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Live Webchat with Jack Monroe: Wednesday 5 March, 12.30 - 1.30PM

(170 Posts)
KateHMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Feb-14 10:44:21

We're very pleased to announce that pioneering food blogger Jack Monroe will be coming into MNHQ for a webchat on Wednesday 5 March from 12.30-1.30PM.

Facing head-on the realities of modern Britain as a single mum and responding with a 'make do and mend' way of thinking, Jack has earned a reputation as a fierce anti-austerity activist. She is best known for her blog A Girl Called Jack and is a freelance writer for The Guardian, The Independent and The Daily Mirror encouraging people to explore, enjoy and experiment with food, all on a (tiny) budget. Her first book, A Girl Called Jack, has just been published by Michael Joseph.

You can post a question for Jack in advance below, or join us in welcoming her on Wednesday between 12.30 and 1.30PM.

BornToFolk Tue 04-Mar-14 12:22:46

I'm a big fan of the blog! I'm a lone parent to a small boy too so lots of the recipes work really well for us. DS loves the kidney bean, carrot and cumin burgers and my favourite is the pasta with mushy peas (cos I'm classy like that! grin)

Anyway, when I found myself on a reduced income, after splitting from my ex, I found I had to make cut backs to my food budget and be a bit more creative with recipes. I'm an OK cook but I consider myself extremely lucky that I was taught to cook as a child, by my mum and also my Gran, who was a retired Home Economics teacher and an amazing cook. I think that having these basic cooking skills are invaluable when triyng to feed a family on a budget.

So, how did you learn to cook? Are you self-taught, or did someone teach you?

NumTumDeDum Tue 04-Mar-14 12:24:37

Hi Jack, I wanted to thank you for articulating so eloquently the issues which can lead to anyone falling into poverty. I went from being in a good job to being divorced, having to give up work because I couldn't afford to stay in central London, pay for childcare and eat. In a month I was on income support and made to feel less than worthless. Things have improved for me, but reading your blog helped me through a difficult time because someone else understood. Here's my question: I've struggled to explain why benefit bashing is wrong to friends, to family, who all seem convinced that it must be the person on benefits' fault that they're in that situation - how do you change attitudes when the media seems hellbent on portraying the feckless poor stereotype (e.g bebefits street)?

dinkystinky Tue 04-Mar-14 13:23:35

Hi Jack - what is your absolutely favourite go-to-when-you-have-just-had-the-day-from-hell comfort food?

Hi Jack! Your blog has been an absolute lifesaver for my family, DH & I are both unemployed with 2 ravenous children and you've saved us from death by pasta. grin

My question is, do you feel you need to protect your son from all the media attention you get, or are you and his dad fairly laid-back about it?

Oh, and if you had the chance, just how hard would you slap Edwina Currie? wink

Peanutsandwine Tue 04-Mar-14 14:12:24

I re read your hunger hurts piece when I received your wonderful book this week, and it made me cry (again!). Then I read your follow up in the back of the book.

My question is have you bought a new watch to replace the one you sold during those dark days? Or perhaps you were given a replacement? I hope so.

Brilliant book! I love it :-)

NatashaBee Tue 04-Mar-14 14:39:47

tries to think of intelligent question

I love your blog and recipes, have ordered your book although it's going to take a while to get here as I live in the US. I know you post on Mumsnet from time to time as I've seen you pop up on a thread about you to defend yourself. What was your favourite Mumsnet thread? grin

EmLH Tue 04-Mar-14 15:03:17

I received your book this week and wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to shop cheaper and cook better. I have made the carrot & cumin burgers, lentil bolognese (so so good!) and white choc and tea bread and all were well received. Have the beer and sultana bread proving as I type! Surprisingly, my meat loving DH has really liked the veggie recipes so I am really pleased and feel it's a great way to make him healthier. My questions are:

Can you use tinned lentils instead of dried in, for example, the daal? Or does it change the recipe?

Also, is there a book two in the pipeline? I would def buy it!

As an aside, I've noticed that there's no salt (or pepper) in your recipes. Is this on purpose for health reasons?

HomeHelpMeGawd Tue 04-Mar-14 15:39:41

Dear Jack

Thank you for your really fabulous blog and advocacy. I believe you have changed the terms of the debate.

My question is not really one for answering, and more a plea: will you please make sure to take care of your and your son's financial security with the extra income you're generating? It's amazing that you are willing to give so much away to good causes, but please please do create a buffer for yourself as well.

CannotthinkofaNN Tue 04-Mar-14 17:08:51

Hi Jack

I was wondering if you thought there should be more emphasis on healthy eating and cooking in schools ?

Ledare Tue 04-Mar-14 17:57:18

I would also like to know the answer to TheJoyfulPuddlejumper's second question. I saw Edwina Currie on Panorama last night hmm

I'm from your neck of the woods. You are awesome!

Hi Jack,

We've had shit times too, so thanks for speaking up for 'us'.

I would like to know how you handle it when your son doesn't want to eat his dinner?

The hardest thing I found about having a tiny food budget was that my daughter (then 2) would regularly refuse to try New things - I ended up buying her basics frozen sausages etc a lot because I knew she wouldn't be hungry then.

Anonymai Tue 04-Mar-14 18:57:38

Hi Jack!

My question is:

Now that you have money coming in again, do you feel pressured not to spend it frivolously or on things you don't necessarily "need" due to having so many people on low incomes looking up to you?

Hi jack, just wanted to say you have given so much hope to families on a low income and who struggle to make ends meet, and it almost seems like in today's society being poor is the worse thing you can be. Your recipes are amazing and when I was struggling they were a big help, and even though things have improved I still like making your recipes. Wishing you and your son all the best. (And I too want to know the answer to the Currie question...grin)

DarlingGrace Tue 04-Mar-14 19:46:59

Hi Jack - I've intermittently read your blog and know how you ended up from a high flier to low income...do you think embracing education and being widely read allowed you to resource cheaper food stuffs and combine that with nutrition?

I only ask because low income is usually synonymous with lower educational standards and it needn't be so

Blondieminx Tue 04-Mar-14 20:44:32

I don't have a question, I just want to thank Jack for all she has done to counter the vile messages this government is spinning out, and to say that I hope she and her son are feeling warmer and happier these days x

No question but wanted to say I loved you on Woman's Hour! smile

Bicnod Tue 04-Mar-14 22:00:34

Hi Jack,

@SarahRobinson78 here, so glad you're doing a MN webchat smile

Won't be online tomorrow as am working but just wanted to say that small boy is going to be very proud of everything his mummy has achieved, keep going you're doing brilliantly you awesome lady grin

Also, was there any response from the hideous Edwina to your blog?!

x

Hi Jack, I have your book, preorderd it on Amazon and have tried two recipes so far, loved both.

Anyway, what I'd like to ask is what is your splurge meal now your finances have picked up?

Hi Jack.

My family enjoyed your bolognon so much that we've bought the book and I'm trying to decide where to start... What's your favourite recipe out of the ones in the book, and how did you decide which ones to include?

Thank you!

GarthsUncle Wed 05-Mar-14 07:07:43

Jack

No question, just well done.

Oodhousekeeping Wed 05-Mar-14 07:30:27

You said in your book you still try to keep food spend low , what is your luxury food now and what was it then?

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Wed 05-Mar-14 08:02:40

Jack - I just bought your book, and next week (when my DCs are feeling better) I plan on trying out a few of the recipes for them. (DS1 has disabilities and food issues, so new foods when he is ill are never well received)

I really love that you are not afraid to speak up regarding food banks and poverty. I think so many in the government are dreadfully out of touch with these issues.

I'm not sure if you've seen this movie, but sometimes this whole poverty/food bank situation reminds me of "A Bug's Life" with the government being the grasshoppers taking things away from the poor ants, telling us this is the way it has to be. We ants need to realise that we need to band together and make the government grasshoppers listen, IMO.

What specific positive changes would you like to see from the government over the next couple years?

DoctorTwo Wed 05-Mar-14 09:12:14

Hello Jack, welcome to the Vipers' Nest. I don't have a question, I just wanted to say I loved your dignified responses to Richard Littlecock and Edwina Currie. My own daughter would have ripped them both a new one as she doesn't tolerate idiots and corporate shills.

Keep up the good work.

Meglet Wed 05-Mar-14 09:27:42

Hi Jack.

First I want to say keep up the good work in speaking up for the least well off in society. Another feckless single mother here wink.

What does your son enjoy cooking? Have you catered for one of his birthday parties yet, and if so what did you serve up?

shrunkenhead Wed 05-Mar-14 09:32:00

Think all my questions have already been asked by fellow mumsnetters, just wanted to say what an inspiration you've been to me and to thank you for highlighting just how easy it is to go from having a good job to being on benefits and that many of us fall into the situation because of bad luck.
And I was horrified at the rudeness of Egg Curry towards you on the debate, I specifically tuned in to hear what you had to say only to find she wouldn't let you speak! Yes, just how hard would you like to slap that woman?!

lavesh Wed 05-Mar-14 10:56:08

Hi Jack, just a thank you for being brave enough to tough out the inevitable right wing backlash from the privileged media/political elites who would love for people like you and Owen Jones to stop being so inconvenient! I know I wouldn't be brave enough to do so.

My question is did you join WHOGA when you left WHSG? I would've rather stabbed my own eyes out grin

FunLovinBunster Wed 05-Mar-14 11:00:30

Congratulations on your fab book.
What are your hopes for your son and yourself for the future?
All the best.

Faverolles Wed 05-Mar-14 11:15:29

Hello, no question from me either, just thanks for your blog and recipes.
My dh had a stroke last year and was unable to work for a few months.
With 4 children and many pets, your recipes helped us to stay afloat (just!)
Luckily dh is fully recovered and back to work, but it don't think people realise how easy it is to run out of money for whatever reason.

Toowittoowoo Wed 05-Mar-14 11:24:26

As an avid reader of your blog and recipes in The Guardian I have just bought your book (half price in WHSmith - so I hope you still get the same cut from my purchase! ).

Anyway, I wanted to know which of the recipes is you and your son's favourite or which one you cook most often?

We eat your fish tagine from the guardian at least every fortnight as well all love it. My DH was very dubious about a sauce made out tinned tomatoes, tinned mandarins and cumin but we are all agreed that it is seriously delicious.

Another question, partly inspired by the current MN thread. As someone who became famous almost by accident, is all this attention (and dissection) something you would have chosen if it was up to you?

teaandcustardcreams Wed 05-Mar-14 11:31:01

Hi Jack,

Fellow Essex girl here. Really admire everything you're doing to raise awareness of food poverty in Britain. I wondered who is your inspiration? Also, do you have any cheap but healthy ideas/tips for weekday lunches?

Hi Jack,

Just wanted to say I bought your book from my local book shop and made not meatballs and tomato sauce for the family. DC wolfed it down, DH ate it but is sceptical about meat free meals. hmm I'll convert him eventually!

So no question just a big congratulations for the great book and blog. thanks

smallinthesmoke Wed 05-Mar-14 11:47:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request -posted on wrong thread.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 05-Mar-14 11:56:02

how do you take the costs of fuel into account in the costing of your recipes, (eg tinned beans v soak and cook for 50 minutes)

Lottapianos Wed 05-Mar-14 11:56:27

Hi Jack, you are a brave and inspirational person. Your story is absolutely heart breaking and I know I'm not the only one who has cried reading your blog. I'm speechless that anyone would give you a hard time about any of it and cannot believe the criticisms and personal slurs you've had to deal with. I hope all those people are ashamed of themselves

I wish you all the luck in the world both personally and in your public advocacy. We needore people like you.

changeforthebetter Wed 05-Mar-14 12:12:32

Jack,

I have two small fussy girls so I do struggle a bit to get them to eat kidney beans etc, even though they see me eat all sorts. I empathise with the PP who mentioned basics sausages! Any tips on converting kids?

Anyway, your work on raising awareness of and campaigning against poverty is fantastic. Wishing you and SB a bright and successful future. smile

Felyne Wed 05-Mar-14 12:28:53

Can't think of a question that hasn't already been asked but I do want to say I think you're brilliant. I love your blog and your determination and you deserve every success and happiness. Keep up the good work.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:31:25

Hi!! So I'm here in Mumsnet Towers, they've buttered me up with cake and tea, and I'm going to clumsily attempt to answer your questions. Bear with me, I've spent the last year or so typing on my mobile phone so all this computer fandangled bollocks is a bit terrifying - but I'll give it a shot.... xxx

MarmaladeShatkins Wed 05-Mar-14 12:34:27

Hello Jack,

What's your favourite biscuit? wink

She swore in her first post. I like her even better now!

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:34:33

changeforthebetter

Jack,

I have two small fussy girls so I do struggle a bit to get them to eat kidney beans etc, even though they see me eat all sorts. I empathise with the PP who mentioned basics sausages! Any tips on converting kids?

Anyway, your work on raising awareness of and campaigning against poverty is fantastic. Wishing you and SB a bright and successful future. smile

Hiya! I try to involve my son in the kitchen as much as possible, from parking him in the corner at a young age and chattering away to him about what I'm doing. Now he's three, I can sit him on the kitchen table and give him a whisk or a wooden spoon, he can add a pinch of salt or some herbs... Even the fussiest kids are likely to eat something that they feel involved in or a sense of ownership over, (you know those sticky cookies they bring back from nursery or misshapen cakes they proudly proffer? If they'll eat that they'll eat anything - because they made it...) so give it a go...

BlackeyedSusan Wed 05-Mar-14 12:34:35

bloody hell mnhq that is a lurid orange! makes reading difficult.

tea? you should demand request gin

domesticslattern Wed 05-Mar-14 12:34:57

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your Twitter feed and that Observer article with the heading about you being a "lefty liberal lezza cook". Hurrah!
I worry though as you seem v v busy and sometimes knackered and ill so have a brew and flowers.
No question, just lots of support and I do a small cheer when you come on the radio or in the press.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:35:21

MarmaladeShatkins

Hello Jack,

What's your favourite biscuit? wink

--She swore in her first post. I like her even better now!--

I have five in front of me at the moment and it's impossible to choose! Errrrrr viennese whirl? That's yummy. chomp

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:35:51

domesticslattern

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your Twitter feed and that Observer article with the heading about you being a "lefty liberal lezza cook". Hurrah!
I worry though as you seem v v busy and sometimes knackered and ill so have a brew and flowers.
No question, just lots of support and I do a small cheer when you come on the radio or in the press.

Thankyou, that's lovely. Have some kisses xxxxx

Mopswerver Wed 05-Mar-14 12:36:17

Jack, you are now the poster girl for Austerity and becoming the darling of the media too which must be a tricky balancing act. Which direction do you think you will you go in with your next book?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:36:30

BlackeyedSusan

bloody hell mnhq that is a lurid orange! makes reading difficult.

tea? you should demand request gin

gin! Where's my gin?! smile Don't give me ideas, I'm dangerous enough on my own...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:37:23

Mopswerver

Jack, you are now the poster girl for Austerity and becoming the darling of the media too which must be a tricky balancing act. Which direction do you think you will you go in with your next book?

I'm actually writing my next book right now, and it's in the same direction as the last - simple basic food using accessible ingredients, non-threatening, non-patronising, well I hope that's how it comes across anyway!

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 05-Mar-14 12:37:37

Late to the party, sorry, and Welcome Jack.

I'd like to ask if you got the chance to speak to Ms Currie off air? Or any of the other participants in the "debate"?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:39:19

BlackeyedSusan

how do you take the costs of fuel into account in the costing of your recipes, (eg tinned beans v soak and cook for 50 minutes)

I just try to use my head and a bit of common sense: chickpeas seem to take an absolute age to cook, up to two hours, so I use them canned. Partly for fuel costs, nobody likes that big bill at the end of the quarter, and partly because I don't often have a spare two hours in my day to babysit a pot of chickpeas... I can't work out everyone's fuel costs, because we all have different suppliers and tarriffs, but I generally try to keep my recipes quick and simple to keep costs down.

letsgotostonehenge Wed 05-Mar-14 12:39:58

Hello Jack, love your blog and recipes, now for the serious question...who is your favourite, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia? grin

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:40:37

teaandcustardcreams

Hi Jack,

Fellow Essex girl here. Really admire everything you're doing to raise awareness of food poverty in Britain. I wondered who is your inspiration? Also, do you have any cheap but healthy ideas/tips for weekday lunches?

Food inspirations are Nigel Slater, Allegra McEvedy, Abel and Cole, Denis Cotter, Sarah Raven.
Political inspirations are Billy Bragg and Hetty Bower.

Go forth and google, because if I start on reasons why I will be here all day!

namechangeagaininnit Wed 05-Mar-14 12:40:48

Hi Jack, hi MNHQ

Any chance you can format the posts so it's easy to see what part of the post is the Q and what part is Jack's A? I'm reading on the app and it's just chunks of text, can't tell what's what. smile

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:42:26

EmpressOfTheWellOfLostPlots

Another question, partly inspired by the current MN thread. As someone who became famous almost by accident, is all this attention (and dissection) something you would have chosen if it was up to you?

Absolutely bloomin not. I wouldn't wish this level of scrutiny on anyone - I didn't 'choose' fame, or whatever this bonkers is, and I've found it extremely difficult to deal with at times. However, I have a great network of supporters and readers who keep my chin up amidst all of the death threats and rape threats and other general bullshit, and I draw my strength from them.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:42:49

letsgotostonehenge

Hello Jack, love your blog and recipes, now for the serious question...who is your favourite, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia? grin

Princess Leia, natch. Coz she's a hottie.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:43:36

Toowittoowoo

As an avid reader of your blog and recipes in The Guardian I have just bought your book (half price in WHSmith - so I hope you still get the same cut from my purchase! ).

Anyway, I wanted to know which of the recipes is you and your son's favourite or which one you cook most often?

We eat your fish tagine from the guardian at least every fortnight as well all love it. My DH was very dubious about a sauce made out tinned tomatoes, tinned mandarins and cumin but we are all agreed that it is seriously delicious.

My favourite: mumma jack's best ever chilli
Son's favourite: peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies
Cook most often: soda bread

smile

letsgotostonehenge Wed 05-Mar-14 12:43:43

grin

Nittynana Wed 05-Mar-14 12:43:52

What sorts of thongs do you and your son do for cheap entertainment?

Hi Jack! You're awesome. I'm in serious danger of coming over all fan-girl.

Where do you see your career going? Given that part of what you do is about cooking and part is about the politics and budgeting etc, could you see yourself doing a TV show where you show people how to cook good value dishes step by step? Like Jamie-but actually good value and not just pretending to be?! I'd watch!

Kormachameleon Wed 05-Mar-14 12:44:41

HI jack
im sorry i dont have a question, i did just want to grab this opportunity to say that i think you are amazing and your son is so incredibly lucky to have you.

The fact that you have made people see that poverty is not the domain of the feckless working class who spend all of their money on fags and booze is so good for society to see.

and i have a little crush on you so was so excited to see you were coming on blush

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:44:49

teaandcustardcreams

Hi Jack,

Fellow Essex girl here. Really admire everything you're doing to raise awareness of food poverty in Britain. I wondered who is your inspiration? Also, do you have any cheap but healthy ideas/tips for weekday lunches?

Soup soup soup soup. I love a bit of soup for lunch, with a chunk of bread and an apple or orange. Or granola for lunch is a good one too, with some fruit on the side. I tend to lunch on the hop, so defrosting some soup from the freezer tends to be the way forward. Or chuck some soup over some pasta. It's all glamour, this life.

Death threats and rape threats angry sad

Ledare Wed 05-Mar-14 12:46:39

Hello Jack.

What are your favourite herbs, and where do you get them?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:46:57

AntoinetteCosway

Hi Jack! You're awesome. I'm in serious danger of coming over all fan-girl.

Where do you see your career going? Given that part of what you do is about cooking and part is about the politics and budgeting etc, could you see yourself doing a TV show where you show people how to cook good value dishes step by step? Like Jamie-but actually good value and not just pretending to be?! I'd watch!

AAAARGGGHHHHH TELLLLLYYYY!!! Tends to be my response, but I'm warming to the idea. I'm okay to roll onto a news sofa and rant and rage about politics, but the idea of a TV series makes me want to weep. You know that 40 second Sainsbos ad was about 12 hours filming to make? If the right thing comes along and I can throw my heart and soul into it - like a good basic budget cooking programme - then I'd do it, but TV execs are too interested in poverty porn and multi layering and they don't really seem to fit with my principles and values. I just want to cook on telly. When they'll let me do that, I'm in.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:48:06

Ledare

Hello Jack.

What are your favourite herbs, and where do you get them?

Mixed dried herbs, 30p, Sainsburys Basics are a godsend. Fresh herbs, I use mint liberally, and it's easy to grow - but a little plant from a garden centre or supermarket - if they can survive with little water under flourescent lighting then they'll live forever at home.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:48:18

Have you been offered your own Bake Off/Masterchef/The Taste type TV show yet?

Is it something you'd be interested in?

Nancy66 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:48:52

Doh. Cross posts re TV question.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:49:11

Nittynana

What sorts of thongs do you and your son do for cheap entertainment?

Thongs?! THONGS?!!! Gosh. I'm not really that sort of girl.

But we tend to lounge about in front of our massive fucking telly with our cheesy chips in styrofoam containers, naturally... Or go to the park, read, paint, draw, bake, make a general mess in the kitchen....

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:49:23

Nancy66

Have you been offered your own Bake Off/Masterchef/The Taste type TV show yet?

Is it something you'd be interested in?

Yes, several, and no, not yet.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:49:49

LuisSuarezTeeth

Late to the party, sorry, and Welcome Jack.

I'd like to ask if you got the chance to speak to Ms Currie off air? Or any of the other participants in the "debate"?

Yes, and what Ms Currie and I said to each other is unprintable, even for Mumsnet.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:50:28

FunLovinBunster

Congratulations on your fab book.
What are your hopes for your son and yourself for the future?
All the best.

To be safe and secure, emotionally and financially. Which we are, just, now, so huzzah.

MarmaladeShatkins Wed 05-Mar-14 12:50:34

You say that nothing has interested you as yet, telly-wise. What would have to be on the table to get you to say yes?

ChrisTheSheep Wed 05-Mar-14 12:50:48

Hi Jack, no question I'm afraid, but I just wanted to add my thanks for the excellent work you gave done on the book and the blog: you're an inspiration! My favourite recipe is your chilli too, by the way, and my little boy also loves the thumbprint cookies (he's actually helping to make them, which is brilliant). I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the book. Hurrah for you!

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 05-Mar-14 12:51:00

grin I figured as much, thanks

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:51:39

BornToFolk

I'm a big fan of the blog! I'm a lone parent to a small boy too so lots of the recipes work really well for us. DS loves the kidney bean, carrot and cumin burgers and my favourite is the pasta with mushy peas (cos I'm classy like that! grin)

Anyway, when I found myself on a reduced income, after splitting from my ex, I found I had to make cut backs to my food budget and be a bit more creative with recipes. I'm an OK cook but I consider myself extremely lucky that I was taught to cook as a child, by my mum and also my Gran, who was a retired Home Economics teacher and an amazing cook. I think that having these basic cooking skills are invaluable when triyng to feed a family on a budget.

So, how did you learn to cook? Are you self-taught, or did someone teach you?

Pretty much self taught, I left home a good few years ago now and explored with recipes on the BBC good food website, recipe books from charity shops, read the backs of jars and ready meals to see what stuff was made of...

Valpollicella Wed 05-Mar-14 12:52:00

grin at 'massive fucking telly'

Gwan, share what you said to her....please? You know we talk about all sorts on here wink grin

MarmaladeShatkins Wed 05-Mar-14 12:52:28

"Yes, and what Ms Currie and I said to each other is unprintable, even for Mumsnet"

Oh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaase?! <begs>

Give her some gin MNHQ. We neeed to know the details.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:53:14

NumTumDeDum

Hi Jack, I wanted to thank you for articulating so eloquently the issues which can lead to anyone falling into poverty. I went from being in a good job to being divorced, having to give up work because I couldn't afford to stay in central London, pay for childcare and eat. In a month I was on income support and made to feel less than worthless. Things have improved for me, but reading your blog helped me through a difficult time because someone else understood. Here's my question: I've struggled to explain why benefit bashing is wrong to friends, to family, who all seem convinced that it must be the person on benefits' fault that they're in that situation - how do you change attitudes when the media seems hellbent on portraying the feckless poor stereotype (e.g bebefits street)?

Just keep challenging the rhetoric and stereotype with the truth and facts. An Ipsos Mori poll recently showed that the public thought 23 per cent of benefits were claimed fraudulently. The actual figure is 0.7 per cent. You need to find the facts and shout them as loudly and as often as you can - with social media and blogs and the internet now, we all have an equal platform for change - don't let certain newspapers or politicians tell you what to think!

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 05-Mar-14 12:53:17

You could PM us?

ChrisTheSheep Wed 05-Mar-14 12:54:15

Oh, and my son particularly asked me to say he really likes "the drawings on your arms" grin.

Ledare Wed 05-Mar-14 12:54:25

Arf at massive fucking telly and cheesy chips. Thanks for answering, Jack.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:54:54

TheJoyfulPuddlejumper

Hi Jack! Your blog has been an absolute lifesaver for my family, DH & I are both unemployed with 2 ravenous children and you've saved us from death by pasta. grin

My question is, do you feel you need to protect your son from all the media attention you get, or are you and his dad fairly laid-back about it?

Oh, and if you had the chance, just how hard would you slap Edwina Currie? wink

I try to protect all of my family as much as possible - but especially my son. He starts school in September so I have put my foot down with the media about taking new photos of him - I want him to be a normal kid at a normal school. I was quite naive in the early days, and of course SB was very much a part of the story, but I don't think we need to see his sweet face accompanying every newspaper article about me...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:55:11

ChrisTheSheep

Oh, and my son particularly asked me to say he really likes "the drawings on your arms" grin.

My son likes them too. Your son has great taste. x

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:55:40

dinkystinky

Hi Jack - what is your absolutely favourite go-to-when-you-have-just-had-the-day-from-hell comfort food?

Sweet potato mash with chilli and cheese. I called it 'tragedy mash' in my book....

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 05-Mar-14 12:57:00

I second the question above about how you feel about money now your circumstances have thankfully improved. Do you feel able to treat yourself from time to time or is frivolous spending a thing of the past?

Received your book last week, can't wait to get stuck in!

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:57:01

Peanutsandwine

I re read your hunger hurts piece when I received your wonderful book this week, and it made me cry (again!). Then I read your follow up in the back of the book.

My question is have you bought a new watch to replace the one you sold during those dark days? Or perhaps you were given a replacement? I hope so.

Brilliant book! I love it :-)

When I got my book advance, I went to buy myself a new watch. t's not an Omega Seamaster - it's a Skagen watch, stainless steel, not too pricey, but I wanted something to mark the occasion of getting my book deal. Er, and I don't know where it is right now...

fs2013 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:57:36

Hi Jack
I confess I didn't know who you were until the live debate (blush)!
However, just wanted to say I thought you were brill on that! x

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:57:46

NatashaBee

*tries to think of intelligent question*

I love your blog and recipes, have ordered your book although it's going to take a while to get here as I live in the US. I know you post on Mumsnet from time to time as I've seen you pop up on a thread about you to defend yourself. What was your favourite Mumsnet thread? grin

The one about the bedside cup...... Hahahahahaha.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:57:53

do you have any take on this whole 'sugar is the new cocaine' hysteria that seems to have gripped the media?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 12:59:51

EmLH

I received your book this week and wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to shop cheaper and cook better. I have made the carrot & cumin burgers, lentil bolognese (so so good!) and white choc and tea bread and all were well received. Have the beer and sultana bread proving as I type! Surprisingly, my meat loving DH has really liked the veggie recipes so I am really pleased and feel it's a great way to make him healthier. My questions are:

Can you use tinned lentils instead of dried in, for example, the daal? Or does it change the recipe?

Also, is there a book two in the pipeline? I would def buy it!

As an aside, I've noticed that there's no salt (or pepper) in your recipes. Is this on purpose for health reasons?

Yes to tinned lentils, just cook them for a shorter time period as they will have been sitting in water so will just need heating through.

Book two is in my handbag and I am loving working on it.

NO salt or pepper firstly because I didn't have any when I was blogging and they didn't feature too highly on my essentials list. Now I have them in, I rarely use them, but a good grind of pepper and a pinch of salt on some gooey scrambled eggs is worth having it in the house....

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:01:12

Nancy66

do you have any take on this whole 'sugar is the new cocaine' hysteria that seems to have gripped the media?

Ha. Hmm. My take on it is: sugar tastes good. Too much of it isn't great for you. But if I don't have sugar in my morning coffee then I am a grouchy awful person, so a little sugar is essential in restoring equilibrium in the world...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:02:10

HomeHelpMeGawd

Dear Jack

Thank you for your really fabulous blog and advocacy. I believe you have changed the terms of the debate.

My question is not really one for answering, and more a plea: will you please make sure to take care of your and your son's financial security with the extra income you're generating? It's amazing that you are willing to give so much away to good causes, but please please do create a buffer for yourself as well.

Yes, I'm doing okay, I manage to pay myself the living wage every month and have a few months wages tucked away in case of disaster/mass sacking from all my columns/other...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:03:32

Oodhousekeeping

You said in your book you still try to keep food spend low , what is your luxury food now and what was it then?

It used to be lobster. USED TO BE. When I had money to burn and stuff. Now it's avocado. I love avocado, I hadn't had one for years until I had one mashed on toast for breakfast the other morning, and it all came flooding back. I think my death row dinner would be an avocado. £1 a pop. I'm still a pretty cheap date...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:05:45

Anonymai

Hi Jack!

My question is:

Now that you have money coming in again, do you feel pressured not to spend it frivolously or on things you don't necessarily "need" due to having so many people on low incomes looking up to you?

I think i probably have a different definition of frivolity these days. I bought a packet of peanut M&Ms for a train journey three days ago and they are still next to my bed because I'm ekeing them out. I'm not a money martyr, I just went for so long with so little that I'm not too fussed on 'stuff' any more - but it's nice to know when my boots broke that I could go and buy a new pair. I just do what feels right.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:07:13

NettoSuperstar

Hi Jack, I have your book, preorderd it on Amazon and have tried two recipes so far, loved both.

Anyway, what I'd like to ask is what is your splurge meal now your finances have picked up?

AVOCADO. On or with anything. I always feel horrendously naughty buying an avocado. I squeeeeeeeze them all gently in the supermarket to get the slightly overripe and soft one, so I can take it home and halve it and dig it out with a spoon...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:08:09

EmpressOfTheWellOfLostPlots

Hi Jack.

My family enjoyed your bolognon so much that we've bought the book and I'm trying to decide where to start... What's your favourite recipe out of the ones in the book, and how did you decide which ones to include?

Thank you!

Soda bread because it's simple, and bread is one of those artisan wanky things that David Cameron makes. And I'm all - yeah, I see your £139 bread maker and I raise you my HANDS. Take THAT.

Thanks for answering!

Another question - how do you cope with being seen and portrayed so differently by different parts of society/the press? It seems that you're either a hero, a saviour, a sex symbol or the devil incarnate?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:09:41

Meglet

Hi Jack.

First I want to say keep up the good work in speaking up for the least well off in society. Another feckless single mother here wink.

What does your son enjoy cooking? Have you catered for one of his birthday parties yet, and if so what did you serve up?

no official catering, but it's his birthday in three weeks time and i'm sure there will be little pizzas, cakes and biscuits that he can decorate with his friends, home made sausage rolls, an absolute motherfucker of a cake because i'm one of THOSE mothers... I'll blog it, keep your eyes peeled...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:11:47

TheJoyfulPuddlejumper

Thanks for answering!

Another question - how do you cope with being seen and portrayed so differently by different parts of society/the press? It seems that you're either a hero, a saviour, a sex symbol or the devil incarnate?

I quite like the idea of being a sexy, heroic, devil incarnate. Phwoarrrrr. But all things in context, I know that people with different political allegiances or views will like or hate me - and you have to figure out what someone's agenda is before you figure out how seriously to take their comments. The rape threats and abuse tend to come from people whose twitter bios say 'conservative' or 'thatcherite'...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:12:43

shrunkenhead

Think all my questions have already been asked by fellow mumsnetters, just wanted to say what an inspiration you've been to me and to thank you for highlighting just how easy it is to go from having a good job to being on benefits and that many of us fall into the situation because of bad luck.
And I was horrified at the rudeness of Egg Curry towards you on the debate, I specifically tuned in to hear what you had to say only to find she wouldn't let you speak! Yes, just how hard would you like to slap that woman?!

I don't believe slapping is the answer. I think she needs a cuddle. A biiiiiiig cuddle. There, there... Shhhh....

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:15:03

DarlingGrace

Hi Jack - I've intermittently read your blog and know how you ended up from a high flier to low income...do you think embracing education and being widely read allowed you to resource cheaper food stuffs and combine that with nutrition?

I only ask because low income is usually synonymous with lower educational standards and it needn't be so

I only got four and a half gcses, ironically a D grade in food technology, so don't think I'm that well educated! But i've always been interested in food, and explored and experimented with it for years before I had to survive on such a low budget, so I think having some experience of cooking under my belt definitely helped.

Upandatem Wed 05-Mar-14 13:15:22

Thanks for being out, it makes a difference.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:15:51

Kormachameleon

HI jack
im sorry i dont have a question, i did just want to grab this opportunity to say that i think you are amazing and your son is so incredibly lucky to have you.

The fact that you have made people see that poverty is not the domain of the feckless working class who spend all of their money on fags and booze is so good for society to see.

and i have a little crush on you so was so excited to see you were coming on blush

That's really nice, but I can recommend a good optician. Unless scruffy little girl things with James Dean complexes are your thing, in which case, crack on. x

I quite like the idea of being a sexy, heroic, devil incarnate. Phwoarrrrr.

You could have a cape and everything! <gets carried away>

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:16:57

Upandatem

Thanks for being out, it makes a difference.

Yeah it took a while, but I got to a point where everyone seemed to know everything else about me apart from one of the most important things, i love women. (One, specifically...). I started writing that post about gay pride and it was only before I hit publish that I realised it would be my coming out post. And no regrets. I'm proud of who I am!

Phwoarrrrr indeed....

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:18:37

lavesh

Hi Jack, just a thank you for being brave enough to tough out the inevitable right wing backlash from the privileged media/political elites who would love for people like you and Owen Jones to stop being so inconvenient! I know I wouldn't be brave enough to do so.

My question is did you join WHOGA when you left WHSG? I would've rather stabbed my own eyes out grin

No, I tried to but never heard back. They haven't been in touch either - although SHSG got in touch a while ago to check I wasn't one of theirs, which was nice. smile

And yes, thank you for coming out.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:19:25

MarmaladeShatkins

You say that nothing has interested you as yet, telly-wise. What would have to be on the table to get you to say yes?

Simple basic budget cooking show. Basically a televised version of my blog.

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:20:19

TheJoyfulPuddlejumper

^I quite like the idea of being a sexy, heroic, devil incarnate. Phwoarrrrr.^

You could have a cape and everything! <gets carried away>

Don't give me ideas. I'm erratic enough. Currently sitting here in leather trousers and the biggest hair in the world, a cape would earn me an entry in the DM sidebar of shame....

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:21:18

Valpollicella

grin at 'massive fucking telly'

Gwan, share what you said to her....please? You know we talk about all sorts on here wink grin

She hissed at me about my sainsburys deal, I called her a word that rhymes with runt, she followed me out hissing a bit, I runted back, Owen took me to the pub. ;)

Have you always called yourself Jack ?
Nice name BTW, I think it suits you

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 05-Mar-14 13:22:27

Marvellous grin
I'd have paid to see that

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:24:14

JugglingFromHereToThere

Have you always called yourself Jack ?
Nice name BTW, I think it suits you

It's always been a nickname, but I changed it officially a few years ago. Before all this kicked off! But I like it. And I get lots of girls called Jack getting in touch, so I'm not as unique as I thought I was...

Valpollicella Wed 05-Mar-14 13:24:53

Nice one <high fives>

grin

guinnessgirl Wed 05-Mar-14 13:24:54

Jack, I want to thank you for speaking out about your experiences of poverty. It really can happen to anyone, and when I'm debating with idiots ego spend their lives in denial of this, I can point to you as proof positive that the system is broken. Plus, I have a huge girl crush on you!

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:25:20

EmpressOfTheWellOfLostPlots

And yes, thank you for coming out.

You're welcome. I think it's important that people should be allowed to be exactly who they are in the public eye. I'm no less myself just because people are watching. Loud and proud lady lover, mm hmm. smile

Jack you should have used the MN phrase "Did you mean to be so rude?"

actually, you could use my phrase, are you always such a cunt?

It works much better

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:25:58

guinnessgirl

Jack, I want to thank you for speaking out about your experiences of poverty. It really can happen to anyone, and when I'm debating with idiots ego spend their lives in denial of this, I can point to you as proof positive that the system is broken. Plus, I have a huge girl crush on you!

Thankyou. And I just got to a point where I realised nobody was really talking about it. Then I realised I was somebody. I started talking. I'm not going to stop. x

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:26:20

TantrumsAndBalloons

Jack you should have used the MN phrase "Did you mean to be so rude?"

actually, you could use my phrase, are you always such a cunt?

It works much better

Rhetorical question though, surely.

DoctorTwo Wed 05-Mar-14 13:26:48

You called her a cunt? Well done, I bet there are loads of us who'd have paid good money to see that! grin

MissAnnersleyismyhero Wed 05-Mar-14 13:26:52

So where can you buy cumin for 2p grin

How do you cope with the incessant Guardian comments...? They give me the rage, I've had to stop reading them!

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:27:58

fs2013

Hi Jack
I confess I didn't know who you were until the live debate (blush)!
However, just wanted to say I thought you were brill on that! x

Thankyou. I got 30k new Twitter followers after that debate, so I'm guessing you weren't the only one who first came across me effing and blinding on Channel 5!!

grin
Feel free to ignore this question but you said in your blog that the bolognon was created for Someone Very Special. Did she enjoy it?

Faverolles Wed 05-Mar-14 13:28:32

God yes, how do you get past twatty comments? Do you constantly have the rage?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:29:01

MissAnnersleyismyhero

So where can you buy cumin for 2p grin

How do you cope with the incessant Guardian comments...? They give me the rage, I've had to stop reading them!

Jar of cumin for £1 at most supermarkets (some are 50p, depends where you go) so a scant half teaspoon works out at about 2-4p...blah blah. I love the Guardian comments. Read them aloud in a Hyacinth Bucket or Victor Meldrew voice for a whole afternoon's entertainment...

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:29:27

EmpressOfTheWellOfLostPlots

grin
Feel free to ignore this question but you said in your blog that the bolognon was created for Someone Very Special. Did she enjoy it?

Yes, she did, and I don't know if it was the bolognon or not but we are Extremely Happy. smile

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:30:18

Faverolles

God yes, how do you get past twatty comments? Do you constantly have the rage?

Oh no, life is too short to let pedants and arseholes make you cross. The Government makes me cross. Being asked where a 2p stock cube comes from makes me roll my eyes... (20p for 10, sainsburys basics)

Wonderful. Congratulations wine

Gremlingirl Wed 05-Mar-14 13:31:10

No question (sorry) but have just bought your book on the back of reading this webchat! Hope you will buy an avocado or two with the royalties from it grin

Follow up question. Do you think cumin might be the best spice, or do you have other favourites?

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:32:58

Gremlingirl

No question (sorry) but have just bought your book on the back of reading this webchat! Hope you will buy an avocado or two with the royalties from it grin

Yay! I reckon my royalties from that book stretch to a whole avocado. Thankyou in advance for the pleasure... x

JackMonroe Wed 05-Mar-14 13:33:24

JugglingFromHereToThere

Follow up question. Do you think cumin might be the best spice, or do you have other favourites?

Cumin is my everything spice, tagines, curry, etc (i'm being naughty and replying after half one now)... other faves are turmeric and paprika.. x

What type of stupid question is "where do you buy a 2p stock cube?"

IS it beyond some people to work out that that, since you cannot actually buy one stock cube, then that is a bloody idiotic question?

If i were you I spend my whole day calling people twats, I dont know how you put up with it.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 05-Mar-14 13:37:50

ahh but tantrums that would require maths.. hmm

I will buy myself a jar of cumin and experiment smile

it would require common sense, which seems to lacking in some people grin

KateHMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Mar-14 13:41:42

Hi everyone,

Jack has just been dragged off to do some filming... grin

Thanks so much for all the brilliant questions. She's signed a copy of A Girl Called Jack for one lucky MNer, head over to Twitter and follow @MumsnetBookClub for your chance to snag the copy!

thanks thanks thanks

Nothing amazing to add or say except that an anagram of Edwina currie is A Wirier Dunce. Fitting.

Valpollicella Wed 05-Mar-14 13:43:45

Well that was just lovely. Bye Jack! (or see you around the boards?)

LtEveDallas Wed 05-Mar-14 13:44:07

Fair play, this is one of the best webchats ever on MN.

Jack, I had a minor falling out with Jamie Oliver over his 'cooking on a budget' schtick. He was very nice and all, and sent me a book to give to my niece - but we found that she couldn't afford 90% of the stuff he thought she could be cooking. It was a lovely gesture, but ultimately wasted.

As a result of that webchat I was introduced to your Blog by some far more savvy MNers - and my niece is now cooking and eating (and more importantly affording) decent food. So thank you, seriously and from the bottom of my heart (I don't do soppy, but, well...)

LuisSuarezTeeth Wed 05-Mar-14 13:44:11

Just had a look at some of the Guardian comments - truly awesome grin

"Where can I buy a pinch of cinnamon for 2p"

BlackeyedSusan Wed 05-Mar-14 13:48:48

common sense, yes... not so common though.

pinch of cinnamon, fabulous. grin

This has been such a good webchat-I think you've answered nearly everyone's questions. Lots of people who come on only answer a handful so thank you thanks

Going to buy your book now.

Faverolles Wed 05-Mar-14 13:51:04

I agree this has been one of the best web chats. Thanks for setting it up smile

MarmaladeShatkins Wed 05-Mar-14 13:54:14

Ahhhh, she was lovely.

A few of the 'proper' celebs we've had on could take lessons in humour and manners from her. smile

Oodhousekeeping Wed 05-Mar-14 13:56:01

Fab chat, sorry it missed it live. also wishing I'd seen you take on EC

BornToFolk Wed 05-Mar-14 14:02:56

Great webchat! The Book People have Jack's book for �4.99 at the mo (and free delivery if you spend over �10). I'm ordering a copy today.

Whoateallthecheese Wed 05-Mar-14 14:13:28

Love. Her. She is all kinds of amazing. I'm really sorry I missed this.

JustAfloat Wed 05-Mar-14 14:53:18

I like her even more after that webchat smile

She's so lovely.

DoctorTwo Wed 05-Mar-14 17:15:07

Is Jack the first webchatter (?) to swear? She was brilliant today.

WilsonFrickett Wed 05-Mar-14 17:44:50

Oh LtEve I remember your DN (and your Jamie chat grin) really glad Jack's book is working out for her.

I luff Jack.

Kormachameleon Wed 05-Mar-14 18:47:46

well it is safe to say that she has done nothing to dampen my crush.

id leave my husband for her blush
bloody awesome and i hope this is the start of a very successful and prosperous life for Jack and her son

Hotbot Wed 05-Mar-14 19:22:31

Bollocks can't find working link of debate can Anyone help,,,,,

LtEveDallas Wed 05-Mar-14 19:34:11

Thanks Wilson, MNers were great for me then, I'd never heard of Jack Monroe before then and it really helped.

bishbashboosh Wed 05-Mar-14 20:15:42

i ordered the book today, I so cannot wait to get it!!!

domesticslattern Wed 05-Mar-14 21:29:52

Well that went better than (ahem) the car crash Jamie Oliver one last year. Which ended 100 pages later with people recommending Jack Monroe recipes to one another.
grin

Ledare Wed 05-Mar-14 21:43:12

And Jack advised me to buy or grow herbs as opposed to stealing fresh rosemary from local parks.

Well done Jack - sorry I missed the live chat. A lot of hard work must have gone into this.

MrsJoeDolan Wed 05-Mar-14 23:25:58

ordered the book! cant wait!

sanssoleil Thu 06-Mar-14 00:33:36

I think that this is the first webchat that the character and personality of the guest blazed through.

I hope Jack is invited back and soon.

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 06-Mar-14 17:49:04

It's a bit sad to admit, but I am v excited that Jack replied to my very own post.

And I am jaw-droppingly impressed by her decision to just pay herself the living wage and put a few months' salary aside as a buffer. There is a saying in Judaism, "Wealth is the greater test of character than poverty". How many of us pass with such grace? Not me, that's for sure.

CecyHall Thu 06-Mar-14 17:52:45

I know I'm much too late to this chat, but I just bought Jack's book and I'm so pleased, it's exactly what I've been after- normal, easy to cook healthy meals with ingredients that I actually have and will use again (unlike the weird spices I've bought before and used a half a spoonful of with other books). The best thing is that most of the recipes are for 2 or 4 people- so many books seem to have recipes for 8 people which puts me off. Jack is also clear with how long things will last in the fridge or freezer which is so useful.

It's the first time in ages I've felt so inspired to make things in a cook book!

Mignonette Thu 06-Mar-14 18:08:09

Bollocks that I missed it. Bollocks bollocks bollocks.

She does post on the boards sometimes too though!

Snog Fri 07-Mar-14 17:57:18

Jack Monroe's webchat - full marks
Sheherazade Goldsmith's - nil points
Love you Jack thanks

YoniMatopoeia Fri 07-Mar-14 19:36:19

Now that is how a webchat should be done.

Brilliant stuff Jack.

WutheringYikes Sat 08-Mar-14 13:47:45

Ordered the book after reading the webchat. I consider myself to be a pretty good cook - but I hugely over complicate and use far too many ingredients.
Jacks book has reminded me how simple cooking can be just as tasty and the recipes are nice and easy for a toddler to assist with!

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