Happy book-birthday, hurrah!


Happy book birthday!

And so the day is finally here, and true to form on publication day, I’ve spent most of my waking hours on various radio stations and chatting to journalists, not to mention signing a pile of 503 quite large and heavy books in the Penguin offices on the Strand. And now, finally collapsing in a quiet corner with a nice hot mug of tea, I thought I’d jot a few words down here.

It seems as though the ink is barely dry on the first book, A Girl Called Jack, when suddenly out of almost-nowhere this one has come along. Well, I wanted to write a book that summed up my year – from sleeping on a mattress on the floor of a room I shared with my son in a house share in July 2013 in an effort to get my life and finances back on track, all the way to where I am now, living in London and having lots of adventures. As my dad used to say, “it’s amazing how many nights it takes to become an overnight success” – and he’s absolutely right. Although ‘overnight success’ isn’t how I’d describe myself at all, the sentiment is the same; it takes a lot of hard work to get from a food bank queue to the top of a bestseller list! And yes, I’ve been extremely lucky along the way – contrary to popular belief (if the comments on the bottom half of the internet are to be paid any mind at all), when I started writing my blog I had no friends in politics other than a few local councillors I delivered leaflets for, and no friends in the media. As I started to write, cook and campaign, I met people and made friends along the way, and some of them remain very close friends, who have supported me greatly through many new and terrifying experiences.

So, I wanted to write a recipe book that was more like a mini-autobiography, with anecdotes and happy endings slotted in among cheap, seasonal recipes. I hope, for those of you holding a copy in your hands, that that’s what I’ve managed to do. It’s a bit political, a bit cheeky in places, and I sincerely hope that the person who wrote me a very long complaining email last week about ‘the use of innuendo in recipe writing’ hasn’t bought a copy or will skip the January-February chapter lest he explode with rage at a few sentences I’m amazed made it past the proof-readers and copy-editors… That’s all I’m saying!

I’m very proud of this book, of every dish loved and created and scribbled down in notebooks, of the tinned potatoes still kicking about in the ingredients lists and the long grain rice and the kidney beans, and I hope it brings you as much pleasure cooking from it, as it gave me to write it.

Thankyou all of you, for your support and kindnesses, in what has been a pretty good, and extraordinary, year.

And as ever, if you want to order it online, please order it at the Hive, who will send it to your local independent bookshop – support your local community bookshops please, because they are a joyous thing. (Link here: http://www.hive.co.uk/book/a-year-in-120-recipes/19054328/)



Categories: Blog, NEWS


  1. Well done Jack. I’ve been following your blog with interest over the last year. You are a great inspiration. I wish you all the very best in the future.

  2. well done, a great achievement. Luck may have played a small role, but nothing happens without persistence, positivity and belief.

  3. Congratulations on a job well done! Inspirational writing and true to yourself. Keep on doing what you are doing and enjoy life.

  4. Congratulations Jack. I love cookery books that are more than just recipes so I look forward to getting my hands on a copy very soon.

  5. I can not wait to read your new book, the first book has become one of the most important (and food stained) books in our kitchen and I have bought this for everyone as gifts. Its great to have a book where I dont have keep missing out ingredients because they’re too expensive . Keep it up!

  6. Really enjoy your posts Jack. So many people have no hope or very low expectations though, so please remember them & be their champ! No pressure Jack.

  7. Congratulations on the new book Jack! Though I confess I have yet to buy the old one, which might be useful though wonder if at present can really justify the expense.

  8. Way to go! I only just took a vegan banana bread out of the oven…compliments of your first book which a friend very kindly gave me. I do not keep too many cook books but I do enjoy yours..for the ease of the recipes, the budget minded approach and well, anything can be made vegan if necessary 🙂

  9. Yay to you….I only just took a vegan banana bread out of the oven based on your first book’s recipe. I love the easy recipes, budget approach and the pictures in the first one which a friend gave me. I do not keep too many cook books but I do enjoy yours very much….not vegan but lots of opportunity to either cook vegan or veganize! Good Luck.

  10. The inuendos are what give a personal touch and a soul to your book. It’s your creative process. People who only want recipies can find lots on the net.
    Congratulations with your good work!

  11. I love this new book, I loved the first too. We’ll done jack. Keep on being you we need you and more like you.

  12. It’s a brilliant book, it’s been my bedtime reading for the past week. I love the personal touches and the photos are simply brilliant. Now to try the recipes 🙂

  13. got mine – thank you for the book – i go back to the early days of stumbling over you on twitter so well done indeed – the receipes look simple enough that i am hoping i can persuade my non cooking 17 yr old inspired!

  14. ThankYou Jack – I am very focused on food budgeting as it’s one of the main ways to save money – I’ll be buying your book – loved you on Question Time – you should really consider politics as a job ✋🌎💫🌟xx

  15. Jack! I just came back from Italy and there was your book in a shop there!! In Finalborgo, precisely! I couldn’t believe it. There was no picture of you on the cover, but your name. I flicked through it and..there you where! I should have taken a picture..I am so happy for you!!

  16. Evil people- so sad you have had to put up with such abuse !!!
    However – good for you – great phone – even greater attitude!! Delighted there is a new book as I’ve almost worn out ‘ A girl called jack ‘ and bought many as presents. It kept us happily fed through being homeless and dragging over selves back again ( nearly!! ) much ❤️

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