The one where the Daily Mail compare my chicken casserole recipe to, er, apartheid…

So the Mail have put up their latest smear article again, albeit with some ‘corrections’ as it was first uploaded around 11pm, swiftly removed, and put back up an hour or so ago. So I’ve just had the pleasure of reading an enormously unhinged attack piece in a national newspaper where they compare my eating meat to…apartheid. Yes, really. (I’ve screen shot and published her article throughout this post to spare you all from burning your eyes on that website.)

Tell me Liz Jones, is it just me eating meat that offends you or are you comparing the entire (and quite sizeable) segment of the Earth that chooses to be carnivorous to heinous crime and genocide?

So – as if the world needs another open letter on the internet – here goes. (Apologies to readers of a sensitive disposition, it gets a bit sweary. If you’d had this warped twisted shite written about you, I imagine you might be quite sweary too.)

Dear Liz Jones.

I’d never heard of you before this evening, and I must admit that having skimmed through a long and rambling nonsensical smear attempt, I really wish I could un-know the little I’ve discovered. Mainly that you’re a little bit warped, with little research capability, and you write like a bad-tempered six year old who’s just been shown where his Turkey Twizzler comes from.

Anyhow, to the point in hand, here’s an excerpt from your bizarre rant:

Firstly, 1: Yes I used chicken in my Guardian recipe. FREE RANGE chicken. In case you missed the memo, I only eat free range meat.

2: Ditto bacon. Good old free range streaky fucking bacon. It’s delicious, by the way. Like bacon, but better.

3: According to you, I ‘Crowed’ that I’m a lesbian. Damn right. One big old proud crowing lesbian right here. Not *really* relevant to your story about cheap chicken though, is it? But get a dig in for the readers to lap up, there’s a dear. (I wonder if any of them are single…? You might have done me an inadvertent favour. Hey ladies…)

4: “an oppressed member of the minority…” Hold your horses lady. I’ve never referred to myself as ‘oppressed’. Damn it, I’m pretty free. See this, here, this reply to your obnoxious piece of shit? That’s free little me freely exercising my freedom of speech on my big free platform right here. What the hell says to you “oppressed” about that? Wishful thinking there Jones, no ‘journalist’ running off her smart mouth is gonna oppress me into submission. Quite the opposite. See points 1-19.

5: “…has no problem oppressing something further down the food chain…” Bit of a stretch. Is this irony? I can’t tell. I’d almost understand the vitriol that this sentence is written with, if I was encouraging people to go out and buy cruelly farmed battery chicken for every dinner of the week – but I’m not. I was raised a meat-eater, I’ve wrangled with my own guilt over it over the years and finally settled on eating free range meat, and not very often. Meat to me is a luxury, not a requirement, and if the budget doesn’t stretch to it then I simply fall back on one of my repertoire of vegetarian or vegan recipes. As a snapshot, in the last three months, my published recipes have been 44 vegetarian, 4 fish and 8 meat ones. Not exactly seven nights a week then.

6. “Surely if you have no money meat is the first thing to go.” Well Jonesy, in my case it was my car, TV, guitar, watch, jewellery, anything I could sell really, before I started giving up food groups… (And for the record, non-smoker, celebratory drinker.) But I reiterate, if the shopping pot is a bit tight, I don’t buy meat. Again, last 3 months of my published recipes have been 44 veggie, 8 meat (free range), and 4 fish. So there.

7. “Meat should be more expensive, given a sentient animal has given its life.” – and it is, if you buy free range, which I do. (By the way Liz, how’s buying M&S prawns for your 17 cats working out for you?)

8. Photo of a £1.99 chicken from Tesco from 2008, 4 years before I even started blogging, in fact. Nice touch for those of your readers that don’t bother with the words bit and just disingenuously link ‘me’ to ‘battery chicken’. I’ve never used that chicken in my life. Scouts honour. I don’t shop at Tesco for a start. But if I did, they do free range chickens, and I’d have bought one of those. Gosh, this record has stuck a bit.

9. “Before we start patting ourselves on the back for how far we have come since apartheid, think of those (chickens) who are at the bottom of the pile.” I have no words. What sane person attempts to link the two? Are you really saying that Mandela is akin to a battery chicken? Really? This has to be desperate linkbait given the day you’ve chosen to publish it, which is crass and revolting.

10. “You cannot be a concerned citizen and just tune these animals out.” I don’t. Which you’d have known. If you’d done your research. And a bit rich coming from a woman who raves about ‘buttery soft leather’ goods. At least my animal products are for nutritional purposes and not just for fatuous arm candy.

11. “So Ms Monroe, if you think that you, a young mum…” (What HAS my age got to do with the price of chicken?!)

12: “… with little money…” Dear me Jonesy, have you got my bank statement there? No? Then be a love and don’t comment on my finances because you have no idea how ‘little money’ I have. Sooner or later you’ll catch up, I WAS poor and unemployed, I NOW have a job and a living. So we can quit with trying to paint me as the woe-is-me single mother, because I’m alright. I haven’t got a jacuzzi bath or a Fendi handbag on my modest Guardian income but I can put three meals on the table, and some of them will even have yummy yummy free range meat in.

13: “…deserve my sympathy…” No ta. I’ve seen your version of ‘journalism’, I don’t need to be subjected to your ‘sympathy’ too. Stick it up your arse.

14: “If you have ethics…” I think I do. They might be different to yours but wouldn’t the world be boring if we were all identikit trash-spouting Daily Fail journalists?

15: “…and you care about doing the right thing…” (Tell me, where would you peg ‘donating book royalties to food projects in Africa’? Is that ethics/the right thing/batshit bonkers? Hadn’t really mentioned it but now you seem hellbent on convincing your readership that I’m the axis of evil then I thought I’d try to balance it out… Or does ‘trying to do something good’ only count if you’re a vegetarian, in The Very Small World Of Liz Jones..?)

16: “…you don’t pick your battles…” Oh I do. I only respond to outright lies, I can take criticism on the chin but raving bullshit needs to be addressed.

17: “…treading on them…” I find that quite unhygienic, where chicken is concerned. Bacon too. I much prefer mine not trodden on. Have you SEEN the state of my shoes?

18: “… Just so long as you and your brood are okay.” I’m not sure what you mean by this. By ‘brood’ do you mean ‘the human race’? Because heaven forbid that anyone should try to do anything that ensures that that particular ‘brood’ is okay. I mean really, what’s the world coming to when people try to help other people?!

19: “A modern day I’m alright Jack…” Bet that took you all day to think of that one. Smart cookie aren’t you? Pat pat.

Please feel free to publish my response in full and as swiftly as you are able. You won’t, of course, because you thrive on the controversy of attack-drivel-shit, but the offer is there.

And for goodness sake, if you want to tear me down a bit, at least write an article based on a fact or two. Like the fact I’ve got rubbish hair, look like Wurzel Gummidge on a good day, or swear like I was once in a male-dominated public service. Pithy attempts at demonising cabbage and chicken are laughable at best.

And angry? No, I’m not angry. I’m laughing my arse off that someone is dumb enough to pay you for that. I think you’d be far happier with a free range chicken and bacon casserole inside you. Happy soul food. There’s a recipe on the Guardian website you might like to try.

With all my free range love,

Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

I’ve written to the Mail and asked for a retraction and apology. Under the PCC code of conduct I should get one ‘of equal prominence.’ I’d settle for one I can link to and ‘crow’ about… No, I’m not holding out much hope either!

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