Abstract Food campaigners, policy makers, journalists and academics continue to debate an alleged decline in home cooking, a corresponding increase in individualised eating habits and the impact of such trends upon public health. The focus of this research was to examine and compare current domestic food practices in Britain with those of another country, namely France. In-depth interviews with 27 members of the public drawn from both countries enabled the researchers to explore people’s actual cooking practices in the home. Analysis of the data revealed that respondents from both countries often lacked time to cook and increasingly relied on a mix of both raw and convenience-type foods to varying degrees. A range of cooking skills was employed in the home, although confidence in relation to cooking was more varied with the French respondents who demonstrated a greater willingness to ‘cook from scratch’. There was some evidence of men on both sides of The Channel engaging with cooking in the home although this often formed part of a leisure activity undertaken at weekends and for special occasions.