Are Celebrity Chef Cookbooks Intimidating And Pricey?
Celebrity chef cookbooks are too complicated, says a survey done by a British company that sells premade Italian foodstuffs. Sacla’ — which produces things like “Squeezy Basil Pesto Sauce” and “Italian Tomato and Olive Stir-In” — surveyed 2,000 British adults about their cookery book habits. The results? The average British adult owns ten cookbooks, but 40% of them have never been opened. The survey participants said they were intimidated by words like “ballotine” (how many people are making ballotines at home in the UK?) and “umami,” and they shy away from books by people like Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay. Everybody loves Jamie Oliver cookbooks, though, which isn’t exactly a surprise given his sales numbers.
But are these numbers really that shocking? Do they prove, as the Daily Mail dramatically claims, that complicated chef cookbooks are “too much for us to digest”? The results of the survey say cookbook owners on average try four recipes per cookbook. Which doesn’t seem that bad? Also, the majority of responders said they refer to their cookbooks about once a month.
The survey participants also say they’re most likely to turn to cookbooks for celebrations: for birthdays, Christmas, and other times they entertain. The rest of the time, they’re using the average nine recipes they have committed to memory, eating out, or, as Sacla’ presumably hopes, using premade premium Italian pasta sauces they bought at the grocery store.
So what can cookbook publishers do to attract the discerning British cookbook consumer? Can the French: 36% of participants found “the prevalence of French terminology in cookbooks irritating.” Also, make cookbooks less “cumbersome” while upping the eye candy: 63% of respondents said they used their cookbooks for decoration. Oh, and seriously, cut it out with the ballotine recipes. Here’s the press release:
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