"Can't Cook, Won't Cook"

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"Can't Cook, Won't Cook"

"Can't Cook, Won't Cook"

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According to a 2014 YouGov survey of 10,000 Britons, one of the largest ever conducted about food, 10% of us cannot cook a thing – equating to 5 million people. It is the same for tools and equipment: I can’t be without a blender; I don’t think my flatmate ever used one. And when I did cook, once every week or two, I did not dare deviate from the basics for fear of presenting him with an inedible dinner. Often it includes items not in your kitchen unless you are a keen cook, in which case why would you need a simple recipe book? Self-help guru and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss surveyed more than 100,000 of his (mostly male) Facebook fans to discover what turned them off cooking and found an array of reasons: too many ingredients or tools, intimidating skills, different dishes finishing at different times, standing at the stove, food waste.

On the odd occasion that my flatmate and I threw dinner parties, the stress of preparation, timing and the implicit expectation to impress prevented me from fully enjoying the evening. In setting up my own pantry, I quickly discovered that my flatmate’s essentials – pickled things, salty fish, hard cheeses, hot sauces – were completely different from mine. Ainsly Harriot is in a whole different language when it came to mastering the kitchen, he sung (DANCE DERICK), he danced (YOUR A MONKEY DERICK), and he shaked his hips! I will flick to another browser tab and forget to stir, or put a pan on a high heat then wander off.The novelist Hanya Yanagihara recently said that she “deliberately never learned” to cook as a teenager for fear of being trapped in the domestic sphere; I suspect my own historical resistance was similar. This is Ainsly Harroit flying solo for a change doing what he does best, this is a really fun filled show for all the family.

After four months of living alone, I have learned that I cannot be without Greek yoghurt, kale, cannellini beans, peanut butter, sour cream, chilli flakes, spinach and frozen chapati breads. The test, he says, should be: “How badly can you mangle the recipe and still get something incredible? As long as you haven’t got a really dodgy oven, there’s very little you can mess up here,” says Iyer. Covering main courses with poultry, meat and fish, vegetarian and pasta dishes, and puddings, the book includes advice on food preparation, equipment, cooking temperature and ingredients.The joke however was on the friends of the cooks who then had to eat the food that had been lovingly prepared for them. Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian View image in fullscreen Hands on …Elle Hunt preparing a meal in her kitchen. Ainsley (or other resident chef) showed what they were going to be cooking and then proceeded to cook it, adding mock anger. So if someone else handles the cooking in your household, ask them to take a week or two off, for the sake of your self-development. You’re not relying on standing at the stove, or your sight or [sense of] smell – all you have to do is take it out of the oven.

I can say with confidence, thinking of the microwaved egg and lentil tomatoes, that this would not have always been true of my food. Where I used to cook once and eat it night after night, I now freeze the other portions or add an element I’ve made from scratch, so as not to break my cooking streak. My advice is to concentrate on a handful of dishes you know you like until you can make them well, and gradually adapt them to make them your own.

Even the simplest meals can be elevated above a survival mindset: in Solo, Johansen dedicates a chapter to things on toast. Combined with a few cookbooks, I can now put my phone in another room as I cook, and meals hardly ever get burned. Part of the reason I have been able to go so long without knowing how to cook is that for several years I lived with a friend who enjoyed taking charge in the kitchen. Iyer, who describes herself as “not really a leftovers gal”, looks for ways to make them into a different meal – for instance, by turning odds and ends into a rissole. For example: it’s important that aubergines are “very finely” sliced, but you can usually fudge onions – and always save the pasta water.

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  • EAN: 764486781913
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