Home baking is reheated as sales of cookware soar

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The plethora of celebrity television chefs encouraging us to go back to our traditional culinary roots and dust off the rolling pins appear to have succeeded in getting Britain baking again.

Spurred on by so-called "domestic goddesses" such as Nigella Lawson, a new generation of housewives and househusbands are donning their aprons and getting out the pastry brush according to figures that show the traditional art of baking is undergoing a renaissance.

The Women's Institute released figures this week showing applications for its baking courses had leapt by 60 per cent this year, up from 201 to 321 in the 12 months to September 2007.

At the same time, sales figures from high street retailers and internet auction sites show baking utensils are selling like hot cakes.

According to the kitchen utensil shop, Lakeland, sales of its bakery products have risen by a staggering 96 per cent overall and doubled in the past 12 months alone.

The company's most popular item is a baking tin shaped like a steam train allowing wannabe Nigellas to produce the perfect locomotive treat without the usual blood, sweat and tears.

The department store John Lewis, meanwhile, claims to have sold a make-your-own cookie or gingerbread kit every minute during one week recently, while the internet auction site eBay has shifted 7,822 biscuit cutters in the past three months alone the equivalent of one every 15 minutes.

Owen Redahan, a spokesperson for the Women's Institute, said: "There really has been an incredible amount of interest in baking over the past 12 months and applications at our residential college are significantly up on last year.

"The feedback we're getting is that it's all tied to the environmental and organic movements where people are increasingly keen to make their own food from fresh locally sourced products."

He added: "We do live in a bit of an 'instant world' at the moment where a lot of the younger generation don't know about cooking but there's definitely a new desire to learn the basics."

The Women's Institute currently has more than 70 volunteers running courses across the country to teach young parents the basics of cooking which the institute says has been a runaway success.

Analysts believe that women in their thirties, spurred on by easy-to- achieve recipes from celebrity chefs and the internet, are leading the resurgence.