As Pan Macmillan issue a “safety statement” over ‘gender X’ harpy Jack Monroe’s patronising-the-poor book ‘Thrifty Kitchen,’ Matthew Steeples suggests they’d do better to recall it and pulp it
Over the years, there haven’t been many people who gender-something-or-other-gender-anything-goes Jack Monroe (once known as ‘A Girl Called Jack’ and later as ‘Jack at a Pinch’) hasn’t chosen to patronise or pester. Here is a prattling pontificater with more front than Harrods, but less tact and an ability to troll more twaddle than Andrew Tate even.
From the inception of The Steeple Times in June 2012 – and even before for myself personally also as far back as 2011 – the nation has witnessed this grim grifter seeking out fights with everyone from hapless harridans like Katie Hopkins to national treasures such as Michael ‘Choo Choo’ Portillo. David Cameron’s son, Ivan, was not immune from her poisonous pen after he died aged just six.
Monroe – who is astoundingly listed on speaker fee rosters at £10,000 to £15,000 yet bangs on about poverty continually – is a hypocritical “them” (“neither man nor woman,” if you go by her all-over-the-shop narrative) who does not differentiate in her hatefulness. Instead, here is someone who targeted even the chirpy, cheeky chappy chef Jamie Oliver for his commerciality whilst herself being sponsored, for a time, by Sainsbury’s. Her campaign for the supermarket, very predictably and quite sensibly, was ended after just six weeks.
Back in 2011 – sadly now beyond unlikely impossible today given the cost-of-living crisis – I proved that you could actually make a meal for 30p with ingredients bought in London’s tony Knightsbridge district. In doing so, I became portrayed as someone that the likes of Monroe loathe more than anything else in spite of an esteemed restaurateur reader observing: “Keep up the good work and bring this problem of supermarket food waste to your readers on a regular basis.”
I had purchased sausages, potatoes and stuffing in the Brompton Road branch of Marks & Spencer Simply Food for a total of just 30p and when, in 2013, Mr Oliver was called a “poverty tourist turned self-appointed tour guide” for supporting such, she had a pop at both him and I on Twitter. Neither of us backed down in highlighting that you can buy affordable items and dine well, but sadly nor did this mouthy menace relent in her ridiculous notion that the privileged just patronise.
Subsequently, last year, a Conservative MP – admittedly himself deservedly mocked as a total twerp when it comes to his views on many other matters – named Lee Anderson MP (AKA ‘30p Lee’) got into a fight with Monroe since she’s jolly good at that. She threatened to sue him for libel after he claimed: “She’s taking money off of some of the most vulnerable in society and making an absolute fortune off of the back of people” and now, at the end of the first week of 2023, she’s again started as she means to go on and got herself into another stinker of a bun fight.
This time, in the wake of The Bookseller sharing news that Bluebird, a Pan Macmillan non-fiction imprint, has issued a “statement regarding ‘potentially risky’ hacks and tips included in Jack Monroe’s latest book Thrifty Kitchen, which was published on the 5th January,” comes proof that here is someone who doesn’t actually think before she puts pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard).
Amongst the definitely dangerous ideas suggested by Monroe in her latest profiteering pamphlet are to not buy a tin opener if you don’t already have one – they are currently available in branches of Tesco for 60p (and in other stores also are available) – and to instead use a “small sharp knife that you are not particularly attached to, a hammer or a mallet, a bit of vigour, some patience and a VERY steady hand.” A&E departments across the land must be celebrating this incredibly stupid suggestion.
Even more bizarrely, should you even desire to own one, Monroe warbles on how about to create an ‘egg ring’ – currently on offer on Amazon for £2.10 (and available in other stores also too). Her tip is to remove the lid and base of a tuna tin and then sand away the rough edges. She pointedly profers: Wash afterwards to remove “any tiny dusty bits of metal.” Egg-tastic to someone somewhere, but clearly a route to cut fingers for most.
This morning, The Bookseller’s Lauren Brown reported:
“The statement reads: ‘Bluebird and Pan Macmillan understand that some of the hacks and tips in Jack Monroe’s Thrifty Kitchen have been pointed out to be potentially risky if proper care and attention is not taken. These include a way to open a tin can without a tin opener, how to repurpose a tin can after first use, and a method of straining food without a strainer or colander.”
“It continues that these hacks come from when Monroe ‘found herself in extreme circumstances of food poverty and necessity required creative solutions to overcome the obstacles’ and that ‘proper tools should, of course, be used where possible.’”
“Moreover, it states that ‘the tips are not recommended for daily use but have been mentioned for completeness and to give alternatives’ and that ‘safety measures should be given the highest priority, especially when dealing with knives and sharp objects, and heat and electrical appliances,’ concluding: ‘Bluebird has amended text in the e-book edition, and will do the same for future reprints, removing or amending some of the content that has been flagged, and adding enhanced safety information at the back of the book.’”
“In response to concerns raised regarding the book’s content, the Trussell Trust – a UK charity to combat poverty – wrote on Twitter: ‘While Jack and BookShop have agreed to donate a number of books for our food banks, we don’t have any editorial control of the content. The safety of people who use food banks is our priority and food banks aim to help people access essentials such as tin openers if needed.’”
“‘The publishers have assured us that they’re taking action. The books that will be donated to our food banks will contain an addendum that addresses any health and safety concerns and we will not be distributing any books via our food banks in the current form.’”
A complete contrast to the utterly delightful ‘£1 store cupboard cook’ Miguel Barclay – a jolly gent who focuses on actually helping people cook affordably by “buying the basics” and “cooking in bulk” to save costs yet eat well – the annoying and condescending “not a boob hater, just my own” Monroe’s publishers would be better to take further action. They should take Thrifty Kitchen off the shelves and pulp it; so-inclined people of all wealth levels could then spend what they might on this bag-of-bilge book on several tin openers (and an egg ring even, if they must).
Editor’s Note – Unlike as is the case in many publications, this article was NOT sponsored or supported by a third-party. Follow Matthew Steeples on Twitter at @M_Steeples.
Pictured Top – Rather like Prince Harry’s tacky tome, ‘Spare,’ Monroe’s ‘Thrifty Kitchen’ has already hit the discount bin at Waterstones. It’s on offer for £9.99, RRP £19.99. Purchase at your personal peril.
Jack Monroe likes to pick fights; amongst those she’s had a pop at are…
When she’s not living-it-up with I’m A Celebrity bestie of Stanley Johnson, Georgia Toffolo, aside from myself, Jack Monroe has variously kept herself busy launching warbling words of war against:
- Lee Anderson MP.
- The Right Honourable David Cameron and his deceased child.
- The Conservative Party – with their members in Bath being particularly high up on her list of ire.
- Germaine Greer.
- Katie Hopkins.
- The Labour Party.
- Jamie Oliver.
- Michael Portillo.
- The late The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher LG OM DStJ PC FRS HonFRSC.
- The Right Honourable Liz Truss MP.
- And many members of the Twitterati… And many, many others elsewhere.
Heavens to Murgatroyd. (If I had the spare cash – which I don’t), I’d pay $10,000-$15,000 NOT to hear him/her/it speak.
Typo…Tony should be tory.
I understand what point you’re trying to make, but it is an informal North American adjective that I rather like. “Tony” meaning fashionable among wealthy or stylish people. Example, “a tony restaurant.” I also rather like “ritzy” as an alternative.
She is just a nice Greek girl (originally Melissa Hadjicostas) trying to make her way in the world….