Are Nigella and Delia Too Difficult?

If it’s all about catering to the lowest common denominator, then British kitchen gurus Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith have some dumbing down to do. A government study in Britain assessed the recipes of five celebrity chefs, based on “literacy standards, layout, writing style and readability,” and found that the two female chefs were too difficult.

According to an article published in the Daily Mail, “Female celebrity chefs, it seems, are harder to understand in print than their male counterparts, peppering their books with complex language.”

(Cut butter into flour—is that considered “complex language” these days?)

The article goes on to say that Gordon Ramsay recipes can be followed by a child of seven; for Nigel Slater you need a reading level of an 11-year-old.

The study found that:

5.2 million adults in the UK would be unable to follow Nigella’s cooking methods as she uses longer sentences and tends to write in a ‘chatty’ style, mixing in personal observations with her instructions.

Delia Smith’s culinary teaching was also criticised for having too many stages and using measurements confusing for anyone with poor numeracy skills.

She also sprinkles too many adjectives into her recipes.

Male celebrity chefs, it concluded, used a more direct approach and their recipes were easier to grasp.

Yeah, too many adjectives—that’s the real reason for the sad state of home cookery in the world today. If only those crazy female chefs could rein in their “chatty style,” all would be right in kitchens throughout the land.

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