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"She arranged for me to go on benefits, sorted everything out for me: Jobseeker’s Allowance, and later income support and disability allowance. When the bank came and repossessed my flat she took me straight to a hostel and even managed to get my possessions put in store."I had lost my career, my family and p—ed off any friends I once had. And after a few relapses the binge-drinking stopped.“I was spending five hours a day travelling, dropping him off with my parents, with his father, with my sister. But it was a later post, Hunger Hurts, that went viral and turned her mind to writing about food.“I thrashed out that post in despair,” she says, tears brimming.She had just given her Johnny the last food in the house, half a tin of pasta in tomato sauce. A year later Monroe has 250,000 followers a week, has attended a G8 conference on poverty, addressed parliament, met the Prime Minister, landed a book deal and been asked to stand as an MP. I had turned off the heating, hot water and fridge, taken out the light bulbs.Typing that blog post was the moment she decided she had to turn her life around. I’d done the wallowing, lying in bed all day crying, feeling sorry for myself. I’d sold everything, including my phone, watch and telly,” she says.Jack Monroe's story Last month a newspaper put a recipe by Jack Monroe head to head with one from Jamie Oliver’s new budget cookbook: it was obvious who would win.Monroe, a 25-year-old, unemployed single mother from Southend, who feeds herself and her son on £10 a week, against the multi-millionaire television star? Oliver has done his research – Monroe has lived it.
Mrs Farquar was great at giving me confidence to substitute if you hadn’t got exactly the correct ingredient.”And, if she is reading this, can Mrs Farquar, formerly of Southend grammar, please get in touch with Jack Monroe. Jack Monroe’s typical weekly shop Sainsbury’s 1kg chopped frozen spinach £1.49 1.5kg self-raising flour 65p 1l skimmed UHT milk 53p 2 onions 22p 6 apples 84p 2 x 75g jars of salmon paste 64p 500g spaghetti 39p 400g tin red kidney beans 21p 411g tin peaches 32p 312g tin broken mandarins 25p 1kg rice 40p 10 chicken stock cubes 20p 670g cooking bacon £1.09 120g sardines in oil 55p 540g tin potatoes 17p 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes 70p 400g tin red kidney beans in water 21p 500g natural yogurt 45p 340g crunchy peanut butter 62p Total: £9.94 Tony's story Back in the 1980s and 1990s Tony was anything but skint.
I chose the curd.” Monroe was already a confident cook.
Her Greek-Cypriot father is a good cook, as was her grandfather.
“You get stuck in this cycle and food is often the first thing to go.
When I woke up the next morning I knew I needed to manage things better so we could have a basic two or three meals a day.