News that one in four Britons has never cooked, or assisted in the cooking of, a Christmas dinner should come as no surprise. Last week, Jamie Oliver was crowned victor of the Christmas publishing scramble, beating even J K Rowling to second place in the charts. The name of the title that will be filling so many stockings? 15-Minute Meals.
Not Meals that Mother Loses Sleep Over or Meals for an Agonised Afternoon, but 15-Minute Meals: quick, modern and painless. While efforts to encourage home cooking are to be applauded in the age of the ready meal and takeaway, it would be a shame if too many of us missed out on the unique triumphs and disasters of cooking a festive feast. A 15-minute meal is the crude sprint of a Usain Bolt. A Christmas dinner is the gruelling yet ultimately ecstatic cross-country of a Mo Farah: a masterpiece of British grit. We should all at least have a stab at it.