• New study from Tesco reveals the top five well-known meals Brits can cook from scratch without the aid of a recipe, with quick and easy weekday favourite the stir fry coming out on top and spaghetti Bolognese a close second nationally
  • Study also reveals more than half (55%) of Cardiff adults only know how to cook just five or fewer dishes without resorting to looking up a recipe
  • Almost a third (31%) of locals admit they cook a new recipe just once a year or less frequently

A new survey commissioned by Tesco into Brits’ cooking habits has found the humble Chinese stir fry is the most well-known dish people know how to cook from scratch, with 81% of people, and 57% of those from Cardiff, knowing how to cook one without having to resort to a recipe book.

Locally Italian classic, spaghetti Bolognese and British favourite, the Sunday roast, tied for second place with 54% of Cardiff respondents being able to cook these dishes unaided.

The survey was commissioned to launch a new online cooking series, Let’s Cookalong, delivered by the Tesco Eat Happy Project in partnership with the Children’s Food Trust.  The research, conducted with 2,000 people around the country, looked into aspects of our kitchen habits from the recipes we do and don’t feel confident cooking from scratch, to how we learn new recipes, what inspires us and how our children are learning to cook.

The research found that 55% of Cardiff adults have committed just five or fewer recipes to memory and the same proportion (55%) say they roll these out on a weekly basis, if not more often.

Let’s Cookalong will help boost the culinary knowledge of parents and children throughout the summer as new videos are added to YouTube each week. Parents and their children will be able to follow a chef cook a variety of child-friendly recipes and meal ideas, starting with picnic-themed recipes  and moving on to Moroccan, BBQ and Indian in the coming weeks.

Josh Hardie, Group CR Director at Tesco, speaking on behalf of the Eat Happy Project said:

“We know families around the country love to cook together, which is really important because if children grow up learning to cook and eat healthily, its helps them go on to lead healthier lives.

“Trying a new recipe can seem daunting but tasty, healthy meals needn’t be complicated or need lots of expensive ingredients – this is the inspiration behind our new Let’s Cookalong summer series and we want as many families as possible to take part this summer.”

Linda Cregan, CEO of the Children’s Food Trust said:

“A healthy diet is all about eating lots of different foods – and when children have helped to make a new dish with you, they’re far more likely to try it. Cooking together is a brilliant way to add some new favourites to your family’s list of go-to meals, which is why we’re thrilled to be part of Let’s Cookalong. We’re looking forward to a summer of great family fun with food.”

The top five meals Cardiff respondents said they were very confident cooking without a recipe were:

1. Stir fry – 57%

= 2. Spaghetti Bolognese – 54%

= 2. Sunday roast – 54%

4. Cottage/shepherd’s pie – 46%

5. Beef casserole – 43%

The survey found many of these recipes have been passed down from our mothers; with more than half (51%) of those polled locally said this is how they learned the recipes they know, while only one in 100 picked them up from their dad.  This is a trend which looks likely to shift in the future with a third of all dads polled across the country (33%) saying they would like their children to learn how to cook from them.

It seems that cooking together is becoming a family pastime as a quarter of UK parents (25%) with children aged between 6 – 10 say they cook together all the time while almost half (49%) do so occasionally.

The survey also revealed a real variety in cooking habits across the UK:

Almost a third of those from Edinburgh claim to have committed 10 or more recipes to memory, by far the highest proportion of any UK city

Liverpudlians proved to be the most experimental cooks with 8% saying they cook new recipes every week, higher than the national average of 5%

Belfast parents are the most diligent at cooking with their children, narrowly beating out Newcastle, with almost one in five saying they do so all the time

The cooks of Norwich appear to be the most frugal with the highest proportion citing trying to save money as a key inspiration for learning new recipes