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Where does your favourite recipe come from? Volunteers sought for new research into our cooking habits


A Leeds Beckett University researcher is looking to uncover how we source our favourite recipes: are they passed down to us through the generations? Or do we like to use TV cookbooks, apps and vlogs?

A woman holding open a recipe book

Dr Melanie Chan, Senior Lecturer in the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett, is looking for volunteers to share their stories and experiences of discovering recipes.

Dr Chan explained: “After my recent public talk at Leeds Central Library on the growth in popularity of cookery apps, I am starting a new research project about cookbooks, apps and recipes. This will explore how people obtain recipes - are they passed on to you by family or family members, or through television cookbooks, apps or vlogs?  Do you use a cookery app? If so, which apps do you find useful and why?  If not, would you have a go at using an app? Would you use an app rather than a cookery book or use them both for different reasons?” 

Dr Melanie Chan
Dr Melanie Chan

Dr Chan is looking for volunteers to take part in one-on-one informal interviews around these topics, lasting around half an hour, at Leeds Beckett’s city centre campus. These will take place in early 2018. To take part in the research, or for more information, please contact Dr Chan by Friday 15 December.

Recipe ingredients set out on a chopping board

Dr Chan said: “Food and cookery impact on our daily life in all sorts of ways, from comfort eating to strict dieting. We have varied opinions and strong feelings about what to eat. Today, there are many conflicting messages about food and cookery. Celebrity cooks such as Jamie Oliver encourage us to cook our meals from scratch. Indeed, Jamie’s latest television programme, Quick and Easy, makes cooking seem fun and achievable.

“Celebrity cookbooks are best-sellers and include lavish photographs of delectable dishes and lifestyles.  Lifestyle gurus such as Deliciously Ella (Ella Mills) promote vegan recipes and lifestyles through YouTube videos and her recipe blogs. On the other hand, people are spending a great deal of money on convenience food such as ready-meals and fast food. I am looking forward to finding out what really works for people and how they are engaging with the many different types of media available to them for finding inspiration for their cooking.”

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