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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.

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


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


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


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


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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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


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


*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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

PeggyCarter Wed 05-Mar-14 13:09:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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


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


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'...

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