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Any Jack Monroe fans (A Girl Called Jack)? New cookbook is out. Thoughts on budget cooks?

(21 Posts)
mcculloch29 Thu 27-Feb-14 17:25:01

I've just received budget cook Jack Monroe's 'A Girl Called Jack' cookbook in the post, I'm thrilled with it. I've reviewed it on [email protected] and given it five stars.

Jack has appeared on a few programmes recently - she was on Sunday Brunch - and in various newspapers; she has a Guardian column and there have been some articles about her too.

All my adult life I've had to watch the pennies and I've got a large collection of budget cookbooks. One is dire (Tamasin Day-Lewis, Supper for a Song) but most are very good.

Particularly my falling - apart Shirley Goode's (80s TV Cook) and Jocasta Innes 'Paupers' cookbooks. However Jack's is bang up to date, I like the way she makes use of tinned and frozen foods to maximise savings, not everyone can afford, or has access to, affordable fresh foods.
Are you a fan of budget recipes and cookbooks too? It would be nice to share some thoughts.

JessM Thu 27-Feb-14 17:37:25

I'm an admirer of jack and read some of her columns. Not tried any recipies yet. I cut my feeding a family on a budget teeth on Poor Cook. Some of what I learned still in use although copy of book long gone. Anyone still got one?

mcculloch29 Thu 27-Feb-14 17:41:57

Poor Cook was a new one on me; it possibly came out when I lived abroad in the late 70s to mid 80s. Anyway, it's now available again on [email protected] Jess, thanks for mentioning it!

Granny23 Thu 27-Feb-14 17:43:58

I had not come across Jack Monroe until she was on a televised 'debate' with Edwina Currie who, disgracefully, mocked and rode roughshod over her. Have since read a fair bit about her and find that she is a woman to be admired. Not seen any cookbooks yet.

whenim64 Thu 27-Feb-14 18:03:11

Yes, I admire Jack and was impressed with her subsequent letter to Edwina Currie, which was published after that programme. Edwina Currie showed herself up.

JessM Thu 27-Feb-14 18:38:58

Must have been published about 1972... oh I think I might have to re-aquire it. Seeing as i am now down to zero cookery books (unless there are a few stashed in storage somewhere...)

Iam64 Thu 27-Feb-14 18:57:19

I've become a real Jack fan in recent months. I haven't bought her cook books, but have heard her on the radio, describing the ingredients she keeps in her store cupboard and how to make meals for not a lot of money. She was good on Women's Hour with Jenny Murray (last week I think). I saw the debate she appeared on with Edwina, and thought Edwina made a real exhibition of herself, in a Bad Way. Jack looked very upset and has since responded well.

I had the Paupers Cook book, and loved it. It's great to see a young woman like this, talking about the difficulties of being so hard up, but managing to eat well.

whenim64 Thu 27-Feb-14 20:14:00

Jack's letter to Edwina Currie:

durhamjen Thu 27-Feb-14 22:33:10

Not much good for vegetarians though.

MiceElf Fri 28-Feb-14 06:22:23

I remember cooking from Delia Smith's Frugal Food in the 70s. There were a few rather odd things in there I remember but it was a huge help. Katherine Whitehorn's Cooking in a Bedsit was excellent too.

I think Jack is splendid. These days I am fortunate enough not to have to count the pennies so carefully but I think it would be money well spent to make her book a set text in schools and freely available in supermarkets.

petallus Fri 28-Feb-14 09:44:55

It irritates me when I see her recipes printed in the Guardian (stuffed cabbage leaves, 38p each).

I wonder how many Guardian readers have to manage their budget to that extent.

janerowena Fri 28-Feb-14 12:59:10

You'd be surprised - a friend of mine always reads it. Her husband left her and her two children last year. She was always a fan of Jack's, now she has her copies of the Guardian second-hand and the recipes are a godsend.

Iam64 Sat 01-Mar-14 09:12:08

That's a bit harsh petallus - I have been a gruaniad reader since I was about 20 but could only afford the Saturday version as a treat for years. Being poor doesn't mean you can't identify with the newspaper of your choice.

MiceElf Sat 01-Mar-14 09:57:15

It's not just about managing budgets, Petallus. It's about unnecessary waste, simple nutritious recipes and being imaginative.

As for Guardian readers not needing to watch the pennies, when I lived and worked in Africa we had the weekly overseas version, printed on flimsy paper, sent to us. It served its purpose for keeping us in touch and well informed and was then put to other uses best not described here. Double value.

mcculloch29 Tue 04-Mar-14 14:09:16

Thanks for all your comments. I'm a long-standing Guardian reader for what it's worth, although these days I access a lot of it online and treat myself to the Weekend one every so often.
I ordered a copy for my daughter too, as a present, but the postage charges were quite hefty, so to escape these I've ordered a third copy, got free postage and will give this extra copy to my local library.
I hope that those who cannot afford the book will borrow and benefit.

Soutra Tue 04-Mar-14 15:22:39

Poor Cook is still in regular use in my kitchen as are Frugal Food,Jocasta Innes's Pauper's Cookbook, How to Feed Your Family for a Fiver and occasionally Katherine Whitehorn's Cooking in a Bedsitter! Miss my Marika HanburyTenison' Left Over For Tomorrow which was excellent.

Iam64 Tue 04-Mar-14 19:36:27

I haven't heard of Left Over for Tomorrow, will look out for it. I love leftovers, it's one of the many joys of Christmas, all that yummy food, just waiting to be resurrected (no, I don't mean Easter)

tiggypiro Tue 04-Mar-14 19:37:43

For my 'O' level Domestic Science exam I had to make a 2 course lunch for 4 people for 5/-. I wonder if it could be done today?

MiceElf - when we bought this house 40 years ago the Church Times was hanging up in the loo !

penguinpaperback Wed 05-Mar-14 00:36:57

Jack Monroe is doing a webchat over at Mumsnet today, Wednesday.
I love her blog.

LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 07-Mar-14 11:23:32

And she's agreed to do a Q&A with us! (Took some cake bribery admittedly but everyone has their price slice.) grin We'll confirm details shortly.

janerowena Fri 07-Mar-14 20:23:44