In England, Jack Monroe is all over the place right now. Good! She’s great, her recipes are brilliant, and she carries a strong message of social justice.
Monroe started making headlines around 2012 on her blog. She’s an anti-austerity, amateur chef battling against the poverty crisis in England. Cook!
Tin Can Cook
Life in England remains dictated by Tory rule which, since 2010, has involved austerity. The direct result of the 2008 financial crash.
Add into that a staggering housing crisis and the country has endured a terrible time of it. Food bank Britain and a homelessness crisis only add to the problems.
Monroe suffered serious setbacks around 2011 and began a cooking blog to deal with the effects of austerity.
Enter tinned food! Canned, if you will. It’s incredibly cheap, it has a bit of a negative reputation (post-WWII rationing, lazy students, and baked beans), and the stuff is everywhere.
Not exactly a gourmet item. Or is it?! Monroe starts her book by challenging critics who suggest tinned food is a bit rubbish.
Sure, it’s not as ideal as fresh spinach grown in your garden, or organic produce from some fancy story. But under austerity measures, most folks don’t get that option.
And so enter the world of 75 cupboard recipes. Lots of pulses in action, here. And healthy stuff.
— 🌈👩🍳📚Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) February 3, 2020
That type of stuff is the norm. Loads of it. She really goes out of her way to make the food ultra-cheap.
With each recipe on her blog, she lists how much each meal will cost. Some of them are as little as 46p.
But it’s aesthetically pleasing, too. We’ve yet to see one of her tinned recipes that looks like a pile of slop.
And if you’re wondering, this isn’t really a vegan type deal. She did do a vegan book called Vegan (ish), but Tin Can Cook (released in 2019, by the way) features meat recipes.
It’s just, to cut down on the costs, she largely focuses on tinned veg—particularly chopped tomatoes and beets.
So whilst things aren’t as extravagant as Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake, for those on a tiny budget this stuff is all golden.
The book is also cheap, costing a mere £6.99. And it sold like hot cakes!
We’re greatly looking forward to seeing more of this chef at work in the years ahead. Her recipes and outlook are proper belting.
One of the appeals of Monroe is she cuts out all the crap and tells it like it is. Openly non-binary and a staunch LGBT supporter, that’s annoyed a great deal of right-wingers here.
After a sparring session on Twitter with notorious attention seeker Katie Hopkins, Monroe pressed charges and won £24,000 in compensation.
For anyone who knows just how petulant Hopkins is, that’s a glorious thing indeed.
Monroe came to our attention in The Guardian, when she acknowledged in candid fashion her struggles with alcoholism. A direct result of the stresses of austerity.
And ever since that piece she’s cropped up everywhere, over the last few weeks appearing on national TV and furthering her YouTube channel.
Asides from her efforts to help people and be super cool at it, Monroe is very bloody eye-catching (apologies for the male gaze there), and we’re big fans of her 10/10 excellence as a human being.
Times are hard in England. But there are people out there making a difference. All you need is a tin opener.