Why doing a Sainsbury’s ad doesn’t make me a ‘sell out’. The Guardian.
Since the news of my six-week collaboration with Sainsbury’s has emerged, I feel I should have gone into hiding in a rather large 13p can of tinned potatoes, refashioned as a tin hat, to avoid the hate mail and expressions of disappointment that are littering my inbox and Twitter feed.
When I wrote my first recipe blog post – a carrot soup fashioned from some of the less photogenic elements of a £1 veg bag – I didn’t do it with a media career in mind; I did it because I was blogging about being a single parent.
I stuck to supermarkets for my recipes, not wanting to assume that everyone had access to a market, a friendly fishmonger, or specialised shops to buy spices in bulk. I wanted my recipes to be accessible to as many people as possible, so I tried to use widely available, standardised products.
As the months have passed, I’ve tailored my fridge with experimentation. I now use free range meat and eggs – that doesn’t mean you have to. I found some bargain asparagus for 29p in the reduced chiller the other night, but digging around in reduced bins at 9pm is not a sustainable lifestyle choice for the parent of a young child.
Frankly, I’m astounded by the fuss over my Sainsbury’s advert. For six weeks it’s me saying on the telly what I’ve been saying on my blog for two years: “This is where I shop, this is what I do.” In the process, I turned down offers to work with other supermarkets and held out for Sainsbury’s because it’s where I’ve shopped since I moved to the centre of Southend three years ago.
I hate television. Five minutes on a breakfast sofa with a presenter is just about doable; I stop myself from shaking by sitting on my hands before the cameras roll. Those who know me know that I am painfully introverted, the one with my back to the wall at awards ceremonies, with my hood up while waiting for the tube, a frightened deer in front of a camera lens. So if I was going to do television, I wanted to do it honestly. With no script and no fed-in lines, just me, cooking, chatting, and ignoring the extremely large crew of cameras, lights, sound booms and runners.
And what could be more honest than knocking dinner up out of half a chicken from the supermarket I shop in and have blogged about? It’s less an advert and more a one-minute documentary about making your food go further. That’s the bit I don’t understand. I spent two years pricing my recipes according to the supermarket that I shop in, while name-dropping them innocently, to illustrate what I was doing. Every week I answer the same questions in my Guardian food column: stock cubes are 20p for 10, a 1.5kg bag of carrots is 89p, tinned potatoes are cheaper than fresh ones, yes of course it’s a free-range chicken. I avoid that sort of speculative suspicion on my blog, because I include the prices and the supermarket they were bought from, which anyone who has access to the internet can check and find another supermarket with similar products if they wish.
As for the accusations that everybody has a price? Mine is £1,653 for six weeks’ work. My actual fee is higher, identical to what the other three bloggers in the campaign are being paid, but I am keeping £1,653 to myself – the equivalent of the living wage for the six weeks that the campaign will run for. The rest is going into the tax pot; to a food project in Africa that I am visiting with Oxfam in January; and to my local food bank and homeless shelter. My friends think I’m bonkers. They tell me I’ve earned it, to keep it, to squirrel it away – but if I was in it for the money I’d have leapt at the first advertising deal offered to me almost a year ago for an upmarket butter brand, and all the 50 or so since then. I didn’t. Am I guilty of selling out? Hardly.
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe
First published here on Comment Is Free, The Guardian, 17 December 2013.
Good for you Jack! I’m proud of you. I’m an ex single parent who put herself through uni to give her son a better future. Why can’t some people accept that single mum’s work hard and that getting out the other side is what we hope for from day one. Don’t listen to the critics, they’re more than likely jealous of your success.
Good for you, I think you have done a fantastic job with your blog, and am looking forward to seeing the adverts. Well done.
You go, Jack! xxx
Jack – you’re not selling out, as you’ve said if you were in it for the money you could’ve taken the first supermarket/ad/promo deal offered to you, instead you’ve picked the right one for you, with the supermarket you use all the time. If anything, I think most readers of your blog will respect you for that and for sticking to your principles rather than it all being about ££s. And good on you for donating some of your fee to oxfam – not that you should have to justify what you do with it anyway. xx
I wouldn’t have begrudged you keeping the entire fee for yourself. As others have said, you earned it. I respect your decision to share though. Love your blog, especially the recipes.
Ignore them, you are amazing !
Jack, you do need to tell us YOUR private business. Try to ignore all the rude remarks. You are doing a grand job. Keep it up. All the best Linda x
Well done, the better known you are, the the more people can hear your anti-austerity message, keep going
Absolutely and getting Sainsbury’s to support the message is a result not a sell-out
If you were expecting that you could be famous without any trolls attacking you, Jack, think again. Famous people have to learn to ignore the trolls, otherwise you are just wasting valuable time and emotion on them. There are more important things to do. You go for it and keep doing what you feel to be the right thing. Yours instincts seem pretty good to me.
I can’t shop at Sainsbury’s. It’s part me hating their guts for being dirty robbing b*****ds who treat their customers like mugs and replacing their poor under-trained and under-paid staff with self-serivce checkouts, and part them telling me never to come back when they threw me out the door the last time I had the misfortune to go there. Still, as much as I dislike them, I wouldn’t hold it against you that you’re fronting Sainbury’s adverts. The fact you are giving so much of your earnings away is quite humbling really. It makes me wonder how much more the rest of us could do.
the other day on facebook i saw someone give a friend a big bag of hugs because she was having a bad day. i’m passing on to you something far more useful. its my huge great sack of `fuck em’s’
i know it’s hard because sometimes you really care what people think, especially when you are young and find yourself WAY out of your comfort zone, but believe me, the older you get and the more people feel the need to pass a judgement on your life the less you need to care. if someone sends you a hate mail…..fuck em! if someone dares to critique how you chose to earn a wage….fuck em! use the fuck ems as liberally as you choose. there are always plenty more where they came from.
a wise man once said that the internet is a device that holds all the knowledge in the world, and mankind uses it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers. by all means look at the cats, but the arguing strangers?…..fuck em.
i’m pretty sure you’ve paid a stingingly high price for your good fortune. you deserve riches dear lady. and comfort, and happiness.and a nice house somewhere that will always be yours. make sure you buy yourself one the moment you get offered enough money. you’ve earned it!
I with jools on this one!
Well said Jools, Couldn’t have put it better. If you run out I will send you a sack full too. You are doing a great job and deserve every success.
Hahaha, love it! Yeah, ‘fuck’em danno’. And too right, the older ya get the less ya care about those coughing up jagged judgements. Now a so-called OAP, I too am the proud owner of a ‘huge great sack of ‘fuck em’s’ and it’s nice being able to share it. GoJackGo!
you deserve the full amount but I applaud you for sharing the money
God you are so not a sell out. You needed break, you worked hard and you bloody got it. Well done I say!
As a friend would say “f*ck ’em. f*ck ’em with clown shoes”. haters will hate no matter what you do, they most probably wish you were still cold and hungry in your tiny place, burning air to keep warm instead of improving your lot in life.
Well done. You haven’t sold out, you are sticking to what you have been doing since day one. Stand proud and wave your half a chicken in the air in defiance at them all. 🙂
Everybody in the public eye receives hate, especially those who try to do something positive with their lives.
I hope you can ignore them, and you realise for every troll and gutter-journalist there are two decent people who recognise your integrity and endeavour.
Its up to you what you do with your money, like the rest of us.
Because I may well be made redundant in the New Year I have made every effort to use my wages to pay off credit so I can anticipate 2014 without that gut sinking hideous feeling you get when you know you just can’t afford to pay your bills or buy food.
Have a lovely Christmas and well done on all your had work.
You do a great job Jack; you’re an example to us all. I’m supporting a food bank thanks to you. Please try to ignore the unkind comments; you don’t deserve them. But you do deserve to keep all your fee for yourself. I’m impressed and inspired by your generosity. I hope you have a lovely Christmas!
Well, I think it’s brilliant! As you say, it’s the supermarket you actually shop at so you’re advertising something you’ve used and believe in. And hopefully your input will help shape Sainsbury’s ethical policies so they’ll be more thoughtful about the cost of the Basics range, donate to food banks etc.
You’ve got to do what you think is right for you, your OH and the small boy … If you’re at peace with your choices, then it’s all good. (And anyone else can bog off!)
You are an icon now, Jack, and there will always be spiteful folk, but well done for not just surviving but also thriving xxxx
Not even close to selling out. On another note, sad that tinned potatoes is cheaper than fresh. That needs to change. Don’t let the negativity get to you, you have a good message. Keep saying it.
I posted a link to your Guardian article earlier on today, several friends have commented, and, for what it’s worth, we all think you’ve done and continue to do a wonderful job, raising awareness and helping anyone stuck with little cash to feed their families.
Wishing you continued success, good health, happiness, and, a very warm and tummy filled Christmas. x
You don’t need to justify yourself to idiots who don’t understand that someone can do something for other people, probably because they would never do it themselves. You know your conscience is clear – ignore them Jack.
Jack, I am full of admiration. You are so far from being a sell out its rediculous to even suggest it. Don’t get bogged down by ill-informed haters and disapprovers. Your generosity is a tremendous example.
Your commitment to frugal living (based on hard learnt experience that you can do without most “stuff”) and modest needs are exemplary and make me, and many others like me in comfortable circumstances, reflect on how we define our own needs. However, do make sure you make sure you keep enough of what you earn, legitimately, fairly and responsibly, in the boom times to protect against the lean. You know you are in a precarious industry, make sure you take what you are due to protect you and SB for the future.
Why should you have to justify yourself all the time? Like many others I’m looking forward to seeing the adverts. Keep doing what you are doing you try and ignore the bashers. xxx
Respect. You’re amazing
Jack, ignore the negative comments! You are having a run of good fortune after a bad spell and you deserve it. You have small boy to think about and he also deserves it. Enjoy it whilst it lasts! x
Ignore the haters and those who criticise without offering a solution or better idea. You have stood up for the many without a voice and you shouldn’t have to justify your actions or your financial choices.
All credit to you and know that the good wishes outweigh those nasty comments by a mile.
What in hells name are doing doing explaining yourself! ffs Jack your story is on your blog go back read your hunger hurts piece again, you were figuratively speaking scratching around in the dirt, where in those words does it say when it gets better I’ll have to explain and give excuses why??
You’ve got where you are today on your own,your articulate clever very caring and thoughtful and damn brave!! (and cute to boot), right from the start you explained you shopped at Sainsbury and why and priced your recipes accordingly, you’ve done what just about every mother would do used what you’ve got to fight for a future for you and SB, I’m not sure if it’s because of you but finally today I saw a trolley in my local ‘little’ sainsbury for our local foodbank I don’t care if you’ve guilted them into allowing it, I hope you appearing in Ads will make people check you and your story out and more people will be inclined to help out other too.
Next up your own cooking program please 😀
onwards and upwards and be proud Jack xxx
I read all your posts and am often astounded by the criticism you get but this is the first time I’ve been drawn to comment. It is not immoral to be successful. It is not immoral to earn money – even a lot of money. It’s what you do with it that counts. Personally I am quite glad that the Gates’s have more money than many small nations – they are not embezzling it they are dishing out vaccines and improving health and hygiene for millions of people. You are talking about tiny amounts of money in the scheme of things and even then you are passing most of it on to other people – do not even think about apologising (I know you haven’t but your explanation feels like an apology) – you have earned it and it’s yours to do whatever you want with. My 17 year old son tells me he is regularly horrified by the abusive, racist, foul comments that appear on Twitter etc. These people are not part of normal society – they don’t deserve a second’s thought. Happy Christmas.
Hang in there Jack. You’re doing great!
You don’t have to justify anything.
the world would be a better place if more people stuck their head above the parapet for what they believe in. Unfortunately if your head is above that parapet, it is easier for others to throw sticks at you.
I and many of your followers admire you and what you have done and said and what you are prepared to stand up for. Your hard work, determination and courage is an inspiration. I am always telling people about you as I think you are amazing.
There will be lots of jealous people out there.There always have been and always will be. Be true to yourself and your principles and keep your head up. This country needs youngsters like you.
But whatever you do, don’t let ’em get you down! You have survived Real hard times. That is what matters to your little boy and partner and the thousands that use your recipes every day.
I love your blog and fully support you. We all have to work and those of us who are lucky enough to earn money doing what we love should never be made to feel guilty about it! It’s not like you’re investing your money in arms manufacture and tobacco/alcohol companies like some so-called ‘good causes’. Good luck to you!
Try to forget or ignore the negativity. It means nothing. if you can’t, imagine you are walking along a road with a huge bunch of balloons. Release them one at a time… each one represents one person’s horrid remark. They don’t matter. You do. Be proud of what you are doing, how far you have come and never be ashamed of your success.
I’m proud of you Jack!,,,
Good for you Jack – you have every right to earn that money. Keep doing what you’re doing and ignore the grumpy people x
There are very few people who would behave as honourably and selflessly as you have Jack. You deserve all the fortune and credit that comes your way. Ignore the small-minded response of those idiots who are so quick to criticise. How many of them are giving away the bulk of their salary to people in greater need?
I am incredibly proud of you, Jack. Forty years ago I was in your place exactly and while I did not make nearly the success you already have, through hard work and my own struggle I am now nicely retired and my son is a strong, well-educated adult. Keep doing what you are doing. I wish over here in the States I could see your 1 minute documentary!
Just ignore the comments or better still, don’t read them. It is difficult, I know to ignore these hateful comments, but you have just get on with it. My advice is to do Waitrose though next time – they will pay you more and you might be able to donate more. Just keep on cooking girl and do more press like your brilliant Woman’s Hour interview, which was very enjoyable.
You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Pure and simple it is work and why not do it. Try to ignore all the detractors and do the job as best you can, Perhaps more will come your way, we all start somewhere.
It is one more step of you learning. It all points to your future, which I do hope you accept, of become a member of Parliment. ( do not know if i spelled that right). Courage, heart, drive.
The only thing you’re guilty of Jack is being honest and telling it like it is!!
Ignore the trolls, the nasty comments and the bloody vile drivel that is being thrown your way. YOU and only YOU know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of what you are and what you do and THAT is how it should be.
I have followed you for ages now (in a purely Blogging and interested way I hasten to add) and I can tell a straight up honest and good person when I see one.
Stand strong be who you are and be proud.
Your son has a fantastic role model.
I salute you Jack, Shirley Goode was an inspiration to me when she appeared. I follow both your blogs. You have taken a path to support you and your son without now having to live on benefits, Had you stayed the way you were people would have castigated you for relying on benefits when you could have been earning. As the saying goes; you cant please all the people all of the time
Sounds like sour grapes on the part of those who have complained, Jack. I wouldn’t worry about them.
The only opinion about you that actually matters is your own, but FWIW I think its fab that your doing these ads (so exciting!!) and mega fab that you are giving so generously of not just your income but your time. Keep staying true to yourself, have fun and remember you’ve earned every bit of your success many times over so enjoy!
Jack take no notice some people will always be negative. Good luck to you in everything you do!
I’m a big fan Jack. Your a tenacious woman and I appreciate your honesty and integrity.
I’m disappointed that people can’t celebrate your recent success. It’s a culmination of a lot of struggling and hard work on your part.
Keep doing what you do. If people can’t share you in your success then they have a choice and I would suggest they exercise it rather than run you down.
You and your little person have a great Christmas and a prosperous new year. I hope your work with Sainsbury’s is a springboard for much more.
Dont listen to the knockers. you are getting your voice heard and we are the speakers of your great words . I cant wait for when I have a new email from you and I find your words not only calming but common sense. To be given the honour of doing sainsburys is fantastic and you deserve the limelight and keep up the great work .
With regard to the hate mail you receive, when you were out of work Jack and had nothing but SB, you were more or less one of them. The thought that you’ve moved on and are earning a wage fills them with resentment and hatred as you now have something that they don’t. I’ve seen this sort of thing going on for donkey years where certain people try to drag down those around them to their level and it will never change. The thought that someone is better off than them, no matter the reason, fills them with an all consuming bitter jealousy. Try and develop a thick skin, it’s the only way to survive when in the public eye.
Hi jack, Problem is that you are being used and they have purchased your endorsement at a bargain basement price. Jamie Oliver was paid 1million pounds! The fact you are doing this for so little reward and giving most of the money away is honourable but I think also very naive. Regardless of your good intentions you are now an ambassador for their brand and that means whether or not you agree you endorse their brand values. And as you are currently a media celebrity your image is one they think will help shift more products. Supermarkets contribute a great deal to our everyday lifestyles but they are also responsible for destroying small independent shops and killing off the retail trade in our towns. They keep prices artificially high and they treat their suppliers badly. Not everything they do is evil but equally they are most definitely not a charity and their motives are driven by profits. This sits very uncomfortably with what your supporters believe you stand for. For such a small amount of money you would be better off remaining independent and keeping to your core message helping those who are disadvantaged to learn how to eat and live better. I say this with your best interest at heart, please get some good professional advice on how to best capitalise on your own brand. You shouldn’t be surprised by the amount of goodwill you are getting but equally don’t be naive about the flack you will get for getting this wrong. It’s wrong that you haven’t been offered advice or support on this ( perhaps you have?) but also maybe you are to proud to accept this sort of advice. For your own sake and for the welfare of your child you really need someone to guide you through this minefield.
This sounds very much like people being a little jealous Jack, that you have chosen to share your earnings with good causes shows you are striving to remain grounded and true to your roots. I and many like me are pleased for you and your little man that you are carving out a comfortable life for yourself whilst doing your best to avoid the greedy excesses that many public figures have clearly lost sight of! Good for you Jack & a very merry Christmas to you both 😉
Jack you and your dear son deserve all the best life can bring you, you work hard on the blog and you campaign tirelessly against the unfairness all around us, their will always be critical people, but how they can do this is beyond belief you are doing the right thing, you are an inspiration.
Just listened to you on woman’s hr, excellent interview. i’ve been following the blog for ages as I have a sb of the age ad you who liked the tarty sauce recipe (fresh anchovies hard to find inland!). Try to ignore the haters dealing with their crap will exhaust you. You have so many more (like me silent) admiring followers who are in awe of your poise and steeliness.
The people who read your blog are mostly the poor working class following your story and your recipes and advice. They could relate to you as the starving mom with a hungry child living in a dismal flat. Now they can’t relate to you so they’re angry and envious.
At this point you can move on and up or you can continue to feel guilty for your success (the time to donate is AFTER you’ve got your life covered). If you’re beyond self hate then you’ll go on and up. As my dad used to say, “never let them get you down and if they do, for heaven’s sake don’t let them keep you there.”
Good luck. The verbal tarring will only get worse. Learn to tune it out and stop replying to it. You’re a business woman now. Quit saying your sorry for that.
How on earth do you know who Jack’s readers are?? And the way that you write “mom” leads me to believe you’re not British, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to use “working class” because that has historical connotations and context in this country that you may not understand.
I’m very much middle-class and I have been reading Jack’s blog for ages, support what she does and use her recipes (the CCK burger last night!). I have also turned my father onto her; a socialist he may be, but he’s also definitely not working-class and is pretty well off. Please don’t generalise like this, it’s not helpful.
Just to point out that in the Midlands, we say “mom” too.
I am poor working class – a retired midwife with a BSc and an MSc and very little income – and we come in all shapes and sizes. I relate to Jack as an honest hard-working individual who is doing her best to feed her family with very little money. I read yesterday that the ‘average’ family in poverty spends a little over £2 a day per person on food. I spend less than a pound per person per day. We have our five-a-day fruit and veg and don’t subsist on lentils. I can do this because people like Jack and other bloggers are generous with their time and go to the trouble of writing about how it can be done.
I am neither angry nor envious, I am delighted that such a resourceful, thoughtful, hard-working young woman has had a series of opportunities presented to her that have helped to improve her life and that of her family. I am also proud of the decisions she has made about how best to integrate those opportunities into her lifestyle so that she remains true to her values.
You are right that Jack needs to tune it out, I hope that she is able to do that.
Of course you are not ‘selling out’ in any way whatsoever, Jack. You could take ten times that fee (or more) and I wouldn’t think you were selling out. It’s what you do with these opportunities that show what you’re doing and, to me, it sounds just about perfect. Just one thing though – make sure you are providing for your future too. Retirement seems a long way away at your age but starting now will make it all a lot simpler.
Everyone who has a job can be accused of being a “sell-out” if we’re nitpicking. Some people just enjoy whinging, bitching and berating others. Ignore them – it’s clear you are anything but a sell-out.
Jack. Have said it before but will say it again….you have to stop listening to the haters and just do your thing. No need to justify to your readers. It will do you in and one day you may say to hell with it all and disappear, and that would be a loss to many. Do not read criticism and do not respond to it.
Delete the hateful e-mails and keep going 🙂
Enjoy your success, you’ve worked hard and you deserve it! You’ve already done so much for other people so pls put something aside for yourself and SB (one day he’ll be a BB who may want to go to uni/ start a business/ travel…). Enjoy and ignore the trolls!!
I find it unbelievable that people could have a problem with you spreading your message through a popular medium and a recognised brand. It means helping and reaching so many more people in need, it’s not brain science! Best of luck to you, hope your christmas is joyous xx
Tell the moaners to take a big F-Off tablet. You’re doing what you love and making a living out of it, whilst giving money to worthwhile projects, AND not dodging your taxes, unlike many of the “elite” in this country.
I think you are amazing. Even more so finding out you are donating part of you fee. You have a right to work and get paid for it, whatever the capacity. I just don’t understand why people got to hate when your just trying to provide for yourself and your son which is your priority. You do not have to answer to anyone, or justify anything.
Keep up the fantastic work and like everyone else says “f*** ’em”
You are certainly not bonkers Jack you are a unique unselfish human being who despite turning a corner in their own life is still thinking of others who are disadvantaged. Don’t change Jack keep to your principles I have nothing but huge admiration for you.
Perhaps if enough polite requests are written to Sainsbury they may consider in the spirit of the Season to donate another sum to Jacks’ chosen charity’s for her knowledge and honesty in how she stands heads above others’ and tells it like it is and persists in the face of detractor’s – and helps us with great recipes’?
Suzy you write most of the people who read Jack’s blog are poor and working class, sigh.
Jack my dad always said there will always be 6 for you and half a dozen against you and ignore them all.
THANK YOU for surviving the coldest and hungriest times and it’s a benefit to everyone who reads your blog that you are an outstanding published person.
Have a lovely Christmas holidays.
Just remember the old adage about not being able to please all of the people all of the time. I, for one, will be cheering every time I see your advert
I personally feel you don’t have to justify how you are spending your fee. Treat yourself and your loved ones, you’ve earned it and yes ignore the haters, life is too short. Trite but so very true. Wishing you all the best, love your blog.
I follow you with amazement Jack, you are an incredibly intelligent, inspiring, go getter of a girl. You have fitted more into the last year than most of us do in a lifetime. Ignore the ridiculous accusations and hate mail. You are a succcess story and some people can’t bear that. I look forward to seeing your adverts, and look forward to seeing what 2014 brings for you. Big things I am sure.
just to let you know that you are doing the right thing and i am glad you do not feel bad about it!, well done girl for haivng a voice and for sticking up for yourself! you are doing it with responsability and I dmire it! you make tough choices and you stick by them and that is inspiring. i am a parent of two little ones in full time work and i have to make touch choices every single day. yours are more responsible than mine in the food department and that is inspiring to me. i would not choose to shop at sainsbury’s as this is more expensive than my Tesco, but i totally understand why you would amongst many reasons if you do not have means to travel to the supermarkets and this is the one on your doorstep it makes sense!
have a lovely Christmas Jack and LB and i hope the New Year brings you many new fortunes!
I see that slimeball Littlejohn is on your back again.
You are wonderful, and I have so much respect and admiration for you. You are not a sell-out; I don’t think you could be one even if you tried! Tbh, I wouldn’t blame you if you did decide to take the money and run, God knows you deserve it. But to reiterate what another commenter has said, please, please please put some money away for Small Boy’s future (and your own future for that matter!). As you yourself have said, you don’t know how long this (whatever “this” is) is going to last. The Co-op bank do Future Funds for children which they can’t touch until they’re 18. I’m suggesting the Co-op because they’ve always had a reputation for being an ethical bank. Mind you, I think they’re being taken over, so they may well “sell-out” and start investing in companies that aren’t quite so ethical, I dunno. :./
Anyway, ignore the haters – they probably haven’t bothered to read your blogs/articles properly anyway, and keep on doing what you do! 🙂
I am sure the criticism comes from people who don’t know what it is like not having enough money to live and having the responsibility of a young child. You continually mention Sainsburys in your blog for free why not get paid? We all have to shop somewhere.
Obviously those criticising you have not followed your blog. Personally I have never had financial worries (not rich by any means but always enough to get by without having to borrow etc) but I have always found your blog to be truly inspirational. Your recipes are great, imaginative and tasty. I admire your honesty, your high moral standards, your optimism and the fact that you have put so much effort into drawing attention to the poverty that exists within our society. Keep up the good work, do what you think is right! If you want to give your earnings away to charity it is no ones business but your own. Someone out there will be eternally greatful. Those criticising have probably never suffered hardship so do not appreciate your need to help others faced with the hardships you have endured.
Hi Jack! Do you really care about ‘selling out’? What if people think you’ve sold out? Nothing bad happens, does it? It must be very hard to absorb the hatred, but if I were you I’d float above it. Putting all of your (or some, of course) of your life online is to invite people to comment on it- and it’s no surprise, some people are horrid, some are right wing, some hate gay people or single mothers. For every choice there is someone hating it. I’m heartened to hear that you are splitting your wage in to chunks, some for charity, which is a lovely and responsible thing to do. And more people should do it- especially MP’s and their pay rises. But don’t expect praise for this…that’s not why you do it, is it? If it was a truly selfless act, it would be secret. But giving makes us feel good, and attracts praise. I just hope you don’t respond to all haters- and rise above them. I am a massive fan, and hope you have a lovely christmas with your partner, family and …Small Boy! Xx
News flash Jack: people generally act idiotic and vitriolic on the internet.
However for every person who got angry at you for no discernible reason, there were thousands who didn’t. A negligible number of these people would have said anything to you in real life.
A 12 year old boy called me a “dum fagot” on Star Wars: The Old Republic last night. That’s what the internet does to (stupid) people.
Hi I’ve said before don’t feel guilty about earning decent money, you and small boy deserve it. You are obviously not a materialistic and shallow person but treat yourself and SB, you don’t have to justify it! Also you should be getting paid a lot lot more!
i totally agree,you need to save for yourself and your son.go on treat him.and yourself
The world is full of nasty opinonated people. Do what you feel is best and everyone else keep your nose out and worry about yourself and your own choices…..
Stick with your gut feeling Jack, always. Sometimes you will look back and say “Shit, got it wrong that time.” Most times though you will be pleased at what you’ve done. Go for it, every time.
Keep going girl you are doing ok
Jack, you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone, nor should you have to declare your earnings – that’s no-one’s business but yours. Please try and ignore all those haters and trolls who are trying to spoil things for you – envy and nastiness have no place in your life. I agree with others here who say that as well as taking an income you would be wise to put something aside for your future.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the ads, and I think that most viewers are sophisticated enough to realise what the supermarkets are about. If you are selling out by making the ads, then each person who knows what the supermarkets are about and still shops there are also selling out. We ALL have to buy our food from somewhere and I am not going to be swayed in my choice by an ad. I will shop locally where I can find the best value, and am lucky enough to have 4 of the big supermarkets close by.
Good luck with all your endeavours, and please stop thinking you have to justify yourself. Those that mind what you do with your life don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind!
Dear Jack,I think you’re doing completely the right thing in accepting the Sainsburys advert- I’m looking forward to seeing it. Just ignore the nasty people who enjoy having a go at anyone with integrity, principles and morals. You are like a breath of fresh air in the media circus. Please look after yourself, have a lovely Christmas with your fiancee and SB- you deserve all the very best that 2014 has to offer.
Best wishes, Kate
I would ignore what everyone says and just go with what feels right to you Jack and only you can know that is. Whatever you do, there will always be someone trying to knock you down. You are a hard working mum, you deserve whatever success comes your way. Just go with your heart and your instinct. Happy Christmas to you and your family Jack, enjoy it x
I would say that some people are just jealous, and other people feel that because you are no longer a struggling single mum they can no longer relate to you,they may be disappointed.
Just my thoughts .
Please remember this, if you are going to continue to help others you must remain fit and healthy. To do this effectively you need to take care of yourself first and this includes your own finances. Otherwise you may wear yourself out and then we all lose out. Money may seem like a dirty word sometimes but it is necessary. Happy Christmas Jack and SB
Oh girl, stop justifying yourself!!
You gave a lot and fought hard. The wheel is turning and you get all that back. You will always be too poor, too rich, too tattoed, too strong-minded, too something and the opposite of something for someone. Look into your heart and take your decisions. Things Change. It’s scary, it’s life, it’s good! What’s the worst that can happen? Take a wrong decision? So what! You learn.
All joy and warmth to you.
Jack, these people who slag you off are mindless idiots and need to live in the real world. Why would you not accept a job promoting making cheap meals to feed a family on a budget? You are spreading the wordof how to live cheaply and healthily and as you have always said that you use Sainsburys basics then why on earth would you promote another supermarket?
Everyone needs money to live. Fact.
You did not have to take a living wage from the fees you could have kept the full amount and nobody would have begrugded you by doing so. If you were just in it for the money you wouldn’t have given more to charity than you have kept yourself.
After all its a fine line that we all tread and who knows one day they may have to rely on benefits and find out exactly how hard it is to manage on such a small income.
Enjoy your success its been well deserved. Wishing you and SB a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Oh Jack. I feel so sorry that you’ve had to write that post. It makes me sigh with sorrow that people are so narrow minded. Or just thick. Or just trolls. Or just bored and looking for something to cause a stir.
Please carry on doing what you’re doing. Clearly you’ve helped so many people and people love you for being you. If that was not true, how would you have come this far?
Sadly there are some people who would love to see you fail and fall now for whatever their reasons are – I don’t fully understand why. I can only assume it’s because they aren’t happy with themselves or they are jealous that they cannot elevate themselves in any way close to how you have, out of their situation.
Don’t spend too much time or energy on the haters Jack. They’re just robbing you of precious time to work on more positive things or time with your family.
Take care, keep going and I hope you enjoy your Christmas very much this year.
Jack, As long as you are true to yourself it really doesn’t matter what others think. Ignore those who begrudge you the benefits now being offered and don’t feel you have to justify every action. It is a way of making your voice heard and helping yourself and others – something to be applauded not to be slated. I am sure there are far more people who appreciate you than criticise – it is just that critics and cynics feel the need to shout the loudeft.
Jack, As long as you are true to yourself it really doesn’t matter what others think. Ignore those who begrudge you the benefits now being offered and don’t feel you have to justify every action. It is a way of making your voice heard and helping yourself and others – something to be applauded not to be slated. I am sure there are far more people who appreciate you than criticise – it is just that critics and cynics feel the need to shout the loudest.
Working class people who are activists have to justify their ambitions, but Middle class and wealthy activists don’t have to. It’s just another way of dismissing your struggle and your message. Good luck to you and keep writing; forget the rest.
I agree with all the positive comments above and to hell with your detractors – what, do they expect you and your Small Boy to still live in poverty and hunger, even though thankfully you don’t have to at this time? I feel sick to my stomach whenever I read some of the Daily Fail judgementeers. No, good luck to you.
PS – in part because of your blog I have given my name as a volunteer at a food bank. I don’t know how that will work out but at least I feel I have made a step.
Once one is in the lion`s den! No seriously I have been reading your blogs for a long time and I always read the comments after, I totally agree with people who have given you lots of constructive advice and support .You are doing the right thing and the knockers are part of being in the public eye.Well done for all your future achievements and I too wish you lots more success and stuff the critics.
£1653! Damn, you’re tough on yourself. I understand and applaud your principles, but you are applying them with really extraordinary rigour. Please do look out for yourself and your son, and put enough aside for yourselves
You have no need to defend yourself. Although it is encouraging, challenging and heart-warming to hear your generosity and attitude.
Jack, you’re amazing. You don’t owe anyone any explanations. The people who criticise you are most likely not doing even a quarter of the good you are doing for others, so screw ’em. Well done, you deserve every good thing that comes your way.
Just to add my voice to the chorus… Fuck ’em. Seriously! Fuck. Them. Over and over and over again. And the best way to do that is to keep on doing what you’re doing now. Do what is best for you and that which contributes to a wider view of the world. And focus your energy. Because engaging with trolls is pointless.
Actions speak louder than words.
A Very Merry Christmas Ms Jack and all x
“you can please most of the people some of the time, and some of the people most of the time, but you can’t please the people who don’t want pleasing.”
Did I miss when it was publically decided that being paid by money (aka selling out to) a supermarket chain was only something that those who already have an above average amount of money (like Delia, Jamie Oliver etc) are “allowed” to do, like eating decent food (including kale) apparently is. Is it also wrong for “poor” people to work there? (I suspect “They” would think not, but only if they stay on the tills/shelf stacking and don’t get idea’s above their station).
No, I don’t think you’re selling out (you’re always upfront about where you shop and I’ve never felt I can only follow a recipe if I buy the ingredients at Sainsbury’s), but even if you were, so what? “Rich and famous” people do this kind of thing all the time and no one bats an eyelid. It would only be hypocritical if you’d campaigned against others doing this in the past.
It’s also none of my business how much you earn, but well done you for donating the “surplus” to charity.
Apparently 100 000 earn more on benefits in the UK than the average worker…I was shocked to see a BBC article about benefits being ‘capped’ at five hundred pounds a week, which is ridiculous. One family can’t get proper help, another is living the good life…clearly the benefit system has massive inequalities also. And I’m sure this fuels the extremists, who don’t look beyond these obvious extreme cases…which don’t represent the norm.
I personally don’t see a problem with food banks if it prevents or reduces food waste, is grass-roots community consciousness and gives people an insight into what happens when an ordinary worker such as themselves falls through the cracks. Nobody ever thinks it can happen to them.
At least you have NHS in Britain, so an accident or illness or pregnancy isn’t going to leave someone massively in debt.
If restaurants, supermarkets etc did not throw away food rather than repurpose it- I don’t see how so many people would be hungry, but I’m guessing it’s just another piece of manipulative profiteering bureaucracy. More profitable to waste and make people pay through the nose.
EU nonsense has a lot to answer for. Especially since Britain seems to be target number one for the poorest migrants. Interesting to see what happens when Hungarians and Romanians are free to emigrate next year.
Don’t see why you should feel you have to justify your income or what you do with it. Don’t feel pressured to give all your money away- as you have already learned once the system will soon fail you if you need help, no matter how much tax you pay or how much you give to charity.
Might be better to set up an emergency savings fund and to set aside money for your son’s education- no small expense for young people, yet one fewer and fewer parents are planning for. That used to be a number one priority, making sure the next generation are going to succeed! For a time in Britain it was funded by the taxpayer, a brief glorious era to try and redress imbalances of equality.
Jack, I’m older than you and frankly I regret a lot of the money I’ve doled out to charities and individuals over the years- none of whom would give a crap about me today if I needed it. Much of the money I have given to registered charity and church just went to fund someone else’s lucrative career or a political agenda…
There’s a balance somewhere, and feeling obliged to donate a significant portion of your income or to defend yourself for ‘selling-out’ and working…that’s not it.
One of my friends told me last year that she is regularly approached by a local hospice charity for contributions, for several decades now. When her husband was suddenly seriously ill she approached them in turn for assistance. She was turned down. He only lived a few weeks but she had to pay for his hospice nursing herself. She still asked for donations to the hospice charity in lieu of flowers at his funeral, only to find she was the target of yet another fundraising campaign, now to give monthly. She told them no, as they told her no in her hour of need.
You have already lived and survived food poverty- by sheer luck and the help of friends, then by being clever and capable, and then untimately sharing your ideas with others as a new career.
I’d like to see the five hundred pounds a week benefit recipients living on ten pounds food budget….also the MPs and Lords and the royal family, who all seem ever-willing to waste more, restrict themselves less, and not contribute to a real debate on saving public money.
It crosses my mind from time to time to return to the UK…but of course there are now proposals that citizens like me, regardless of taxes paid, must live in the UK for twelve months to receive treatment on the NHS.
Maybe I should travel via Hungary….
Hate to be so cynical Jack- but life is cynical….you have to learn to look after yourself and your family.
In that at least Margaret Thatcher was correct- ‘there is no such thing as society; there are just individuals and their families’.
Tracy, I think you have totally misunderstood what Jack is about: I reckon she believes in community and society, etc. Oh, and as for the ‘benefit rich’ you describe above, the majority of these will be disabled and sick people using that money to pay for care(as state care is being decimated), transport, suitable diets, major adjustments to the home, etc, so they can have a life that the ‘able bodied’ may take for granted.
I don’t know Jack Monroe, though I have followed the blog since way before it was famous.
Most sick and disabled people do work, John Rogers, and it’s a sad indictment of our society when someone works hard to write a practical book about poverty, pulls themselves out of poverty and then is called ‘a sellout’. Is all…
jack you are doing great,you are a hard worker,and working your way out of your situation.. if i was offered opportunities i would take them.no one said Jamie Oliver,Marco Pierre white were sell outs. i lived on benefits, been in work, out of work into work again.my food budget always changes with my situation.i like free range eggs, i bought organic mushrooms on sale from Tesco this week”wanted to know what fuss was about”some times i get organic that’s cheaper than value brand.i like fresh salmon sometimes i get the tin. i eat your mumma jacks which i love,carrot and cumin burgers..we do need to help feed the poor though and educate people along the way. maybe the food banks could give cooking home economics,budgets etc.some people are wasteful.cooking and money handling, should be in schools as a life skill. i would give any one anything but your critics need to find a little room to help them self’s.if they have time to bully that’s time they can spend on evaluating there own life’s worth. looking forward for your book coming out..keep what your doing.
I am delighted at your good news Jack. And I’m awed and humbled by your principled approach to your earnings – you are truly generous to share with those less fortunate. Your SB is lucky to have such a great Mum. Ignore all the carpers and mean-mouthed individuals who try to put you down. I wish you a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2014.
Jack oh Jack oh Jack. Sit down and listen to me. You have done wonderful things in so many ways, be sure of that and be sure of yourself. By now you dont need people to tell you that surely, be confident about who you are and what you are doing now, then think to yourself things might change, I might actually earn the money I deserve to earn, its no crime is it? You are not selling out, you are raising awareness, You are a person who has intergrity and will always stay true to yourself and care about those you need to care about in life, and that is all that matters. I am not qualified to tell you how to run your life, I dont know what your life entails, but I am sure your popularity has widened ( good or bad). Make sure you spend time relaxing, enjoying life, being with the people who mean the most to you, not people who are twisted and judgemental……………… you are better than that
Its not selling out, it’s getting more media coverage to show it’s not just professional highly paid chefs using expensive ingredients that can make good food!
I used your recipes loads whilst at uni to feed me and my partner and they’re all great, so thanks!
Jack, you are absolutely not a sell-out! There are some very ignorant people out there. You’re one of the good guys – one of the best – so hold your head up high and know that there are many of us who admire and respect you xx
Reblogged this on The Sinful Vanity and commented:
I’m a huge fan of Jack Monroe, who is a food blogger and activist in the UK. She writes about living and eating cheaply. Due to her ‘recent’ success in 2013, she’s picked up a number of gigs writing and appearing in TV media. Have a read of what she’s doing with Sainbury’s.
You really are a talented writer and blogger and deserve to earn a good & sustainable wage. Of course it’s wonderful that you are supporting causes you care about, but please don’t give away anything because you think having money might undermine your credibility or your right to have a ‘voice’. I think you’re brilliant, and I hope you end up earning millions because your food writing is excellent and timely. Jamie Oliver is a gazillionaire but to me it doesn’t mean that his food campaigning is insincere or invalid. What you earn is between you and the taxman, no one else.
The problem lies in thinking you can write for the poor, while not being poor. I just don’t think you can, particularly when it comes to food. Pretty soon, the pennies per portion don’t matter a much as they used to, and you stop eating the recipes you write about, and the entertainment budgets of the media industry cover your lunch expenses, anyway, and before you know it, you’re one of the comfortable, complacent middle class you used to rail against for their lack of charity. And that shows in your writing, whether you want it to, or not.
Early in her career, Saint Delia wrote a book called ‘Frugal Food’. It’s a good book, still one of my go-to books for economic ways with food. But look where Delia is now – entirely insulated from from the constituency she sprang from, and entirely careless of them.
I hope this doesn’t happen to Jack, we poverty line people need a food champion. The fact that tagine and cous cous is beyond our budgets doesn’t mean we don’t taste what we eat. I think Jack has the balance right on this one, and I hope she sticks to her principles, for a good time to come.
Best wishes, all. Rob
You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. People bludgeon you for being on benefits, then snigger when you get off them and do what everyone else on this planet does, and that’s trying to carve a life for yourself. I tend not to pay attention to smarmy imbeciles who can’t see the end of their nose despite their face. Love you Jack! xxxx
When I saw your face on one of those Sainsbury’s adverts, my initial thought was ‘good on you’, and good on you Jack.
I don’t think you’ve sold out at all, in fact I’d much rather have you helping me out with budget recipes than Jamie Flippin’ Oliver.
Quite frankly, it’s nice that all these top chefs have been ‘helping’ us with our budget, but some people do not have £3 let alone £10 to spend on cooking an evening meal.
Thank you for doing what you do and for being an excellent example for healthy eating on a set income. You are truly an inspiration.
Keep up the good work girlie, and don’t feed the trolls.