Hotpot crowned top of the pots as home cooks across the North West agree it’s the best winter warmer

Hotpot, stew, scouse or lobby? No matter what you call it, one thing we can all agree on is that it’s the North West’s favourite winter warming dish. 

Research has revealed that more than a quarter (27%) of people in the region will be found sitting down to a hearty hotpot as the winter nights draw in.

The survey, carried out by United Utilities, aimed to understand the region’s favourite household evening meal over the winter months, and found that hotpot was the unanimous favourite.

But while rivals Manchester (23%) and Liverpool (25%) were able to agree on the top spot, neighbouring Warrington was the only town to vote in favour of the roast dinner, which pipped the hotpot to the post with 24% of the vote.

Across the North West vote the roast dinner was voted as the second favourite with 19% of the votes, with the cottage pie coming in third (12%).

The research1 was commissioned by the water company as part of their campaign to reduce the amount of cooking fats, oils and grease being poured down sinks and drains, which can result in a messy and expensive clean-up job. 

The survey also revealed that 16% of home cooks admitted to pouring their cooking oil down the sink, with 8% saying they dispose of butter and cooking fat in the same way.

So, whether people use cooking oil, dripping or butter to make their hotpot, United Utilities is reminding home cooks that it’s important to dispose of them responsibly at the end of the meal.

Andy Peet, Wastewater Network Protection Manager for United Utilities, said: “As the winter nights draw in, it’s no surprise that families prefer hearty and warming foods such as hotpot, but meals which involve cooking meats or roasting vegetables can be among the worst culprits when it comes to producing oils.

“It may not seem like much to one family, but when you add up thousands of dinners cooked every day across the North West it can cause major problems. The incorrect disposal of fats, oils and grease down drains is a key cause of blockages.

“Once fats, grease and oils enter the pipes and drains, there is no way of controlling what will happen next. When they cool, they can solidify within the pipes causing a nasty, expensive mess, or they can get as far as the sewers where they can affect the entire community.”

To prevent blockages in sinks and drains, home cooks are encouraged to scrape cooled oil and leftover food from plates, pans and utensils into the bin or a kitchen caddy.

United Utilities has a team of 115 people who deal with blockages across the region. They’ve dealt with more than 13,000 avoidable blockages in the last year and more than 12% of these were caused by fats, grease and oils.

For more information go to

Top Tips to help keep your drains clear:

  • Scrape cooking oils/grease and any leftover food from your plates before putting them in the sink or dishwasher.
  • If you have any ‘liquid’ food like gravy left over, use kitchen roll to soak it up and put it in the bin. 
  • Resist the temptation to put pans, baking trays and cooking utensils straight into the sink – allow them to cool, then scrape any food debris or grease into the bin.
  • MYTH! An extra squirt of washing up liquid will not clear a blockage – that’s because hot water and soap doesn’t dissolve oils and fats! The soap may actually harden in your pipes, sticking to other items and making a blockage worse!
  • Use a sink strainer to stop any food bits from going down the plughole.
  • If you have a large quantity of cooking oil, from a deep fat fryer for example, check with your local council’s recycling centre to see if they recycle used cooking oils.
  • Look out for signs of a blockage before it’s too late. If your toilet is taking more time to flush than normal, you have bad smells coming from your drains or water is draining away slowly from the sink or bath, it could be the beginnings of a blocked pipe.
  • While United Utilities is responsible for shared sewers, we’re not responsible for the pipes in your home. If you do have a blockage you can’t remove yourself, we recommend you use a plumber or specialist contractor which is a member of an approved contractors’ scheme. Visit our website to find out more:
  • Don’t flush non-flushable products such as wet wipes, period products, cotton wool or nappies down the loo, put them in the bin instead. These products can snag on your pipes and drains and add to the build-up of fats, oils and grease from your kitchen to create fatbergs in the sewers.