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Perceptions of 'home cooking': a qualitative analysis from the United Kingdom and United States

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Susanna Mills, Dr Wendy Wrieden, Dr Heather BrownORCiD, Professor Martin White, Dr Jean Adams



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Cooking at home is likely to be associated with benefits to diet and health, however the nuanced perceptions and practices linked to different types of cooking are not yet fully understood. This research aimed to explore the specific concept of ‘home cooking’, using qualitative research from the UK and US. Data from two previously completed studies exploring cooking at home were combined and a new secondary analysis undertaken using the Framework Method. Data in the first study were drawn from participants in the North East of the UK who were interviewed. Data in the second study were drawn from participants in Baltimore, US, who took part in focus groups. Data from a total of 71 adults (18 UK and 53 US), with diverse sociodemographic characteristics and experiences of cooking, were analysed. In both countries, participants distinguished ‘home cooking’ as a distinct subtype of cooking at home. ‘Home cooking’ was defined in terms of: preparing a meal from scratch, cooking with love and care, and nostalgia. Cooking at home had a range of dimensions, and perceptions of ‘home cooking’ tended to focus on social and emotional associations, rather than physical health benefits. Public health initiatives should therefore be developed carefully, to avoid conflation with less healthful connotations of ‘home cooking’.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mills S, Wolfson J, Wrieden W, Brown H, White M, Adams J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2020

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 12/01/2020

Acceptance date: 09/01/2020

Date deposited: 09/01/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/nu12010198


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Funder referenceFunder name
MR/K02325X/1Medical Research Council (MRC)