Wednesday 21 February 2018

Allen is head chef askitchen gurus cook up a storm on bestseller chart

John Spain, Books Editor

Cookbooks traditionally are big sellers for Christmas presents and Rachel Allen proved herself to be the ultimate yummy mummy this year. Her latest book, Easy Meals, was the top selling cookbook in Ireland for Christmas by far.

Extracting the cookbooks from the Nielsen Bookscan figures for all book sales in Ireland in the last two weeks before Christmas shows that Allen's book outsold its nearest rival by more than three to one in the two weeks ending December 25, the vital run-up to Christmas when book sales really take off.

At number one, Allen's Easy Meals was in tune with the return to less complex cookbooks, like Jamie Oliver's 30-Minute Meals which was such a huge hit last year. Easy Meals sold 7,423 copies in the last two weeks before Christmas.

The big surprise in our Cookbook Chart, however, is the appearance at number two of Jamie's 30-Minute Meals in spite of it being on sale for over a year now. It was published in September 2010. It sold 2,221 copies in the last two weeks before Christmas, bringing its total sales in Ireland to date to a phenomenal 60,529 copies, making it the biggest selling cookbook ever in this country.

The continuing popularity of 30-Minute Meals was also remarkable because Jamie Oliver has a new book out called Jamie's Great Britain. Although backed by a TV series in which Jamie explores contemporary British cooking in all its ethnic variety, this only made it to number four, selling 1,890 copies in Ireland in the last two weeks.

One Irish book trade expert suggested the reason may be the Great Britain title and the Union Jack on the cover. Despite its poor showing here, Jamie's Great Britain was the bestselling book of any kind in the UK in the run-up to Christmas.

Young TV chef Donal Skehan -- the Irish Jamie -- did well at number three with his Kitchen Hero. An unexpected number five, at 1,738 copies sold in the two weeks before Christmas, was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg, confirming the steady growth in popularity of vegetarian cooking here.

At number six, selling 1,189 copies in the last two weeks, was Irish cook Lilly Higgins with her book Make Bake Love, which reflects the current renewal of interest in home baking. And at number seven, with 1,086 copies, was British baking expert Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy.

All the other cookbooks on the shelves sold less than 1,000 copies each in Ireland in the last two weeks before Christmas.

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