Last word: You’re only an expert in what you know.

So, it’s been a bit of a furious week. Between that scrap over the Left Futures piece, to receiving 200 tweets from the same person in 24 hours that repeated how privileged I was and how dare I complain about it, to writing an article for the Independent on “massivefuckingtelly”gate, and now I’ve just rolled off the BBC Breakfast sofa, from talking to a doctor called Ann about the hot topic, televisions, again, and opened my emails to find that someone had sent me two things.

The first was an article by Stephen Fry, which I nodded at all the way through. The second was a screen shot of a tweet by Caitlin Moran. More on those in a minute.

Firstly, readers and people on my Facebook page often thank me for saying “what they were thinking” or “speaking for then”, but as Naga said to me on the breakfast sofa this morning, you’re only there as an expert on what you know. I don’t speak for anyone other than myself. I know that I went to a grammar school, left at 16 with a handful of qualifications, had a few minimum wage jobs in retail and coffee shops before landing a brilliant job with the Fire Service as a control operator. I know that when I fell pregnant, I had some difficult choices to make. I know that I applied for flexible working policies, that I looked into nursery places near to my work instead of my home, and that moving closer to work would have meant losing my support network of friends and family thirty miles away – unhelpful when you’re often late leaving work as major incidents kick off, road traffic collisions pile up, and the weather – ice, excessive heat, flooding and snow – all have their own effects on emergency cover across the county. I know that I spent almost a year and a half unemployed, and that I hit somewhere between hell and rock bottom, again and again and again. But you’re only an expert in what you know.

I’m grateful for Twitter followers and Facebook likers and blog readers that take the time to explain what they’re experts in, too. One person patiently talks me through difficulties that she has following my recipes, because a plug in hob and needing to buy pre-chopped vegetables, mean that it’s not quite as simple as it looks. I hope that by responding to her queries, I am in some small way, making a difference.

As a freelance writer, which is as good a description of what I do as any, I take the jobs that are offered to me. Especially in this industry, where I am still owed money from features written in May, and at the time of writing, no less than EIGHT newspapers/magazines/television companies owe me money (for articles I’ve written for them, not articles they’ve written about me). So when a newspaper or magazine gets in touch and asks me to write 800 words in an hour, I drop whatever I’m doing, and write it. It’s how I earn a living. I don’t expect people with secure desk jobs to understand that I don’t write articles and send them off, I write articles that I’m telephoned and asked to write – but then, you’re only an expert on what you know.

A food photographer that I greatly admire mused on Twitter this morning that “that Jack Monroe is going to start p*ssing people off soon.” I’m unsurprised. I’ve been p*ssing people off since I started writing my blog – given that it was started as a counter to a Tory councillor pontificating that “druggies, drunks and single mums are ruining the town”, is anyone surprised that I’m a little bit feisty?

The Caitlin Moran tweet that I was sent in my email inbox wasn’t tweeted to me, but it serves as a reminder that no matter what you do, no matter who you are, people will knock you down. “The abuse is just exhausting and endless”, she said. “It really, really fucks with your head.” Yes, it does. Yes it does.

As Stephen Fry said re a certain national newspaper, the media very good at constructing a fake coconut, and then knocking it down, and claiming a prize for doing so. The “fake coconut” in this scenario was addressed in yesterday’s Comment Is Free article, the idea that austerity cooking has been hijacked by the moralisers. Commenters queued up to take their swipes, at the rich, the poor, the lentils and the lager – and yes, comment is free. Freedom of speech is invaluable. But freedom of speech should not be used to perpetuate lies and myths, and that’s where Angry Bird stepped in. AB was angry over being misrepresented in the Left Futures piece. AB was angry when a celebrity chef used a terrible example of class snobbery to make a point about food culture in the UK. AB was angry when her Twitter feed filled up with endless, exhausting abuse from anonymous, faceless accounts. Every time that phone flashes up a Twitter notification, I sink a little inside.

People have been in touch in droves these past few days to tell me that I was too hard on Jamie, that I’ve messed up, that I’m wrong. And those are the politer things that were said. But whether he was a TV chef or an Army general, I would have lambasted anyone who undermined the issues of food poverty by implying that it was because of “massive f***ing telly”s. I don’t speak for everyone, in the same way that nobody speaks for me – I don’t have a PR team, or an outsourced company dealing with my Twitter feed. I read and answer my own emails, Facebook page, blog, and Twitter feed – which means I also read first hand the abuse, the name calling, the pontifications about my weight and appearance, the swipes and the sneers. I’ve considered leaving Twitter a few times, as the death threats from middle aged white men with England flags as avatars poured in when I came out as gay, and with the torrent of abuse following the Independent article. But I’m here to stay.

I started as an angry bird with an opinion blog, and I’m still an angry bird with an opinion blog. Sorry if you came for the recipes and didn’t like it when you found out that the gingham apron had claws. But you’re only an expert in what you know.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:

Categories: Blog


  1. Well said Jack. Always be true to yourself, you have no reason to justify yourself to others. Keep doing what you do. L x

    • Jack — I mostly just lurk appreciatively, but it sounds like you’ve had a rough week.

      You are angry — that’s sane and sensible. It’s cliched, but true: if you’re not angry, you’ve not been paying attention. You’re in no danger of forgetting that. If you are hated by people with more power than you — it’s exhausting and horrible — but try not to forget that it means you’re doing something right. Which you are — both in terms of challenging the dominant narrative that poverty is primarily self-inflicted, and in terms of providing people with practical ways to survive in a hostile world.

      You do great work. Kia kaha stay strong.

    • I’ve only just discovered your blog today after belatedly reading about you in last month’s Waitrose magazine this morning. Yes, I do shop at Waitrose sometimes – particularly in the evening when you can get some amazing reductions! – but I also shop at Lidl and (only if desperate) Morrisons. I would probably be categorised as comfortably off but as a Scot from very working-class roots I can’t abide over-priced food (or anything else for that matter) and I can’t stand waste. So I am very much looking forward to exploring your website further . So far I like what I see and I say all power to you, it looks to me like you are doing yourself and your son proud. You go girl.

  2. AB, I hear you. I have been Another AB today, on all of the topics you cover here. and also some others. (Fat shaming and bullying, mainly.)
    Thank you for what you do. Why you do it, and that you still carry on doing it.
    Success to you, and power to you.

  3. You are truly an inspiration, and I love your no nonsense attitude in dealing with these jesters of society! Keep it up girl, you are a voice of the “real people” that is finally being heard!

  4. I hope you get as many positive comments as negative ones. I love what you have to say and have yet to disagree with anything. I think you’re brave and deserve to have a good life after the hellish time you’ve had. Stay strong and grow a thick skin against the detractors.

  5. You really should be in politics Jack (with apologies for wishing that upon you).

    I cam see the headlines now:

    “Jack Monroe & Guido Fawkes – The only people to enter the houses of parliament with honest intentions”

  6. I’m a newcomer to both your blog and Twitter, and what I’ve read has been inspiring. I’ve been at the point where you were – I remember spending my lowest point under two duvets in the evening with no money for gas and £5 for electricity for several weeks during the coldest point of the year with nothing but a bag of pasta and a box of vegetable gravy to eat, but that was with a full time job and no children (long story). What matters is that your story not only inspired others, it gives those in similar situations hope that things can get better. It’s taken me years of hard work to get myself back on my feet. Congrats on all your success…

  7. Get used to not being paid by magazines and newspapers….well, certainly not being paid as quickly as we need to be paid. I spent a large part of my career as a freelance photographer just waiting to be paid….the media believe that you are extremely privileged to be asked to work for them, not that you’re a talent and that they’re lucky to have you, and that without people like you they wouldn’t sell any copies of their stuff. The sad bit is that the only people who take any notice of work like yours are the people who can’t do anything much to change it.

  8. You stick your head above the parapet and I admire you and others who do that. I wouldn’t’t have the emotional fortitude to put up with an endless tirade of hate or inanity. I hope you find strength to carry on from those who don’t have the courage or capacity to speak out.

  9. I love your blog, Jack. I’m with you on almost everything. If you ever find yourself in Sheffield, come for tea! Seriously.

  10. I love it! You stay strong, Jack, and you stay angry. Well, you know, be happy, too (and I wish you all the best in your marriage!). You can’t be angry all the time, obviously, that’s just exhausting, but I love that you channel your anger this way – by doing something meaningful. It’s inspiring!

  11. Your blog is fantastic and your recipes are delicious! Please keep doing what you. Don’t let the negativity drag you down as you have a lot more “likers” than “haters”

  12. You’ve handled this brilliantly. The thing is, I don’t think Jamie Oliver is coming out as an expert in anything other than promoting himself. He might be a brilliant chef. He might have opinions, He might feel he can better the situations of people, but that doesn’t mean his suggestions are correct.

    Example: fresh produce vs frozen. I am not talking about frozen chips, but frozen sweet corn, green beans, unsweetened fruit, ect. Unless you are growing your own, picking it and preparing it or you go to a farm shop, chances are that “fresh” veg you buy (whether at the market or Tesco) is not as fresh as frozen or even tinned. This degradation of nutritional value increases when you’re talking about imported our out of season fruit and veg. Jamie should (and probably does) know about this, but there is a disconnect between his probably genuine desire to help and offering the most healthy, cost effective ways of providing it.

    I’ve seen a lot of people dismiss your criticisms over the past few days that most poor people eating chips in front of their telly aren’t destitute. But simple biological facts about the degradation of nutrients and cost effectiveness apply whether your budget is £10 a week or £50. The insistence that going to the market is the solution is a middle class misguided one. Sure, I love fresh veg, but what is marketed as fresh isn’t exactly always fresh.

    Someone on Facebook took umbrage to me calling Jamie classist, but he is. As is all the moralising comments about the poor being lazy or ignorant. I will stop with the class war stuff when it stops being something that clouds real solutions.

    You’ve handled this marvellously. And yes, you open yourself up for abuse when stand up and speak your mind. I am sure JO is feeling a bit of the same way as you do. The difference lies in which opinion is more levelheaded and offers real solutions, regardless of if JO’s “heart is in the right place”.

    • At best, Jamie is another well meaning but slightly naïve very affluent Middle class person offering trite ‘solutions’ and unhelpful comments about an issue he has never personally had to deal with, like so many other privileged types. At worst, he is again putting the boot in and I find whichever view you take it is typically Middle class because it is playing both ends off against the middle. To those who are well meaning his comments are bland, to those who like to jeer and have contempt for poor people they can be perceived in a more unpleasant way. He’s made his £150million fortune, maybe it would be nice for someone else to get a look in hey, not the usual Middle class eccentric from a posh background pretending to be something they are not to sell books, but someone real for a change? Perhaps the BBC or some other channel will make a series of Jack’s recipes or some other poor person living or who has lived in real poverty instead of the usual affluent types. Which social group actually pays the majority of the BBC licence fee and yet are the most unrepresented? Working class people. Who now pays proportionately more tax? If they are lucky to have a job, poor people, the rich and affluent seem able to effortlessly dodge tax I’ve noticed. When we start demanding a more level playing field and at least are prepared to blog and debate and bring these issues up again and again eventually they cannot be ignored. It’s ok for Middle class people to be contemptuous of poor people and Working class people but somehow we have to swallow it and accept it because if we react we are the envious, the jealous, the troublemakers. It’s time we started to tackle all these cosy Middle class myths and tackled them and class prejudice in the same way racism and homophobia and all other kinds of prejudice are tackled. Because class is a major part of the problem, and don’t let anyone tell you it is a side issue because it isn’t. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

  13. Thank you. Please keep on, keeping on, doing what you do as your voice and your story is so important. All our stories are important. It’s when we try to shoe horn people into generalised stereotypes so that we no longer see the human being and their individual set of circumstances that it gets nasty and we lose the will to understand . So thank you for reminding us of your very story and your very human set of circumstances and choices. I’m only sorry you have to endure so much rubbish along the way.

    • ‘All our stories are important. It’s when we try to shoe horn people into generalised stereotypes so that we no longer see the human being and their individual set of circumstances that it gets nasty and we lose the will to understand .’

      Yes, and that’s the worst thing about all prejudice, that people are dismissed or diminished because they are perceived to be inferior or lesser for some reason, and then they can be patronised or despised and their suffering or poverty or hardship justified in some way. All prejudice has to be justified in some way, however illogical.

  14. I could leave a comment discussing the Jamie Oliver comments and general perception of people in poverty but it would only be agreeing with all you’ve previously said. Instead I’d just like to tell you to carry on doing what you’re doing. We need people like you who will get angry, get people talking, and not go away. People will abuse you because they don’t like someone telling them that their perceptions are wrong, and they don’t want to look beyond their rosy lives and accept that there are people who are poor and desperate for reasons other than laziness, fecklessness and spending all their money on big TVs. You’re an inspiration, and we need more like you. Keep on going.

  15. I love what you write, Jack. People who mean well, who get complacent and don’t think things through properly but talk in stereotypes instead, and are insulated from what you’ve faced so recently, and *are* still facing, well, lets just say I’d rather read you than them. I’m not an AB any more, but thats just about me and the water thats gone under my bridge. I like your stuff, I like your viewpoint, your clarity, your level headedness.

  16. This is something I tell my kids if they get their peers telling untruths about them: if you know you’re right, no matter what others say, and how many say it, it doesn’t change the fact that you are right and that you should continue to hold on to the truth. I’m not saying I’ve quite learned this lesson myself, because negativity from people does get me down (and I would think it gets anyone down who has feelings), but Jack, you are so so right and with a talent to put it into just the right words. As soon as the Jamie Oliver quotes hit my inbox, I was furious for the patronising, judgemental and sweeping nature of them, that just feed into the stereotyes that blame the poor and justify the rich, rather than getting rid of poverty in a rich country and giving people the tools to do the best they can in the current sorry state of affairs. He’s done himself and his valuable campaigns a lot of damage. And he needs to realise that. And such nonsense cannot be left unchallenged.

  17. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

    Fight the good fight and keep a smile on your face. I am an expert on that…


  18. I missed you on the TV but you are right, you can only speak of what you know and experience. People, unfortunately, will always criticise, support or ignore and it hurts when they are nasty, personal, or superior. But they are not you, living your life, and I pray for a happy future for the three of you.

  19. Brlliant piece Jack, keep on being honest and doing what you do, there will always be the begrudgers, except now they hide behind the anonymity of fake twitter accounts. You’ve got more supporters than begrudgers xx

  20. Please keep on being an Angry Bird because that’s what’s needed right now. Keep speaking up on your specialist subjects because there is so much tripe talked about it by the well-meaning as well as the evil-minded that we need something to counter the ignorance about the reality of poverty.

  21. Hi Jack, yet another well written piece. Enlightening for those of us not working in the media how these things operate for you as a freelance writer. I admit I find your anger scary, but I know it is the fuel that keeps you working and fighting for you and SB. You have a gift of expression which is the envy of some and the inspiration of others. Keep on telling it like it is.

  22. Hi, Jack – I`m not of the Tw*tter or Facebook generation, so haven`t seen the abuse you`ve received. I only read the replies on your blog, and 99% of those are positive and supportive. I hope you can rise above all the nasties, and feel the vibes from us, your appreciative fans.

  23. I thought you would get some flack for daring to lambaste Jamie National-Institution-Oliver over his perfectly-timed-for-PR comment.
    What you wrote makes perfect sense to me and JO is clearly out to sell his new series/book. He hasn’t got a clue.

    There are so many people ready to pontificate at the drop of a hat, who play at living like those they wish to educate; and they invariably know better.
    But they don’t.
    They don’t live it and they seem to forget they’re getting paid to pretend they do.

    You have become the vocal (and eloquent) representation that shit can happen to anyone.
    Some lucky ones will never have to find out what it’s like to have a reasonably-balanced life thrown out of kilter through a random decision taken by a faceless jobsworth.

    You bring sense and rightful indignation to the debate because it happened to you.
    Others just pontificate and moralise before they go home to their effing massive home-cinema and Waitrose shopping.

    • Don’t knock Waitrose – they are a co-operative – just back from there having enjoyed a free coffee, free paper and some bargain chillis

      • I only reference Waitrose in context, as that’s where JO’s wife was pictured shopping last year…

        Good for you though! 🙂 Everyone should pick bargains where they can find them!

      • They are but ethical doesn’t always come cheap. I remember shopping there as a student when why briefly bought out the local Safeway from Morrison’s (same place is now a Wilkinson’s!) but mostly because I was too lazy to climb the hill to Kwik Save…

      • their mark down item are pretty good. they are my closest store so if i run out of milk or bread, then i can walk there in 10mins – need the car to get to anywhere cheaper so would defeat the point in spending petrol. keep meaning to get one of the cards so i can nab a free coffee one day!

  24. You hit the nail on the head every time, and re: Fry reference, I nod my head all the way through your passionate posts. Bugger the ignorant who dont ‘get it’. We your admiring followers do get it. So keep standing up for what you believe in. And congratulations on your engagement 🙂

  25. U go girl. It’s refreshing 4 some1 2 stand up against the world & say what they think. U will always have those that will try & knock u off ur soapbox or want u 2 shut up but by the same token u will have people who will agree with & support those who have the balls & the platforms 2 speak out. If ur getting a reaction ur doing something right.

    Sent from my HTC

  26. Your words are inspiration jack and I for one am also so sick of hearing just the 1side of a biggots arguement . The day when people understand both sides will be a good day and it takes people like you to point out what it is really like .I notice you say that when you get a twitter notification you sink a little more ,i can understand where you are coming from but also if they are abusive then that just shows them to be the biggots they are .They refuse to see what life is like for every person who struggles with what is thrown at them everyday . Keep up the good work jack and I cannot wait for the next installment from such a fantastic and wonderful person.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. Jack, you’re making people wake up to something they dont want to admit to – that poverty exists in the UK today and that children are going to bed hungry in the UK today. This messes with their minds and so its all your fault for daring to be so damn cheeky and bringing the nasty facts right to their doorstep. Dont lose hope, keep banging at the door of the powers that be, and know that those who send nasty Twitter messages are just little people.

  27. Jamie Oliver had a point about the diet, but the crass telly comment was irrelevant. Chips and cheese from a chip shop is expensive food. The market suggestion was stupid too (though there are many areas which have a fairly cheap ethnic supermarket for fresh stuff.

    I don’t care whether I agree with every word you write – as you say, we all have our own experiences – but you’re doing a great job, and I hope the comments you’ve had here re-energise you and keep you going.

  28. I came for the recipes.

    However, upon reading your blog, you made me sit up and think.

    You shook me out out my mental laziness with a blog about recipes!

    You are an undoubtedly an expert at what you do. No-one has the right to attempt to take that away from you. You’re an expert though because you’ve ‘Walked the walk’. Experiences that given the opportunity, anyone would run a mile from, but you faced them and you’re winning.

    If people don’t like what you do, or how you do it, then tough – they should just jog on.

    I disliked it intensely when Left Futures tried to ‘Hijack’ your recent troubles and twist it for their own ends. Only then to add insult to injury, spout a load of nonsense about how you’ve misunderstood their intentions. The word ‘Patronising’ doesn’t come close.

    I looked at the Jamie Oliver piece and again, it made me think. You’ve done what you have out of necessity. He’s doing it because he’s publicising a new book and TV series. Simple as that.

    Your honesty and passion shines through. Please don’t let the detractors rob you of that.

    • Left Futures are just another Middle class group pretending to be concerned for poor people, when it’s all total bulls**t. Most of these so called Left and equality organisations are filled with Middle class types who can talk about equality and equal rights all day, but to them they are just trendy slogans, words they can latch onto to big themselves up and pretend to be concerned whilst I may add getting wonderful careers in the ‘ protest’ business, and it is a business now, like some charity has become.

  29. Don’t worry – exasperation might well be appropriate though. You really don’t come over as evil at all – however, the infamous web-style “haters gonna hate” group of people leaving comments and writing tweets are, at the very least, not quite level-headed (being excessively polite there). Perhaps the polite word for them might be sociopathic? Which, coincidentally, also describes a lot of politicians . . .

    Speaking of the small contractor being paid on time . . . the customers know that one has no resources for legal action so the contracted payment period is stretched to at least double, that’s pretty standard unfortunately so they probably aren’t being sh!tty against you personally. If you ever have the pleasure of chasing payments from the US, then it is probably better to simply write them off as lost. :o(

  30. All any of us can do in these kind of situations is do what we believe to be right and what we think will make a difference. Sometimes others will agree with us and other times, not so much. But, as long as you know you’ve stayed true to yourself and what you believe in, that’s what counts.

  31. Most times I read an article (not always) I can see both sides of the discussion. I purposely said discussion as, in this “new-to-me” world of blogging I’m shocked by the arguing, abuse and one-sidedness of the arguments hat have taken the place of reasonable discussion. Jack, you are a very gifted journalist and really deserve any good fortune that, hopefully, may come to you in the future. You DO NOT deserve to be vilified, criticised or threatened. That is preposterous. You are trying to help those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a situation where they need any help they can get. However, there is also another side to the story and one should accept that help is not given only to the deserving in our society. Most of us know that to be the case and it is difficult to keep a still tongue whe npersonally witnessing how some cheat the system which hardworking people have to pay for in their taxes. Recently, I saw a mother in Rayleigh High St, sitting by the road with a fast food box in her hand, feeding her twins with a saveloy in each of their mouths and her little daughter was holding a bag of chips. It would have been interesting to hear whether she, and her children, might benefit from knowing about your ways of coping (or not). I recently read a thought provoking article by a very articulate young black woman brought up where I was, in South London, which bypassed the hysteria and clearly stated her views on the dangers of unceasing State support. She had a perfect right to tell of her experiences too. The abuse against you, and others, must stop.

  32. You know this already I’m sure, but I’ll say it anyway: you write bloody brilliantly Angry Bird – long may it continue!

  33. I’m a new follower. Please keep doing what you’re doing. I’ve had advantages and been lucky but since I gave up a well paid job to look after my two children (after doing the sums), I live on a strict budget. Your blog and learning about what you’ve been through is an education.

  34. I think you are amazing – please don’t let them get you down! I find you such an inspiration. I’m a single mum in my 40s, I went to a private school and I have a good job as a teacher – yet I still struggle to make ends meet. I turn to you and your recipes because unbelievable as it may sound, my son and I frequently have to live off buttons – not because I have massive telly or credit card debts or a fancy car or anything like that – but over the last 6 years I have seen my household and transport bills increase massively, added to this the increase in food bills, school uniforms etc and then when your 10 year old car goes t**s up and you have to find a chunk of money to cover the garage bill and a then help to purchase a new 10 year car otherwise you cannot get to work… you are lucky if you are left with £20 a week for food. Jack – you are not just talking about things you have experienced directly yourself – you are talking to so many of us – including those that are probably now labelled the ‘squeezed middle classes’. Jamie Oliver has no idea – I live in a rural community – and we no longer have the lovely little local fishmonger or grocers etc on my local high street – because the supermarkets that Jamie etc promote have taken over and local retailers were unable to sustain a living. Please don’t even think of changing one bit – I think you need your own cookery programme!

    • Can only agree with everything you’ve said here Lynette. People from any part of the country, any upbringing, with any education can find themselves in this position. To me Jack is someone who has been through it, still going through it but refusing to sit back and shut up about it. And in the process, is helping thousands of other people in similar situations. Opinionated? Definitely. Standing up for what she believes in and disagrees with? Another tick. Creative with next to nothing? Now that’s a talent.

      Keep up the good work Jack 🙂

  35. You make my day. I just love reading your blog and the other people’s comments. I wish I had your guts, you brave girl. I simply can’t wait for your First book!!!

    Deirdre (isle of Man. X x x

  36. There are 2 kinds of angry people on the Internet, Jack – those that are angry because they see injustice and want to fix it (that would be you) and people who are angry because they like the world unjust, it suits their bigoted mind frame perfectly (I’m sure you know who i mean).

    I thought the Left Futures article was badly written rather than malicious, but I also saw that as it took fragments of your life and used them to prop up such an awful article that you had every right to be angry.

    Twitter (and the Internet at large, actually) can be a pretty nasty place for women, and from anecdotal experience it appears that only gets worse for gay people, black people…

    Just know that you are respected here, and rightly so.

    I’m pretty sure there are an army of us up and down the country who would offer you a brew and a slice of cake if you were in the area!!

  37. Twitter is poison. You should really leave it, and so should everyone else! Vile site that just encourages bullying.

    On another note, I agree with what you said about Jamie. He is out of touch and has added to the general poor bashing that is so popular. I actually was quite a fan of him, although I found him patronisng, I agreed with his mission with school dinners and trying to educate people to cook fresh rather than rely on ready meals. But he has lost me now.
    Keep up the hard work!

  38. Dear Jack, I,ve never replied to anyone on the internet before, but I feel I need to now. I find it hard to believe that you reply to all the malicious comments you receive, why bother? It is alright to feel anger and makes you want to retaliate. Well I,m 64 years old and have had reasons to be angry at how people have hurt me. Then I now sit back and let my Buddhist teachings take over. Let this “stuff” go over your head, sit quietly and allow yourself to become composed. Every time you answer these people that hurt you, you are just prolonging the pain. If you just ignore these people then you have control over the situation, you are not being tossed about on a colossal wave of emotion. I would be glad to know what you think. Sophia.

  39. Well done for keeping this up Jack. It’s been a busy week to be sure.

    BTW I’m surprised that I haven’t seen anybody mention Jamie Oliver’s comments about how workers from the UK don’t want to work (for minimum wage at J.O.’s chain restaurants), but foreigners who come to these shores do.

    And didn’t he also say that he couldn’t make any money with British workers? I almost got my tissue out at that point – as I was seething with rage.

    I think its time that the Jamie Oliver PR message gets set straight. The man is clearly contradicting himself, to earn a fortune he tells us to go to a supermarket, to earn another fast buck (book and tv promotion) he now says shop at markets.

    In other words his sole priority now is to increase his profit margins. Now if he went about doing that without the moralising, lecturing and U turns (a la Nigella) it might not be so bad…

  40. Hang on in there Jack. You are doing a great job and if you piss a few people off then hopefully their the ones who need catapulting out of their complacent world.
    There is a section of people who will always attack you for being different or daring to say or do what they lack the courage to do themselves. As a traveller, boat dweller and someone who tries to fight capitalism I am no stranger to prejudice although am equally guilty to sometimes judging people harshly.
    Try to ignore those intent on condemning you and concentrate on the huge amount of people who support you.

  41. I’m not very interested in bashing Jamie Oliver, but I will note that in 30 Minute Meals he explicitly lists the kitchen gear “you’ve GOT to have”, which he has helpfully priced at around 300 pounds. Of course, not buying a round of pints at the pub, or skipping those morning cappuccinos (his examples) will allow for spending a bit more on “something decent.”
    (Oliver, 20-21.)

    300 or 400 pounds for kitchen gear? Not exactly Jack’s audience, that.

    (PS: That money could buy a 45-inch TV, or something like 300 litres of White Ace. In OZ, wine is cheap, so it’d be more like a hundred litres of Fruity Lexia).

  42. Dear Jack, I’ve been following your blog only for the last weeks and was/am very happy with it. Just want to say: just give us your personal view an forget about the nasty reactions. Life, and you, is/are too beautiful to waste on endless discussions. Lots ove love! Chris

  43. Hey ‘gingham apron with claws’ calm down…its only life 🙂 Jack, having trod on this planet for 69 years now I have learned a few things. 1, Critics often will detract you from the path you have chosen..they take your energy away from what YOU KNOW is the truth and where you are heading.(Don’t give them your time) 2, Most people are poor at evaluating others, and usually only have six pigeon holes in which to place people they encounter ie….rich/poor, old/young, sophisticated/unsophisticated.(Snap judgements usually come from simple 140 character brains, pity them) 3, Don’t explain, don’t complain. Believe in what you do and do it regardless (You cannot please all the people all the time).

    You have a groundswell of support Jack. Many are people who understand where you are coming from, because they have, or still are, in that bad place. Crazy as it seems, be grateful for your past experiences, for without them how the hell could you empathise with many of your followers. Someone born blind has no concept of darkness. So when the privileged ‘experts’ suggest, ‘let them eat cake’, take a deep breath and laugh at their ignorance. Don’t waste so much anger and energy on the ill informed. Carry on getting your message out there through all the media at your disposal in the professional manner you have done so far. Don’t let them start using you simply as an angry bird, with the message fading in the background. You know how the media works.

    We are all behind you. Don’t let the ignorant stop you in your tracks. This train has a long way to go. Smile !

  44. Yeah, I’m between a rock and a hard place.

    Yeah, I penny pinch like no one’s business.

    Yeah, I follow your blog and use your recipes.

    Yeah, I also own a massive fucking telly.

    I bought it during the years of plenty. Life was good, I was moderately successful in my chosen field. I splurged.

    Then the work dried up. Big time.

    So I’ve cut back. I don’t head out to pubs with mates because I can’t afford to by a round. First stop at the supermarket is always the marked down freezer. I haggle prices at the charity shops when I need a new shirt for my back.

    The steady stream of job rejections beats me down. I keep looking over my CV and wonder what else I can do to make it look better, even though I know there are tons of people chasing the same job I am. Odds are I won’t get it. The rejections make me feel like a failure, which to someone who fights depression every day of their life, feels like a hammer constantly battering my soul.

    The massive fucking telly stays. It’s a reminder that I *am* good at what I do (good enough to have been able to afford one), and that one day, it *will* get better.

    Jamie, maybe you’ve been dirt poor. Maybe one time, a long time ago you had to scrimp and save. But you don’t now, and maybe you’ve forgotten what it was like. Let me remind you. It sucks. But with people like Jack in our corner, poverty is a wee bit tastier.

  45. I’m sure you already know, but I’ll say it anyway – those horrible comments from the trolls are not directed at you personally because they do not know you. These are people who search for a target, anywhere, and direct their vitriol at that target. They will express their nasty views anywhere. I’ve even seen them left on something as innocuous as a book review.

    You are doing a marvellous job and I hope that the positive comments that you receive go some way towards countering all that shitty stuff.

  46. Unfortunately in this country we seem to have ‘the tall poppy” syndrome. The media ( and their listeners/ watchers/ readers) love to watch someone climb up the ladder, applauding their efforts. Then, when they think that person has got high enough they cut them down, deciding that they have got too big for their boots. Why this happens is and always been a complete mystery to me and it annoys and saddens me. I am equally annoyed and sad on your behalf, Jack. You have definitely climbed that ladder, every painful rung of it and it is now massively unfair that you are getting the flak. I guess, being part of the media yourself, that you weren’t surprised at the savage comments, tweets etc but it will not have helped you to cope with it. So, from a fan of your recipes, your obvious devotion to your little SB, your get up and go attitude and your bravery in stating your sexual orientation, good on ya! Keep going, the people who are throwing stones are the sad ones here. You are doing well, making your own life for yourself, your SB and for your partner. No doubt those sad individual who harrass you wish they had a fraction of the satisfaction you have in your life at the moment.

    • The class system has a lot to do with it Linda. I will explain it as simply and as briefly as I can and as how I see it. When we live in a system that allows privileges to some and not others, that quite naturally can create anger and resentment from those who do not have such privileges. Some of the Middle class and wealthy realise this, so they want to keep away from the poor and Working class as much as possible, through various means, having expensive wine bars and clubs, holidaying in ‘exclusive’ places, speaking posh and pointedly reserved etc. Another reason why many mediocre but privileged people hate ‘upstarts’ is that a Working class person, or Black or Asian person from an underprivileged or less privileged background who becomes very successful through their own hard work, merits and talents shows up privilege for what it is, and shows up a mediocre person who somehow gets a very good job, a job they have because of connections and privilege and little to do with any real merit. Posh privileged hate people who actually have worked their way up the hard way with real talent because it shows the whole system up as rotten and unjust and unfair. And that’s why the media build people up and then knock them down. In someone like Jack’s case, she has built herself up and so let them try to knock her down, It shows them all up for the sad cases they really are. When people should be debating poverty and injustice, they are trying ever angle they can to attack anyone who challenges the unfair policies of the rich and powerful.

  47. I’m sorry to hear how people have treated you. I have no idea what it is like & I wouldn’t want to try & pretend that I do. I hope that you are able to continue your blog, your fight for what you believe in & continue to make an impact on our lives.
    I’m sure there are many who know what it’s like to be in your situation & I hope that they are influenced by your success & courage.
    If people are fighting against you then you have made an impact, it is a sure sign that you are being heard.
    Good luck for the future, I will continue to follow & enjoy reading your blog.

    Much love to you & your family.

  48. I don’t get it Jack. I understand people getting angry, sure, we all get angry. But I simply don’t get the abuse, the threats, the harrassment. As if that’s going to change anyone’s mind . . .
    I know there’s very little any of us readers can do except to support. I can’t say you speak for me because our experiences are so very different, but I relate to what you say, I agree with quite a lot of it, I respect your stand and the way you put yourself out there. What you have done for foodbanks is outstanding and if that was all you did it would be amazing, but it isn’t.

    I think you ought perhaps to think about getting that support network going – someone to fend off the most unpleasant stuff on Twitter (not Facebook???), for example. Would people volunteer to help for a while, I wonder? Would something be possible?

    As for those unpaid bills/fees – solicitor???

  49. Hi Jack,

    I’m just a casual (newer) reader but I just wanted to say I think you’re one of the most sensible voices in the conversation around poverty, ‘austerity’ and food right now. It’s absolutely true that women with prominent platforms come in for a lot of abuse and harassment and I’m so sorry you’re experiencing that – I really appreciate the work you do and your grace and generosity.

  50. I am a former journalist, angry-bird, fan of almost everything you say and how you write it but have also been a fan of Jamie. I agree with Sophia, though I’m not a Buddhist, re the anger and malicios comments. You can’t afford the energy to take them all on. You’ll only end up damaging your own health (mental) over again when you’ve fought back from rock bottom so courageously. I can claim to be some sort of expert, as I’ve been there myself, though without a child at the time to feed. I was a trainee journalist in the early seventies, paid a pittance and my ‘disposable’ income was £10 a week to cover food and all other necessities (and no benefits of course.). My finest hour was making a quarter of cheapest streaky bacon do four meals. I also ate sausages containing stuff long banned since BSE. Thirty years on, I’m still here, still in the thrift corner (perhaps it’s in my blood as my Gran was a prisoner of war and starved for four years – her idea of thrift was to buy the biggest cabbage and boil it til it and everyone begged for mercy). But of course my thrift ideas are different. Which brings me to Jamie really. I used to have a friend, a food writer, who hated Jamie because she reckoned his fame was all down to his lisp. Well maybe he did get lucky, in the right time, but he also worked hard. He’s earned his views and opinions, he’s not dissimilar to you in that he tends to be impetuous in his comments and opinions (though less articulate). If he wasn’t on the same wavelength as his many fans, no amount of clever marketing would do it. There’s room for everyone! Jamie, Nigel Slater, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall … if sometimes they seem a bit off the wall, it at least makes us think. It’s like a telly (oops) with an off button, we can read and listen and decide. One person’s meat is another person’s chickpea and all that. I don’t think you do yourself any favours getting into personal spats (‘don’t buy in to this bullshit’.) Keep up the good work and the excellent writing (though I know all about the non-payment and haven’t an answer on that one).

  51. What they said! Just keep in mind the people that you help and inspire. Those who love and support you and B****ocks to the rest of them. X

  52. What’s the issue here? It seems that many expect the poor to stay silent; to accept what handouts the government has to give while quietly groveling, “Please, I am not worthy”; to not want to rise up from their condition. They think the poor are stupid and should not be able, like you, to express themselves eloquently and creatively about how they survive – with difficulty – on so little. G-d forbid if anyone like you speaks up and points out the disgustingly classist and sexist assumptions of anyone in power, whether in the media or government: abuse starts pouring in. The average hateful Briton feels threatened by an eloquent young woman with solid self-worth, who rises up to defend herself as she should. Keep defending yourself; they need to understand you are worth as much as they are. Bless you, Jack. Keep speaking truth to power and don’t let them break you, for they will try.

  53. well said and dont you dare change!

    ivw LWya quite liked jamie oliver as a celeb chef……but he really is just that…a celeb chef… the rest of them, totally out of touch with the real world and the price of things

  54. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and no one has to read what you write. I do read everything you write (now I have found your blog). I find it very interesting, amusing and sad in equal doses. I do not know you but feel that I should!? If you have the energy please carry on and try to ignore critics.

    Best wishes and a big hug


  55. I’ve started trying a few recipes. We’re not on the same kind of budget as you, but it’s still making a difference.

    And you’ve inspired me to help out in more practical ways to people near me that really do need it.

  56. It is very difficult for things to be clearcut sometimes and there is an element of “educating” people about whats what to get maximum food value for the cash available (however much it is – or isn’t). I do see the point that someone made about sometimes one just wants to say “Yes” to a bit of perceived “comfort” (ie unhealthy junk food – which is where someone like Jamie Oliver starts getting annoyed) even if knowing its not good (nutritional) value for money. There is a place for people being educated (which is where someone like Jamie Oliver does make some valid points) as to nutritional points and there is a way to put this and not to put this. Being useless at “tact and diplomacy” I wouldn’t know how the heck to put it myself. I still have a little picture in my mind of an incident where I watched a young guy on a bus one day feeding his little toddler in a pram a load of junk food on the one hand (and was horrified by exactly what he was giving his kid), but very tenderly tucking the little kid up into his blanket and kissing him as he fell asleep on the other hand. That, to me, was a prime example of he obviously loved his little lad and was trying his best…but his best didn’t include knowing what was (or wasn’t) the right stuff to feed his little boy. There ARE many people who really don’t have that much of a (nutritional) clue at any point on the financial spectrum. So “educating” people on food values does have a place. I know I personally frequently go up the wall at the huge number of posts on forums by people who describe their way of eating as “healthy” and the next thing you know you see its full of sugar/white flour/etc/etc and I wish to goodness they would stop calling the way they eat “healthy” – because it obviously isn’t (and that applies to many people at any point on the financial scale). I CAN see that you are clearly doing the best possible on an extremely limited income to make your diet as healthy as you possibly can and that is not meant to be patronising – hope it doesn’t come over that way – as I think you are doing a very honest take on how to do the best possible on the budget you have available.

  57. I came for the recipes, I came away with so much more. You have helped me in ways you will never know. Thank you.

  58. Jack, I’ve found you as a result of all of the recent media attention, and have to say that I’m glad of Oliver’s fuckwittery, because without it I wouldn’t have found your blog. I’ve had a shitty week in general, and have fumed at Jamie in particular. I work part time, other half works full time. We have one child, one car, don’t drink or smoke and generally ‘keep our eye simple’ – and we’re struggling. I can’t help but think if WE’RE struggling, there must be people who are at their wits’ end and Jamie’s recent attention grabbing stunts to promote his new book must break their hearts.

    Please keep on doing what you’re doing.

    • If Jamie is doing all this poor bashing JUST to promote his book, then he has proved himself to be another Middle class w****r extraordinaire. His books are good, I’ve got a couple myself but would think 3 times before making him more richer than he already is. I get fed up with it all to be honest.

  59. Second time lucky…

    I only found you and your blog because of this week’s media attention. I work part time, other half works full time. We have one child, one car, don’t drink or smoke and we’re struggling. We have always kept our eye simple, we don’t have extravagances – and we’re struggling. I can’t help but think that if WE’RE struggling, then there are a whole lot of people out there who must be at the end of their tether. Jamie Oliver’s media stunt this week, to draw attention to his book (and let’s be honest, that’s all it was) has angered me so much – I did actually used to be a fan – the idea of teaching people that you can eat healthily and cheaply is a great idea, it definitely needs to be done. But to demonise people because of their lack of knowledge is appalling. Selling a book for £26 to people who are subsisting on £5 a day is immoral.

    Keep on doing what you’re doing Jack. Keep rattling cages. Keep shouting.

  60. I haven’t read the 81 comments but have read the article, just started ‘following’ your blog and read a load of older posts.
    Good on you. I totally support your opinions, admire you enormously and wish you all the very best in your every endeavour. I hope all your endless hard work pays off big time, you deserve it.

  61. I’m so sorry you’ve had so much vile abuse directed at you. You have achieved so much, you should be very proud of it. Very glad that you are here to stay Jack.

  62. Jack, the personal attacks on your appearance, weight and sexuality are out of order and you do not deserve that kind of abuse. My advice remains constant, don’t feed the trolls and stop trying to justify yourself to these unreasonable idiots.

    That said, not all the criticism of your posts about JO fall into the category above. Some of it has been legitimate and carefully thought out. The way I see it, JO made comments about a specific minority of people which have been taken out of context and used to generate a controversy that didn’t need to exist. For what? To generate traffic, page views, comments and tweets that have not helped anybody – except, perhaps, a mainstream news organisation’s ad revenue. The opportunity to advance a good cause was ignored in favour of having a rant and creating drama. That, in a nutshell, is my beef with this whole sorry incident.

    As for AB. I accept that this is your blog and it started as a place to vent your frustrations, but that doesn’t mean you have to default to AB whenever you disagree with someone. Taking offence at anything anybody says is a CHOICE we all make.

    Finally, I hope you understand from my comments over the recent months that I am a fan and do appreciate what you do. My comments on the JO situation were made on the basis that you are a rational person who’ll give my comments a fair consideration, but I must confess I didn’t factor all of the other comments (especially the abusive ones) you were also dealing with, so I will try to consider that in the future before commenting.

  63. Love your blog. I think what your doing is brilliant. As dory might say ‘just keep swimming’

  64. Hi Jack,

    I live in the U.S. so it’s true that I don’t read every blog entry that you write. Some simply cite political organizatins or issues that I’m not familiar with. But I do at least sneak a peek, as very often I’ll find a nugget of your opinion that resonates. I wish I could be as clear-minded and clear-spoken as you, in order to shed light on Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression. Poverty does indeed result from more than just laziness, class, or even hard economic times.

    For what it’s worth, I admire you and what you are doing.


  65. You go girl keep up the good work and ignore all the jibes and jealous comments.I am sure it a case of ‘truth hurting’ with a lot of people.The more you get up their nose the better honey.Good for you, keep annoying the smug self-satified folk who have never been without, or gone hungry

  66. Keep doing what your doing girl, Stay strong, Wishing you all the success, you have walked the walk, you have earned it. All the best hun x

  67. I first read your blog after reading about it in a newspaper. Now I would much rather read the blog than read anything about it in the media as it has so much more integrity than anything written in the press. I thankfully do not struggle at the moment to pay for food for my 3 children, but I am acutely aware that our circumstances could change at any time, and your blog has taught me so many things. I am so impressed by your strength of character and I think your son is so fortunate to have you there not only fighting for people to really understand poverty, but also on a basic level having the energy and inventiveness to come up with ways to provide him with nourishing meals on such a limited budget. I know plenty of wealthy people who feed their kids absolute rubbish due to a perceived lack of time but mainly due to a lack of imagination. They should read your blog. You are doing great things. Ignore those bogged down in negativity. It’s their problem, not yours. Think of all the good things happening in your life and enjoy your loved ones as they are the only ones who really matter. Congratulations on all your good news. I agree with you wholeheartedly on the Jamie Oliver stuff. The world needs angry birds so please don’t stop!

  68. What wonderful news Jack – thanks for letting us all share your happiness! Love & hugs to the three of you.

  69. Good for you, freedom of speech is important but that works all ways round and you shouldn’t be criticised for expressing your opinion. Which from what I can see is refreshingly honest and full of common sense. Keep positive and remember that its pretty easy for those who want to to throw ‘stones’ via the relative anonymity of the web. Don’t let it get to you.

  70. The unfortunate truth is that both you and Jamie are right. There are deserving poor AND people who game the system. Poverty is not “one size fits all”. I have examples in my own family where they are happier to take food stamps than to get a job. One in particular I have helped numerous times, but they simply don’t want to work. I, personally , have been in dire straits, but like you, worked hard to get to a better place. I admire your grit and determination to make the best of a bad situation and do whatever it takes to improve your future. Even in the worst scenario, taking steps in the right direction will eventually take us to a better place.

    • Yes Susan, and how many rich Middle class people and very wealthy people play the system too? The billionaire tax dodgers for example. The Middle class who bleat about equality and equal rights for all whilst getting a salary 4-5 or 6 or more times than minimum wage of those at the bottom? Why is it only poor people pilloried for doing the same as the rich and affluent? That’s what annoys me.

      Not criticising you by the way! Agree with what you have written.

  71. Superb comment as usual Jack- ignore all the negative pathetic verbal abuse on twitter etc…(im not on twitter so haven’t seen any of that myself but from what i gather sometimes a vowel in the word twitter should be swapped for another- if u catch my drift!) but when you say you have had ‘anonymous and faceless abuse’, just read it as “ignorant comments from spineless cowards”. (If you have a point to make, why hide behind a faceless account? Totally pointless…)
    Just focus on the positive…basically you’ve whipped up a storm in the media, highlighted the very important issue of food poverty, and probably given yourself a few more book sales to boot! After what you have been through- you simply cannot give up- you have a lot of supporters here and elsewhere, so absorb their support and carry on doing exactly what you are doing- it’s hard for people to argue with you when you know you are right! (that ice cream offer still stands btw!)

  72. love you, love you, love you…I hope you read this. Don’t know where I would be without your website. Fuck the rest…you are a God send to me. Yasmin in Melbourne (no money, left over lentil casserole on my family’s plate, no money in the bank, a fucking huge tv and pride that I will never let the bastards get me down!)

  73. ‘I have examples in my own family where they are happier to take food stamps than to get a job.’

    This is a problem, people are not stupid:

    ‘Today, the Cato institute is releasing a new study looking at the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother with two children. In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.

    While that might not sound overly generous, remember that welfare benefits aren’t taxed, while wages are. So someone in New York would have to earn more than $21 per hour to be better off than they would be on welfare. That’s more than the average statewide entry-level salary for a teacher.

    Plus, going to work means added costs such as paying for child care, transportation and clothing. Not to mention that, even if it’s not a money-loser, a person moving from welfare to work will see some form of loss — namely, less time for leisure as opposed to work.’

    ( August 12 2013 article by Michael Tanner )

    Take into account the cost of health insurance premiums and copays in the US and it’s easy to see the trap.

    In the UK it’s unemployment and lack of affordable housing and childcare seems to cause the problem.

    The Mirror did an article a day or so ago stating one in seven UK children lives in a home where *no one* works…that’s a very different UK than where I grew up where even during the Thatcher years practically *everyone* was expecting to work, if not right then, soon
    ( )

    I was unemployed at @ age 17, I signed on twice, then went cleaning luxury cars and offices for about three pounds an hour with an agency making a huge profit from me. But I didn’t care- standing in that line convinced me just about anything was better. Everyone was so depressed, it was extremely demoralising. That said- I wasn’t a mother then; there’s no way I could have worked for that wage and pay childcare & transport costs…and the same in the US today, people can’t pay for their healthcare and live on minimum wage.

    There haven’t been enough eloquent people describing the frustrations, I do think a new model of welfare is needed. Children aren’t supposed to be hungry in response to a temporary financial crisis.

    Well done all those parents who’ve got through it!

  74. I just read you araticle about the Blessed Jamie Oliver today and applaud you for it. Unlike the fawning demonstrated by Simon Kelner in the same edition of the I you were absolutely right to refer to the Blessed Jamie in the way you did. I would be more likely to listen to him if for example, he paid his staff the living wage in all his establishments. He was never poor and just doesn’t get what it means to be. Theory is one thing. Reality is another. I work with disadvantaged people, adults with learning disabilities. We have taken nearly a year where I work to be able to share 6 simple menus. Eating well and cheaply needs as much practice and the right equipment as fine dining. It doesn’t just happen. Perhaps the Blessed Jamie needs to “sponsor” some Cooking Schools for the Poor?

    • Jamie’s ‘chirpy Cockney’ act is just that, an act that makes him accessible to more people than if he was presented as a posh boy with privileges, which he is basically. If Mr Oliver is co concerned about poor people the next thing we should ask him is just how much he pays the lowest paid workers in his many restaurants, and if they are low why he doesn’t increase them significantly? I hear he has a £150million fortune. No hunger for him hey? I won’t be buying any more of his books and will be switching off whenever he appears on my (hand me down) telly from now on.

  75. You provide both inspiration and practical, ready-to-use help. And you write brilliantly. Thank you so much x

  76. A simple measure to help those that have no first hand experience of poverty, a method of understanding that could be applied.

    (A) the overall household income of a family (B) The time, skills and support available to best cope with a reduction in the household income of the family. (C) the basic costs of running a household. other household bills including the electricity ‘to power a 32″ flat screen TV for example’ (for right wing commentators, unfortunately black and white cathode bulb TV’s are no longer in production for the poor). gas, water and other utility bills. antagonistic social stigmas, media and political representation of the poor…

    A and B have a neutral and often equal ranging value that produces a balance. C however will always have a negative value that will detrimentally affect A and B.

  77. I think ur blog is g8 and while we may not be in as bad situation as u yet we maybe soon as better half facing redundancy, so we have been using ur recipes featured in (observer food monthly july) to save money for a rainy day one of the best is tomato n bean soup for lunch, and while I may agree with what u say on some things I may disagree with others ( although i do agree with jamie oliver blog i wish i had time to call at the market for montout) closest we get is if they r reduced at tesco (monday nites r best after 7). So for any nasty stuff u get as we say up north f@ck if they dunt like plenty of others do.
    Ps keep up blogging the recipes x

  78. They are right about you. I cam here with neither a pro or anti view after reading about you. Now I see that you even call yourself an “angry bird” I realise you are exactly what you say you are…. A loudmouth. I bet you won’t even publish this. I am shocked at your style…….. It’s aggressive and gives journalism a bad name. Thought you should be made aware. Calm down duck.

    • Get your facts straight before posting on any subject about jack !!!! And I bet you have never had to make your supplies stretch have you? I hate people like you who dive in head first, without switching your brain on !
      I stand by jack as it has happened to me, I lost my love and was left with nothing, I could have gone home crying to my parents, but I didn’t, I was a parent myself and I had to be a role model to my kids. They are proud of me, I have. Got on my feet, lived on and made sure my children were fed and. Clothed, did it matter if people bought or gave me things. No it didn’t, I bet you would go running home to mummy and daddy if this happened, I fact why the hell are you following jack if you feel like this Jack doesn’t need negatitvity like this. Go and play with your barbies as you write like a child.
      And Jamie Oliver is another pompous cleb chief who has never had to live like this. Just another bag of. Hot air.

  79. Hey, she has a point. I came here for the recipes. But you do have a huge,fat chip on your shoulder….

  80. Hi Jack, I came for the recipe ideas and stayed because there was no BS just comments from the heart!

  81. I kind of want a gingham apron with claws. Props to you for carrying on. Yours is an extremely valuable voice.

  82. Hi there. I came for the recipes which I am enjoying greatly. I too, am a single mum with a 3.5yr old. I too, used to have a full time job but, due to health reasons, I no longer can work. The other information and articles that you write about, I see, as a bonus. These are things that are going on in our daily world and it is nice to see someone that can explain it in simple terms.
    So, I would like to thank you for what you are doing and writing about and it is nice to see a woman with passion and not afraid to write about it or voice her opinion. Good on you Jack and I will be continuing to follow you.
    Lastly, I have pre-ordered your recipe book via Amazon and I look forward to reading it.

    Take care. Lx

  83. Hi Jack, I am in the US and have always enjoyed Jamie Oliver’s tv programs. I don’t know too much about him in general but he always comes off as sincere and down to earth on his shows. It upset me to read what he said abut the f >>>>king big tvs and how people should shop at their farm markets. First of all, here where I live (in a large town), the farm market which opens once a week during the summer months, is so expensive vs. the supermarket. I know the food is fresh from the farm but if you can’t afford it, then you can’t afford it. I don’t think tvs have anything to do with poverty. Can’t find a link. I’m sorry to hear that he said that. I guess I wanted him to be the way I thought he was – a real nice guy. Too bad I had to read that about him. On another note, sorry to hear that you get nasty posts. Anyone who hasn’t been in your predicament, doesn’t really know how it is and can’t really put themselves in your shoes. I wouldn’t pay much attention to them. I really enjoy reading your blog and wish you all the best.

  84. Thank you, you’re brilliant. Keep up the good work Jack! oh and your little boy is gorgeous, just saw the photo xxx

  85. Hi Jack, you may have seen my comments on other posts recently (if you have any time!). I’ve been reading your entire blog over the past few weeks. Mostly my reaction is:This shouldn’t be written” No because you don’t write brilliantly – you do. But it shouldn’t be written because it’s the 21st century. Britain is a wealthy country. I’m the 3rd generation in my family to work for Oxfam (I volunteer). I’m sure when it was set up no one was thinking that the charity will be running food banks in the UK in 2013. I’m really sad at the state of things, that your blog is necessary. But it is necessary, and thank God you’re here, and you’re writing this. Best of luck in all you do. Continue to be yourself <3

    • It’s insane, it really is. A wealthy country that billions of pounds of wealth and people are going hungry, without meaningful work, can’t get a degree because they started charging and the reality is now that social mobility is a thing of the past. This will have problems if it isn’t sorted out. It is now an unfair society and the Tories are merely adding insult to injury. In other words they say ‘well we cause these problems but we will blame the people who are on the receiving end of them!’ Problem solved. And there are always idiots and lamebrains and clones to attack anyone who dares challenge the official party line. We all need to start speaking out about this and challenging it, and show these base hypocrites up for what they are.

  86. Hi – I’ve only just discovered your blog but I think your comments about the Jamie Oliver interview are correct. I also think your blog and recipes are amazing – Best of luck to you 🙂

    P.s. I’m looking forward to trying your falafel recipe (with the flour/water addition) as mine never work…

  87. Hi Jack, I’ve recently discovered your recipes & blog and I want to thank you for your work and for staying in twitter. You are very appreciated.
    Izaskun xx

  88. papers not paying for free lance articals is a big problem. if they keep cocking up try contacting privet eye. they’ve been following the issue. good luck (And sorry, this is so long after your post of this, and isnt major useful…or on the subject of the artical).

  89. “You’re only an expert in what you know”- very true. As regards tellies, it might be easy to say it’s an unnecessary cost one can do without, but then what you said was a good point- as regards not having a telly and finding it hard to keep a small boy reasonably well-stimulated, especially when the powers that be are cutting back on the parks and libraries. Not having kids, I don’t know what good a telly is. I do know I was never entirely without one as a kid, though back in the ’80s when I was a pre-schooler there was no wall-to-wall CBeebies and other kiddie channels, only 20 minutes in the morning, a couple of hours in the afternoon, and schools programmes. (And a lot more play areas and other stuff to do.)

    I could say I managed without a TV at university for the first 2 and a bit years- but that’s only in my room. I just have to remind myself of all the times I spent up ’til 3am in the common room watching the dregs of whatever late-night satellite TV had to offer, or trying to sneak in early in the afternoons/evenings hoping to avoid the “Neighbours posse”, “Desperate Housewives posse” and their football and rugby equivalents, or stopping past the college bar after tea and hoping to catch Look North over a swift half (all that drinking negating the meagre savings from no TV licence) whilst hoping no-one else wanted to watch The Simpsons. And then, I know I’m just as hooked as everyone else and can’t so easily pass judgement.

    I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to limit my entertainment to Radio 4 and library books if needs be, but what about those with kids (who radio doens’t cater to), or hearing problems (less able to hear the radio), or dyslexia (therefore difficulty reading the books)? One cannot simply stare at four walls when not busy.

    To be honest, I suppose common sense ought to suggest if people are faced with a choice between TV and better food, the food should take priority, but then one wonders how much TV costs. I guess not everyone is spending some £13 a week paying off a 60″ plasma on the never never, or worse. They might have had a TV given to them or have already paid for it. TV licences are something like £2.80 per week, possibly a big enough chunk of whatever one has to live on if they’re surviving on benefits, but not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, especially when one considers rents, heating bills, bus fares &c.

  90. As to the haters- well my views on Twitter are not terribly high, and I prefer to avoid it myself. I guess no-one is going to be able to escape stupid misunderstandings and dissenting viewpoints, though, just bear them; but the torrents of abuse that flow from elsewhere is not on, and I can see why you’d be angry. Just remember there are people out there who do love you as well as hate you, and take heart!

  91. It is so important for someone in the public eye to challenge these damaging and divisive stereotypes which just seem to be accepted as truth by so many. Other people in the public eye who have influence, need to be shown that the best way to help any individual or group is to show compassion, not to tell them how fucked up you think their choices are.

    Hugs 🙂

  92. Don’t agree with all you say but that is how it should be as we all have mental capacity to think for ourselves but I still come back to your blog as I love it. So sorry some people think it is necessary to abuse you via Twitter. Keep going Jack and many congratulations on your engagement.

  93. Here in the US where food banks are well-established there was no excuse for long-term hunger until last week when the Republicans slashed the food stamps budget. I won’t be surprised when there is a crime wave later as a result- people get desperate when they can’t feed their family.

    I AM surprised anyone votes right-wing any more frankly, it seems more and more an act of retaliation and bitterness from people who have never experienced or understood poverty.,,yet are resisting it, because that is the way the world tends when too many people get greedy. Denial, anger, blaming…not solutions.

    In the USA the main cause of poverty and bankruptcy is becoming sick. The Affordable Care Act which is supposed to prevent that and provide healthcare for all we have to wait until next week to see if it truly affordable: the government ‘marketplace’ opens 1st October. In retaliation the Republican Party have vowed to undermine the legislation and shut down the government if necessary.

    I wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives but did not receive a reply- sure sign a governing body/person is not committed to democracy.

    Re. television, though there is tremendous market for junk there- it is important for information and education in our era. It’s not a luxury to have advanced communications- it’s a necessity.

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