Jack Monroe is amazing and fascinating because she took something sadly ordinary and turned it into something quite extraordinary.
It all started during her days as a benefit-dependent mum, living in Southend-on-Sea with her young son. She started blogging about her life: the poverty she has unexpectedly descended in to, the hunger she and her son experienced, her ways of making a desperately frugal experience into something vaguely tolerable. Her doing-without made for uncomfortable reading. The generosity with which she shielded her son was downright aching.
The next thing, A girl called Jack had morphed into an intelligent, political discussion about poverty alongside a startling collection of below the line budget recipes: really good food put together on the tiniest of budgets.
Then she started winning awards, and got a publishing deal! Her book is due out next March and promises to provide a range of delicious but astonishingly frugal recipes. Think Leek, Savoy & Smoked Cheese Pasta for 43p, Pasta alla Genovese for 19p or Chickpea, Tomato & Rosemary Best Brunch Loaf at 10p per portion…
But becoming a celebrity chef hasn’t meant that Jack Monroe has turned her back on poverty. Oh no. Now she’s fronting up to the House of Commons to discuss UK hunger and poverty. Now she’s taking world leaders to task at the G8. Now she’s speaking on behalf of Enough Food If and telling people about food banks, the “hidden hungry”and life below the poverty line.
And she’s still blogging! Visit A girl called Jack for brilliant free recipes, a story filled with passion and outrage… and intelligent opinions on welfare reform which Patrick Butler from the Guardian describes as “required reading, suffused as they are with the kind of “service user” insight that the system’s designers and putative reformers, and most of the media commentators on the issue for that matter, do not have.”