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Perfect dinner at 47

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The typical British woman doesn’t perfect Christmas dinner until she reaches the grand age of 47 according to a new study.

Up until this point millions of women make common mistakes such as making watery gravy, overdone sprouts, dry turkey and messing up timings.

Researchers found a third of women who completed the poll said they have never managed to pull off an impeccable dinner as something always goes wrong.

The poll by the Food Network also found that the average age for a female to attempt Christmas dinner for the first times is 32.

And more than a quarter said their mother puts them under intense pressure to pull-off a faultless festive feast.

But three quarters of women said their dinners get better every year.

Nick Thorogood, Managing Director of Food Network EMEA said:  “Making Christmas dinner for the first time is an important rite of passage.

“There is a lot of pressure to pull off the ‘perfect’ dinner and in many families you have to live up to the high standards set by your mother or mother-in-law, who have been mastering their festive feast for years.

“Over Christmas, we are airing a range of programmes featuring some of the most trusted female chefs such as Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith to help Brits avoid making common mistakes.”

The study revealed that the biggest obstacle women have to overcome when preparing the dinner is struggling to fit everything in the oven, followed by getting the timings right.

One in five females said they always do too much of everything and 17 per cent are victims of lumpy gravy.

The study found one in ten then have the opposite problem and suffer with gravy that is too watery.

Getting in to the festive swing of things is a problem for eight per cent of women who said they tend to drink too much sherry as they cook the dinner.

Dry turkey, undercooked sprouts and burnt roast potatoes were also listed as common blunders women are faced with.

Nearly half of the females polled said they felt a real sense of achievement when finally dishing up the Christmas dinner, but 13 per cent said they hate the process as it’s so stressful.

Food Network UK chef, Lotte Duncan said: ‘’It’s hard to cook Christmas dinner without any mistakes at all no matter how long you have been doing it.

“Most people forget something or experience minor mishaps.

‘’The main thing women should try not to do is worry too much and set themselves unachievable goals.

“Plus, at Christmas we should all be prepared to accept other peoples’ help when it’s offered as it helps to share the load.”

Food Network UK will be airing Christmas specials from some of the UK’s loved and respected chefs including A Barefoot Contessa Christmas Special, Nigella Express Season’s Eatings, and Delia’s Classic Christmas.

The poll discovered that more than one in ten women said they are dreading cooking the dinner this year and one in twenty said they receive complaints from family members if their food isn’t up to scratch.

The person most likely to be critical about the lunch was found to be husbands followed by young children.

And two-thirds of women who were polled said they felt they had to live up to their own mothers dinner.

It also emerged that 38 per cent of women rely on notes and lists to cook the perfect dinner – although an accomplished 46 per cent said they could do it with their eyes shut.



Making Christmas dinner for the first time is an important rite of passage.

Nick Thorogood, Managing Director of Food Network



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