Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cooking up a poverty storm

Jamie Oliver is right in his comments about the food choices of the poor


Jamie Oliver made some comments about food poverty in recent days. Naturally, the left wing sorts jumped on his being worth £150 million and completely out of touch. He is right and they are wrong.


In comments to the Radio Times, Oliver stated:


“Some of the most inspirational food in the world comes from areas where people are financially challenged… I meet people who say, ‘You don’t understand what it’s like’. I just want to hug them and teleport them to the Sicilian street cleaner who has 25 mussels, 10 cherry tomatoes, and a packet of spaghetti for 60 pence, and knocks out the most amazing pasta. You go to Italy or Spain and they eat well on not much money. We’ve missed out on that in Britain, somehow”.


Television chef Jamie Oliver is completely right in his comments about food poverty
Television chef Jamie Oliver is completely right in his comments about food poverty

He added:


“The flavour comes from a cheap cut of meat, or something that’s slow-cooked, or an amazing texture’s been made out of leftover stale bread”.


“I’m not judgmental, but I’ve spent a lot of time in poor communities, and I find it quite hard to talk about modern-day poverty… You might remember that scene in Ministry Of Food, with the mum and the kid eating chips and cheese out of Styrofoam containers, and behind them is a massive TV. It just didn’t weigh up”.


In an article for The Independent, a moralising lady named Jack Monroe suggests that Oliver “has no right to tell us how to spend our money” and whinges about “anger” and “despair”. The “freelance food-and-politics gob” hinges her attack on the television chef around the most bizarre of excuses also:


“Jamie’s stint on the television series Ministry of Food does not qualify him to talk about poverty. He is a poverty tourist turned self-appointed tour guide, and his comments are not only out of touch but support dangerous and damaging myths… Try cooking a budget fish pie, when you only have a single plug-in hob, or a microwave, or a disability that means you need to buy your vegetables pre-chopped, sending the cost soaring”.


Monroe certainly spouts a lot of first-class twaddle. Perhaps she and those like her ought to spend a little more time in the kitchen instead.



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    1. I know what I’m talking bout right, proper working class me, suck on my prosciutto wrapped cocktail sausages you whiny lefties, alright? Pukka

    2. all countries have a similar issue. We have a very romanticised view of how our neighbours in France, Italy, Spain etc eat, but they eat rubbish as well. And their poor eat rubbish as well. I visited Ecuador a few years ago which is the epitome of a banana republic. Their climate they produce everything and they export most of it. Their people do not have the fruit juices produced from their harvest. They have fizzy sugared drinks. They do not have the fresh variety of vegetables that they export en masse. They have fast food. So don’t over romanticise other countries with their eating habits. I recently returned from China where I ate some amazing food, but I don’t think the food I was given was that of the masses. Ditto my trip recently to Canada where I ate moose stew ‘cheaply’ but then at the local supermarket moose burgers were very expensive. All cultures have their issues. In many countries cooking is part of the community, it is social, skills are readily handed down from mother to child. It’s inbred in them, literally. It’s natural. It’s enjoyed. People are passionate about it. They’re not just told to be passionate about it. But, we do not have in this country the markets they have in other countries where fresh food is available. We have markets but the food markets I’ve visited here have been more expensive than what I can find in the supermarkets. The supermarkets have a nigh on monopoly and are using it. A nutritionalist I interviewed said the wealthy are getting healthier, the poor are eating less healthy and she didn’t blame lack of education or imagination, she blamed cost. Quality ingredients, even raw quality ingredients is expensive in this country. It is in other countries too. Just that in France there’s a lid on what they can charge for bread and I should imagine in other countries the basic ingredients also have a lid on them price wise. Perhaps we should do the same with certain foodstuffs in this country.

    3. What a great response to this story. Jamie Oliver gets it right again should have been your headline. The comments here are plainly from some pretty nasty oikish individuals. They truly are lowbrow and beneath the standard normally apparent from readers of The Steeple Times. Perhaps this lot haven’t been fed properly this week or maybe they’re just too busy watching their big TVs.

    4. Have you actually read Jack Monroe’s blog? Or where you aware that Penguin have commissioned her to write a frugal cook book? Thought not… perhaps a little research before you give a knee jerk reaction might be in order before you reach for the keyboard next time?

      • Perhaps you should read my article on how to produce a meal for 30p. You’ll find it in the Tipple & Fare section.

        Perhaps Jack Monroe should actually embrace what Jamie Oliver said also. Her article is what was reactionary and frankly it is flawed beyond belief especially in the reference to pre-chopped vegetables. If someone can’t chop them, they could steam them.

          • He clearly hasn’t read her blog. The idea she needs to spend more time in the kitchen or that she should read his article about producing a meal for 30p (when she has pages of examples of recipes that cost less than that to make and are far healthier that the sausages in his article) evidences that. Jack doesn’t promote eating junk food she promotes cheap healthy home cooked food. Her point was that demonising people by criticising their lifestyle doesn’t help and that Jamie’s recipes include ingredients beyond the budget of most people on benefits. The fact that Jamie has apologised in response to her article says it all.

    5. We live in an indulgent lazy society where the options to buy junk food are too easily available. Jamie Oliver is absolutely correct in his opinion the it is less expensive and healthier to prepare a home cooked meal. Let us use the scale to determine who is right and who is wrong.

    6. Unbelievable, what an uniformed and ignorant piece of writing. Jack Monroe is worth her weight in gold if she can break through some of the offensive ignorance that has been flying around with the BFT ‘Big F*ck off Telly’ and the Jamie’s ‘where to buy 10 Mangetout’ on a shoe string debate! There is no humour in a society where people are mocked for their misfortune rather than helped. Is it honestly too much for society to accept, people, working people, normal people are skint through no fault of their own and children are going hungry? Is it easier for you to mock and laugh it off than accept the truth. I think there is a superiority issue, it makes you feel superior to write others off as feckless idiots rather than see them as your equal, perish the thought! A reality check is what is needed and human compassion. Yesterday was 50 yrs since Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream speech’. I dream we cut the crap and the fictitious poverty porn and work out how to stop children going to bed hungry in the UK in 2013! Opinions are great, activism speaks volumes, looking down on others is just not helping anyone! ‘Cooking up a Poverty Storm’? There but for the Grace of God mate! I hope you are a ‘storm in a teacup’! ‘Wit and wisdom in equal measure’? Please keep working on the wisdom! I would rather you spent so much time in your kitchen you had no time to write offensive ‘First Class Twaddle’ or should that be Middle Class twaddle!

    7. Ah. Just out of interest (question for those who KNOW everything) how do you think less well off people buy those TVs? Hmmmn? Anyone? Bueller? You see, they don’t toddle down to John Lewis or Selfridges and buy the next big thing. No, they REALLY don’t! What they do is they go to these high street ‘buy on credit’ places & pay off a TV at a few pounds a month… for years. It’s a form of budgeting. You see, when you have less money to spend, there are less things you can do. Libraries are closing, books – even 2nd hand ones – can be £1+, there are bills to pay, blah, blah. A TV is actually a cheap form of ON-GOING entertainment & way of keeping informed. But that doesn’t matter does it? Not to those people who think everyone who has less money is a lesser human being, because let’s be honest, you think they deserve nothing that you have, even if they worked their backside off for it.

    8. Good article, Jamie is absolutely right! Frankly for half the price of a McDonalds you can eat a lot better and healthier if you…
      1) know how to cook,
      2) can stop watching X-factor for 10 minutes to do it.
      It might not give the same sugar/chemical rush as the pre-made stuff, and it might not have as much horse-meat but it’ll save you the obesity and diabetes later!

      – good points by sarahtucker123

    9. Jamie is totally right that living of ready meals is an expensive way of eating and just by checking the kilogram price yourself it it is obvious:

      Potatoes – 1 kilo for around £1.00
      Frozen Chips or Wedges – 1 kilo around £2.30

      So you pay more than double for someone cutting the potatoes into shape and splashing a bit of oil and flavouring on (and some E-numbers)… Both products still have to go into the oven before eating… (here we could mention the nutritional value and carbon foot print matters, too)

      Whatever individual reasons for not cooking or how someone finances their large TV is therefore completely irrelevant.

      Having lived in UK for more than 12 years I have yet to meet someone who can make a bread from scratch.

      In Denmark where I grew up pretty much everyone bakes their own bread. Why? Because we can! my 6 year old can, everyone can… it is easy if you bother!

      Jamie is correct stating that somehow pride, curiousness, defiance, inheritance, interest, passion and other inspirational sources seem to have vanished in UK.

      I am sure the reasons can and may be plentiful but simple math certainly confirms that Jamie is right.

      Bring on the enlightening wave Jamie, happy to help!

    10. The industry most to blame for the lousy eating habits of the poor is the advertising industry. Using the most egregious of methods it constantly targets the less educated, convincing them to buy their food processing clients’ vile and expensive products. It is not at all surprising that with this constant barrage of advertising people are seduced into wasting their money on meritless crap.
      I, being a total cynic, am unaffected by the industry’s constant bashing of my senses.
      It is the advertising industry that requires far more control: it forces numbskulls to make wrong decisions.


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