July 28th, 2013
Episode 307 of 640 episodes
Sheila Dillon meets the cooks specialising in great food on small budgets, part of a world of food blogging influenced by life of benefits, periods of homelessness and shopping budgets that can be as little as ten pounds a week. One of the highest profile blogs is "A Girl called Jack", written by Jack Monroe, a single mum who lives in Southend-On-Sea. Out of work, having complications with benefits and reduced to feeding her small boy Weetabix mashed with water, she went online to share her experience and started writing about food. What followed was a record of some of the most savvy shopping tips to be found anywhere, from dishes that can be cooked for 27p a portion, through to a forensic guide to every supermarket shelf, freezer cabinet and fresh produce aisle. In a recent report by Oxfam, the numbers of people now using food banks has reached 500,000, linked, charities say, to recent reforms of the benefits system. The government disputes this link, but food insecurity is increasingly found in every region of the UK. Others who have taken to writing about their efforts to cook and eat well on low budgets include Belfast born, now London based, Miss South who along with her brother, who lives in Manchester, Mr North, share recipes and pictures of the food they enjoy. Miss South recently came out as being "properly poor" in a blog posted last November and her writing has inspired others who need to cook on food budgets hovering between 15 and 20 a week. The third blogger in the programme is Tony, aka Skint Foodie. Once a high flying, restaurant going professional, his writing documents a determination to eat well despite losing everything to alcoholism. Producer: Dan Saladino.