120 Tasty Money Saving meals are promised on the cover. Before I start, I will say that I like Jamie Oliver. I like what he has done for cooking, for the underdogs he hires in his restaurants and what he has done for school dinners in the UK.
Recently in the press, his new book is being compared to the efforts of Jack Monroe, a fellow Essex person, who has a website dedicated to very cheap living. Jack posts recipes on her site that are extremely cheap based on her experience of cooking for her and her son for £10 a week. Fairly or unfairly there is a lot of press comparing Jamie’s book with Jack’s efforts – see for example the Evening Standard.
In my view, Jamie’s book is for the reasonably well off trying to save a few quid – it is not for the guys trying to make every penny count. Jamie’s book is a good cookbook and everything I would expect from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, but it is not a book about cooking for those with very little. First off it costs 26 UK sheets which in Jack’s world is 5 weeks of food for one person (you can get it for under a tenner on Amazon but this is not the RRP). Second it suggests a bunch of equipment – not as much as the 300 UK sheets in 30 minute meals but still enough to cause someone who has very little a problem. Thirdly, it promises lots of tips but in reality there are about 20 pages of tips to waste less and shop smart. The rest are recipes which don’t strike me as massively frugal.
Although there are some great recipes in Jamie’s book, I’m holding out for Jack’s book which is due for release in February – not because I need to cook cheaply, purely out of interest. Hurry up Jack. On the other hand, this is a good cook book with some good tips and good recipes – it just doesn’t address the issue of eating on a minimal budget. Maybe it just isn’t aimed at that market.
(Incidentally Jamie’s book is the second Amazon hit when you search for Jack’s book. Also boo hiss, no digital version Jamie?)