Newsday Tuesday: The Christmas dinner hack we try to save time

Posted: 11th Dec 2018

As we're at the time of the year where our time is at a premium, time-saving hacks become a must

This becomes particularly apparent on Christmas Day - after all, there's socialising to do with the family, presents to unwrap and, most importantly, a good time to be had. However, the Christmas dinner doesn't make itself - and that's why Brits are turning to pre-prepared ingredients to get one step ahead.

In fact, a poll of 2,000 adults found only five per cent of those cooking their Christmas dinner will not use any pre-prepared ingredients.

Favourites include frozen Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes, while Brits also pre-prepare cranberry sauce, as they look to shave up to 30 minutes off their cooking time.

One in six opt for pre-prepared roast potatoes to make sure they don't have to worry about peeling, parboiling and then basting as they seek the perfect potatoes.

More than one in ten will also look for shortcuts with their gravy and stuffing, as convenience becomes the name of the game.

However, this doesn't mean Brits admit to what they've done - in fact, one in five end up taking the credit for their pre-made purchases, saying they've made everything from scratch - a third go so far as to accept complements even though they know it's not homemade.

Mark Hodge, marketing director at McCain, which commissioned the study, said: "For many, Christmas time isn’t about spending hours slaving away in the kitchen; it’s about spending those free hours with loved ones."

In total, four in 10 respondents admitted to using pre-prepared food, as they looked to save time, while just under one in five did it to reduce some of the pressure that comes with cooking the feast.

The research also revealed that on average, the festive get-together will leave the cook away from the kitchen for around four hours, while over two-fifths have resigned themselves to missing out on the festive fun and spending time with family and friends.

Out of the 95 per cent of Brits who don't cook their meal completely from scratch, one in 10 confessed they tell their guests that they made the entire feast themselves.

Another tenth said they fibbed about cooking without any help.

The time that was saved by using pre-bought ingredients saw 35 per cent spend it with their friends and family, as they enjoyed the festivities - another quarter use the time to indulge in some good old Christmas TV.

One in five have tried to pass their ready-made food off as their own, while two thirds said they don't think they could tell if they were served pre-prepared food for their Christmas dinner, the OnePoll study revealed.

The nation's go-to pre-prepared foods for the festive season are:

- Frozen Yorkshire puddings

- Frozen roast potatoes

- Cranberry sauce

- Instant gravy

- Stuffing       

- Pre-cut fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts

- Pre-cut fresh or frozen parsnips

- Pre-cut fresh or frozen carrots

- Packaged / chilled roast pot