) and Marcus Wareing’s How to Cook the Perfect… (8%).

On the flip side, Jamie Oliver (27%), Delia Smith (15%) and Nigella Lawson (7%) were named as most user friendly authors.

Confusing terminology was also a deal breaker with French culinary terms proving a particular bugbear. The UK says ‘Non!’ to ballotine, cartouche, concasse and chiffonade.


It probably won’t come as a surprise that 63% of the people surveyed use their cookbooks for decoration rather than cooking from. Many of them make excellent doorstops or bookends.

5pm discount deals on restaurants

The 5pm blog would hate to put anyone off cooking their own food from a recipe book and Saclo’ have come up with some simple recipes to provide inspiration. However, there are alternatives. The 5pm January sale is taking place now. Click here to see dozens of restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh which are offering two courses for £12 or even less.