Sacre bleu! Britons challenging French in the kitchen

The French have long been considered masters of cuisine but Britons spend longer in the kitchen and prepare a wider variety of international food, according to a survey out Tuesday.

The French eat out more and stick to family recipes while at home, found the cross-Channel study by BBC Olive magazine and French title Madame Figaro.

It found that 72 percent of Britons cook at home every day, compared to 59 percent in France.

And when in the kitchen, 50 percent of Britons spend more than 30 minutes cooking, while 27 percent of the French do so.

However, people in France tend to produce more, with 47 percent preparing two courses or more compared with 18 percent of Britons.

The French eat out on average three times a month compared to twice a month in Britain.

Ninety-three percent of Britons and 87 percent of French said they cooked Italian food; 76 percent of Britons and 40 percent of French cooked Chinese; 76 percent of Britons and 31 percent of French cooked Indian; and 62 percent of Britons and 55 percent of French cooked Spanish.

The French cooked more Moroccan food than the British, with 49 percent to 43 percent ever preparing such dishes.

"Although the French have an enviable food heritage, it's fascinating to see how much British people have embraced home cooking and international cuisine over the past few years," said Olive editor Christine Hayes.

While Italian was the favourite foreign food for both countries, just one percent of French respondents said British cuisine was their favourite.

And while 46 percent of Britons said the dining out experience was better in the other country, the percentage of French who said likewise was zero.

Olive readers thought that 1970s favourite crepe suzette was the dish which best symbolised French cuisine, while the French said it was veal, followed by foie gras.

Madame Figaro voters reckoned Christmas pudding best symbolised British cuisine. British readers said it was a roast dinner with Yorkshire pudding, followed by fish and chips then a full English breakfast.

Madame Figaro editor in chief Sebastien Stehli said: "What's striking about the survey is that in both countries people are moving toward a cuisine which is more international, more open, curious of other cultures, less nationalistic.

"People now have access to multiple sources of inspiration - books and magazines as well as television and now the Internet. It feeds into their thirst for experimenting new ways of cooking, exploring new restaurants."

The survey questioned 2,061 readers of BBC Magazines and 1,345 Madame Figaro readers in January.

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