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Jack Monroe: The acceptable face of poverty Frugality has been turned into a middle-class virtue

(Simone Padovani/Getty Images)

(Simone Padovani/Getty Images)


January 6, 2023   5 mins

For many of us, early January is a difficult time. Credit card and tax bills are looming, waistlines are bulging, and it’s dark by 4pm. As I write, the cost-of-living crisis is hitting hard and strikes are paralysing public services. Half the country is doing Dry January, the other half is doing Divorce Month, and some unlucky sods are doing both simultaneously. Happily, though, austerity guru Jack Monroe has a new book, Thrifty Kitchen to cheer us all up.

Some of the suggested “home hacks” in this book have attracted particular mirth, seeming as they do to involve great effort and even high personal risk for exceptionally low reward. For instance, should you be desperate to get your hands on an egg ring — that is, a metal ring that helps you form perfectly round fried eggs — but unable to afford the £2.10 that would obtain you one from Amazon, Monroe suggests removing the lid and the bottom from a tuna tin, sanding the rough edges away, and washing afterwards to remove “any tiny dusty bits of metal”.

Should you be poor enough to lack a tin opener, meanwhile — currently on sale in Tesco for 60p — she suggests using a “small sharp knife that you are not particularly attached to, a hammer or mallet, a bit of vigour, some patience and a VERY steady hand”. As the internet has pointed out, combining both of these suggestions to produce an egg ring seems to make it likely that by the end of the process, you won’t be particularly attached to your fingers either.

It is hard to know to whom these tips are really addressed. It seems improbable that the average cash-strapped and harassed parent is going to need — or indeed have time for — any of them. The most obvious candidate for lacking a tin opener is someone homeless or in temporary accommodation, but having perfectly circular fried eggs is surely an unlikely priority here. Other tips in the book involve making firelighters by stuffing cardboard toilet rolls with tumble dryer fluff; filling worn-out socks with lavender for a microwaveable “hot pocket”; making a rolling-pin out of a glass bottle filled with ice; and gluing ring-pulls into your handbag to keep your sunglasses secure. Perhaps, then, the envisioned reader is a pastry chef living in the woods, but still with access to a lot of home appliances.

If you are familiar with Monroe, you’ll know that fearlessly confecting the imaginary habits of poor people is something of a habit of hers. If you aren’t: she’s a queer, tatted, highly articulate and Very Online single mum who mostly writes about low-cost food. Ten years ago, she stumbled into fame at the height of the government’s austerity programme by writing a blog post about not being able to feed her son or heat her home in Southend-on-Sea. Since then, she has authored several cookbooks and continued her blog, heavily mining her own lived experience to evangelise about how to eat cheaply and well when you’re hard up. Nigella Lawson is a big fan and offers a fulsome tribute in the new book.

These days, Monroe seems professionally wedded to a narrative of personal struggle and sudden dramatic changes of fortune, for better or worse. She has a huge Twitter following, regularly detailing physical and mental health challenges, struggles with alcohol, a rollercoaster love-life, and anecdotes that heavily imply that the wolf is never far from the door. She’s helped by a fluent writing style that cycles rapidly through a variety of clickable moods: cheerful resilience in the face of adversity, living-my-best-life showboating, sassy clapbacking, ruefully relatable parenting moments, and so on. In short, she’s the acceptable face of modern poverty in the eyes of many middle-class progressives — and they adore her for it.

Equally though, the very characteristics that make her so pleasing to some make her absolutely infuriating to others. And just imagine — some of these infuriated people are actually poor and/or working-class. It’s no doubt a hard job to stand in for an entire demographic in the public imagination but still, Monroe’s apparently inability to keep a story straight about whether she’s really a downtrodden victim of a cruel system or rather #winningatlife tends to get on the nerves of readers feeling permanently crushed by rising interest rates, rents, energy bills, and food prices. In the last year or so, an army of determined internet sleuths has arisen to challenge the official back story of poverty, obsessively documenting internal discrepancies within Monroe’s voluminous Twitter output, cross-referenced with her many heartfelt Guardian op-eds, interviews, and blog posts. Understandably wounded, the writer is now apparently psychologically locked into an escalating and ultimately unwinnable confrontation with a multi-headed hydra of critics on Twitter.

Personally, although I find Monroe’s online persona more grating than — as she might have it — a metal sheet into which you’ve just punched several large holes with a sharp knife, I don’t think she’s a deliberate scammer. She strikes me as more of a disorganised, constitutionally inconsistent type who can’t remember what she last said from one moment to the next. Either way, I’m not too bothered. I’m just grateful for the lolz provided by some of the recipes — and specifically, the juxtaposition of Monroe’s middle-class culinary sensibilities with her cheap, ultra-processed ingredient list.

Think Nigella-does-Asda. Descriptions of unctuous smatterings and glossy meldings are one thing when enthusing about béarnaise or Sachertorte, but they take on another register altogether when the subject matter is Sainsbury’s Baked Beans or Instant Mash. A much-derided blogpost of Monroe’s from last year suggests buying a tin of spaghetti hoops, washing the tomato sauce from the hoops, then grating some cheese on top to produce “Anellini Con Cacio e Pepe”. (Readers are also told that the washed-off tomato sauce can be reduced down “in a vigorous boil to concentrate it” to make something approximating tomato purée.) In the latest book, Monroe waxes lyrical about such culinary temptations as “moonshine mash” (Instant Mash mixed with pureed tinned sweetcorn), chicken cooked in Fanta, and cornflake ice-cream.

Once you have unscrewed your face, consider that the real attraction of Monroe’s writing for readers cannot possibly be that it gives impoverished people genuinely delicious things to eat, still less that it saves them lots of money. After all, no amount of repurposing stale cornflakes or fiddling about with ring pulls is going to make even the smallest dent in household bills these days. Rather, the main appeal of Monroe’s writing is surely that it taps into an old and perennially satisfying literary tradition, which for want of a better term I’ll call Thrift Lit.

In this genre, fearless housewives — often abetted by a calm and steadfast husband with carpentry skills — marshal all their domestic forces against a hostile local environment. They build shelters, repurpose natural objects into domestic ones, find ingenious uses for old things, and waste nothing. They pickle, salt, ferment, and store up for winter; mend, patch, darn, and husband; plant crops then tend and harvest them; look after animals. Slowly, over time, they produce gleaming, quiet, well-ordered homes in which to bring up docile children, safe little shelters from the chaotic storm of life outside, lit warmly from within. Classics of the Thrift Lit genre include The Swiss Family Robinson, the Little House On The Prairie series, and The Country Child.

Viewed in this light, despite all the contemporary trappings (non-binary, tattooed, neurodiverse), Monroe becomes a surprisingly traditional figure, grounded in Puritan values of self-restraint and respectability: a castaway, pioneer, or farmer’s wife, ingeniously building a succession of bright, glowing homes for herself and her child out of nothing, in the midst of a punishing economic wilderness. The virtues to which she exhorts us by her own alleged example are thrift and frugality, not as means to any further ends but as wholly satisfying moral and aesthetic ends in themselves.

Of course — because we are limp and useless spoilt softies who can’t do anything right — we get the heroes we deserve. Our own modern-day Ma Ingalls is a pale shadow of her stoic forebears in terms of stiff upper lip at least. Still, the appeal of her message is timeless, and a good one for a cold and pitiless January. You too can use your own resources to make order out of chaos. It may be a fantasy, but it’s a consoling one. And if that doesn’t help, there’s always the circular eggs with a light smattering of metal dust to look forward to.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
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John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“Once you have unscrewed your face, consider that the real attraction of Monroe’s writing for readers cannot possibly be that it gives impoverished people genuinely delicious things to eat, still less that it saves them lots of money. After all, no amount of repurposing stale cornflakes or fiddling about with ring pulls is going to make even the smallest dent in household bills these days.”

More to the point, a lot of it looks less cost-efficient anyway. The part about washing the tomato sauce off spaghetti hoops and then reducing the sauce into tomato puree is about the stupidest idea, in terms of resource and energy use, that you could come up with. The tinned food is already the product of an energy intensive manufacturing process that has been carried out precisely so that the end user doesn’t have to do anything except warm it up. What is proposed in this instance is simply an energy-wasteful – and therefore more expensive – way to produce two disgusting meals out of a single edible one – but without actually increasing the total amounts of calories ingested anyway.

To put it in engineering terms, it throws away the embedded energy in the canned food. I’m sure we’ve all seen the online memes in which someone has employed their carpentry skills to make something useful out of an old pallet, well this is the reverse: making an old pallet out of a coffee table that you’ve just bought in a shop.

Idiotic.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Brilliant stuff.
A great comment on a great article about a fraud who sells poverty porn alongside the world’s worst recipes to idiot middle-class Guardian readers.

E Wyatt
E Wyatt
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree that it’s stupid, and the gas used in boiling down the sauce would cost more than the equivalent amount of puree from Lidl (which would taste better). However, the justification I’ve seen put forward for rinsing spaghetti hoops is that people getting food parcels might end up with too many spaghetti hoops and would therefore appreciate advice on how to vary the monotony!

Peter Beer
Peter Beer
1 year ago
Reply to  E Wyatt

We hate the poor if we’re putting in spaghetti hoops…

Peter Beer
Peter Beer
1 year ago
Reply to  E Wyatt

We hate the poor if we’re putting in spaghetti hoops…

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

If presented with the spaghetti hoops idea without context, my guess would be that it was from Top Tips in Viz.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

As a general rule, unless you get it a bargain price, processed food is poor value.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Brilliant stuff.
A great comment on a great article about a fraud who sells poverty porn alongside the world’s worst recipes to idiot middle-class Guardian readers.

E Wyatt
E Wyatt
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree that it’s stupid, and the gas used in boiling down the sauce would cost more than the equivalent amount of puree from Lidl (which would taste better). However, the justification I’ve seen put forward for rinsing spaghetti hoops is that people getting food parcels might end up with too many spaghetti hoops and would therefore appreciate advice on how to vary the monotony!

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

If presented with the spaghetti hoops idea without context, my guess would be that it was from Top Tips in Viz.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

As a general rule, unless you get it a bargain price, processed food is poor value.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“Once you have unscrewed your face, consider that the real attraction of Monroe’s writing for readers cannot possibly be that it gives impoverished people genuinely delicious things to eat, still less that it saves them lots of money. After all, no amount of repurposing stale cornflakes or fiddling about with ring pulls is going to make even the smallest dent in household bills these days.”

More to the point, a lot of it looks less cost-efficient anyway. The part about washing the tomato sauce off spaghetti hoops and then reducing the sauce into tomato puree is about the stupidest idea, in terms of resource and energy use, that you could come up with. The tinned food is already the product of an energy intensive manufacturing process that has been carried out precisely so that the end user doesn’t have to do anything except warm it up. What is proposed in this instance is simply an energy-wasteful – and therefore more expensive – way to produce two disgusting meals out of a single edible one – but without actually increasing the total amounts of calories ingested anyway.

To put it in engineering terms, it throws away the embedded energy in the canned food. I’m sure we’ve all seen the online memes in which someone has employed their carpentry skills to make something useful out of an old pallet, well this is the reverse: making an old pallet out of a coffee table that you’ve just bought in a shop.

Idiotic.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Declan Murray
Declan Murray
1 year ago

Jack Monroe sounds like Viz Top Tips with the humour removed.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Declan Murray

Not read Viz for a while, has it embraced non-binary yet?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It was woker when I saw it last; had a go at Brexiteers in quite a snide way.

Andy Martin
Andy Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As far as I can make out, Viz has yet to tap into a potentially very rich seam of their normally very non-PC humor.
I wonder why?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Martin

I stopped reading it a couple of years back. It went downhill after the Donald Brothers left. No strips like Modern Parents by John Fardell for a long time either.

In the end, rather than laughing at him, I began to agree with Major Misunderstanding.

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Martin

Millie Tant has been in for years…

Sam De Zoysa
Sam De Zoysa
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

Millie Tant was always my favourite character along with the modern parents and student grant. I haven’t read it in quite a few years. I think I’ll ask for teh annual from my wife this year. I had read that Viz had inevitably watered down their best characters but I shall read and report back.

Last edited 1 year ago by Sam De Zoysa
Sam De Zoysa
Sam De Zoysa
1 year ago
Reply to  N Forster

Millie Tant was always my favourite character along with the modern parents and student grant. I haven’t read it in quite a few years. I think I’ll ask for teh annual from my wife this year. I had read that Viz had inevitably watered down their best characters but I shall read and report back.

Last edited 1 year ago by Sam De Zoysa
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Martin

I stopped reading it a couple of years back. It went downhill after the Donald Brothers left. No strips like Modern Parents by John Fardell for a long time either.

In the end, rather than laughing at him, I began to agree with Major Misunderstanding.

N Forster
N Forster
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Martin

Millie Tant has been in for years…

carl taylor
carl taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I saw the Xmas annual. It was still refreshingly offensive, and had a very funny piece taking the piss about middle-class wokerati

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It was woker when I saw it last; had a go at Brexiteers in quite a snide way.

Andy Martin
Andy Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As far as I can make out, Viz has yet to tap into a potentially very rich seam of their normally very non-PC humor.
I wonder why?

carl taylor
carl taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I saw the Xmas annual. It was still refreshingly offensive, and had a very funny piece taking the piss about middle-class wokerati

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Declan Murray

Ah, you beat me to it.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago
Reply to  Declan Murray

Lefties don’t do humour.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Absurd comment.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

No, it really isn’t

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

No, it really isn’t

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Absurd comment.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Declan Murray

Not read Viz for a while, has it embraced non-binary yet?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Declan Murray

Ah, you beat me to it.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago
Reply to  Declan Murray

Lefties don’t do humour.

Declan Murray
Declan Murray
1 year ago

Jack Monroe sounds like Viz Top Tips with the humour removed.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Times are really tough when you can’t fry a perfectly circular egg and instead have to fry it as it comes out of the shell.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

A wonderfully written article.

I do hope the target of this article tells us how to grow a very affordable square watermelon using an old pallet broken apart into free lumber to make the frame.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Where are they going to find all these pallets? They’re busy burning them to save the planet from fossil fuels.

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago

Burning pallets would be a very bad idea, since they are made from highly treated timber – possibly even impregnated with arsenic. The smoke could make you rather ill.

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago

Burning pallets would be a very bad idea, since they are made from highly treated timber – possibly even impregnated with arsenic. The smoke could make you rather ill.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Where are they going to find all these pallets? They’re busy burning them to save the planet from fossil fuels.

Phillip Arundel
Phillip Arundel
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

A wonderfully written article.

I do hope the target of this article tells us how to grow a very affordable square watermelon using an old pallet broken apart into free lumber to make the frame.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Times are really tough when you can’t fry a perfectly circular egg and instead have to fry it as it comes out of the shell.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

Personally my thrift heroines are my English ancestors, agricultural worker’s wives as described in Lark Rise to Candleford, Reuben’s Corner and other first hand accounts. Toast with dripping or lard for children’s breakfasts, bread, cheese and an onion for a working man’s lunch, while the woman would treat herself to a fresh fried herring in the middle of the day if she got the chance.
Going back further to the medieval period there was pottage, a kind of stew cum porridge of grains, vegetables, peas and beans, a bit of bacon if you were lucky.

Kathleen Stock is absolutely right, there’s a supreme irony about the Jack Monroe middle class fan club. I’m not denigrating Monroe herself, good for her if she’s managed to make a living out of her necessity, that’s admirable, but her recipes don’t appeal to me. When I need to be thrifty I’ll stick with my great grandmothers, and dhal with rice.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

You remind me of my childhood. My mother would make a soup of bacon bones, yellow split peas and vegetables. I remember her flirting with the butcher for bones with a bit of meat on. There wasn’t much meat on them even then. Well, my mother was only an average looking girl making the best of what she had. (God bless her!)
I re-invented a luxury version using a knuckle. Sometimes I roast the knuckle, eat the crackling and some of the pork as one meal and chuck the rest in the slow cooker with the peas etc. When it goes cold you have pease pudding.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Both versions sound delicious, I do like a bit of crackling.

Wonder Walker
Wonder Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Very humorous and sweet about your mum, beautiful.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Luxury. Every morning at 11 at night us clambered out of wor sleeping outdoor toilets, thanking us lord for the crust of faecal matter which had insulated us agin the chill coming off t’t frozen steppes o’t Cotswold Mountains. Then after wolfing doon wor breakfast of rusty nails and septic puss, wor dad would lovingly torture us until it were time for’t day’s schooling in’t salt mines. After being thoroughly starved, disembowelled, and electrocuted by’t gangmaster, we’d crawl home overt broken glass on wor bare knees, where wor dad would lovingly break all us femurs wi’t sledge’ammer afore sendin’ us tae bed in wor sleeping outdoor toilets wi’ nowt to chew on for us supper but us own severed genitals. And we were ‘appy.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Both versions sound delicious, I do like a bit of crackling.

Wonder Walker
Wonder Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Very humorous and sweet about your mum, beautiful.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Luxury. Every morning at 11 at night us clambered out of wor sleeping outdoor toilets, thanking us lord for the crust of faecal matter which had insulated us agin the chill coming off t’t frozen steppes o’t Cotswold Mountains. Then after wolfing doon wor breakfast of rusty nails and septic puss, wor dad would lovingly torture us until it were time for’t day’s schooling in’t salt mines. After being thoroughly starved, disembowelled, and electrocuted by’t gangmaster, we’d crawl home overt broken glass on wor bare knees, where wor dad would lovingly break all us femurs wi’t sledge’ammer afore sendin’ us tae bed in wor sleeping outdoor toilets wi’ nowt to chew on for us supper but us own severed genitals. And we were ‘appy.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

You remind me of my childhood. My mother would make a soup of bacon bones, yellow split peas and vegetables. I remember her flirting with the butcher for bones with a bit of meat on. There wasn’t much meat on them even then. Well, my mother was only an average looking girl making the best of what she had. (God bless her!)
I re-invented a luxury version using a knuckle. Sometimes I roast the knuckle, eat the crackling and some of the pork as one meal and chuck the rest in the slow cooker with the peas etc. When it goes cold you have pease pudding.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

Personally my thrift heroines are my English ancestors, agricultural worker’s wives as described in Lark Rise to Candleford, Reuben’s Corner and other first hand accounts. Toast with dripping or lard for children’s breakfasts, bread, cheese and an onion for a working man’s lunch, while the woman would treat herself to a fresh fried herring in the middle of the day if she got the chance.
Going back further to the medieval period there was pottage, a kind of stew cum porridge of grains, vegetables, peas and beans, a bit of bacon if you were lucky.

Kathleen Stock is absolutely right, there’s a supreme irony about the Jack Monroe middle class fan club. I’m not denigrating Monroe herself, good for her if she’s managed to make a living out of her necessity, that’s admirable, but her recipes don’t appeal to me. When I need to be thrifty I’ll stick with my great grandmothers, and dhal with rice.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
1 year ago

The fragrant Nigella stands for the class of Monroe fans. They’re the one’s buying the books I suppose. Electric car in the drive, solar panels on the roof, bookshelves rammed with novels by authors with name’s you can’t pronounce and Jack Monroe poverty porn. Thug Kitchen will be in there somewhere.

Ok Kathleen, I enjoyed that. Could you turn your laser beam on the Walrus Strawbridge & hyper-real Angel next please?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

. . and going shopping in a black cab!

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

Sorry, what’s that about Nigella? I can happily watch her seductive murmurings, finger licking, ample bosom and glossy black tresses without caring at all what she is actually talking about.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

. . and going shopping in a black cab!

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

Sorry, what’s that about Nigella? I can happily watch her seductive murmurings, finger licking, ample bosom and glossy black tresses without caring at all what she is actually talking about.

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
1 year ago

The fragrant Nigella stands for the class of Monroe fans. They’re the one’s buying the books I suppose. Electric car in the drive, solar panels on the roof, bookshelves rammed with novels by authors with name’s you can’t pronounce and Jack Monroe poverty porn. Thug Kitchen will be in there somewhere.

Ok Kathleen, I enjoyed that. Could you turn your laser beam on the Walrus Strawbridge & hyper-real Angel next please?

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

How to save money on the housekeeping? Well, not covering yourself in tattoos would probably be a good start. They don’t come cheap.

Another nifty wheeze would probably be avoiding becoming pregnant by an unspecified male, then excluding him and any financial contribution he might make on grounds of incoherent feminist ideology.

As to egg rings, Macdonalds use them .. when you are in the business of standardised mass production things like that are useful.

No, leave her to the Guardian where she belongs.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Funnily enough, she’s back in the Guardian again today, at no little length. (Nothing to do with having a new book out, I’m sure.) While all the old identity badges have been polished up and are being sported proudly on her lapel, she relies heavily this time around on two particularly dark ones – alcoholism, and another that I will not name here, because I am loathe to be even slightly sarcastic about such a troubling subject. Nevertheless, one can’t help wondering: is there a solitary cultural phenomenon, subculture, lifestyle choice, diet, diagnosis or disadvantage that our Jack HASN’T identified into at one time or another during her short but eventful career?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

One has to Keep Up.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

One has to Keep Up.

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

A drink problem is an expensive hobby as well. Perhaps her habit runs to vintage champagne and Grand Cru claret which would explain why she can’t make ends meet on her Grauniad income.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Funnily enough, she’s back in the Guardian again today, at no little length. (Nothing to do with having a new book out, I’m sure.) While all the old identity badges have been polished up and are being sported proudly on her lapel, she relies heavily this time around on two particularly dark ones – alcoholism, and another that I will not name here, because I am loathe to be even slightly sarcastic about such a troubling subject. Nevertheless, one can’t help wondering: is there a solitary cultural phenomenon, subculture, lifestyle choice, diet, diagnosis or disadvantage that our Jack HASN’T identified into at one time or another during her short but eventful career?

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

A drink problem is an expensive hobby as well. Perhaps her habit runs to vintage champagne and Grand Cru claret which would explain why she can’t make ends meet on her Grauniad income.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

How to save money on the housekeeping? Well, not covering yourself in tattoos would probably be a good start. They don’t come cheap.

Another nifty wheeze would probably be avoiding becoming pregnant by an unspecified male, then excluding him and any financial contribution he might make on grounds of incoherent feminist ideology.

As to egg rings, Macdonalds use them .. when you are in the business of standardised mass production things like that are useful.

No, leave her to the Guardian where she belongs.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Kathleen Stock always writes so well and amusingly I really wish I had decided to take a degree at Sussex University in philosophy when she was teaching there. I feel sure she would have managed to make Kant, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein unfailingly amusing – but perhaps I have an outdated idea as to what philosophy is when taught in Sussex currently.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

“I feel sure she would have managed to make Kant, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein unfailingly amusing”
No she wouldn’t! 

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Come on, Schopenhauer’s a laugh a minute.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Okay! You’re a weird girl – but my kind of girl.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

His ‘Platonic Republic’ is brilliant.
He .would also make a great commentator on UnHerd!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Okay! You’re a weird girl – but my kind of girl.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

His ‘Platonic Republic’ is brilliant.
He .would also make a great commentator on UnHerd!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Come on, Schopenhauer’s a laugh a minute.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

“I feel sure she would have managed to make Kant, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein unfailingly amusing”
No she wouldn’t! 

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Kathleen Stock always writes so well and amusingly I really wish I had decided to take a degree at Sussex University in philosophy when she was teaching there. I feel sure she would have managed to make Kant, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein unfailingly amusing – but perhaps I have an outdated idea as to what philosophy is when taught in Sussex currently.

Ray Ward
Ray Ward
1 year ago

This kind of thing makes me wonder if 1 April has arrived early. Until I read it I had no idea there was such a thing as an egg ring, manufactured or home-made, and why anyone should want one I can’t imagine. What utter, ludicrous nonsense!

Ray Ward
Ray Ward
1 year ago

This kind of thing makes me wonder if 1 April has arrived early. Until I read it I had no idea there was such a thing as an egg ring, manufactured or home-made, and why anyone should want one I can’t imagine. What utter, ludicrous nonsense!

Grace Froggatt
Grace Froggatt
1 year ago

If I said what I really thought about Jack Monroe she’d sue me for every penny I’ve got. She is highly litigious not so poverty stricken as to not hire a libel lawyer. She take fir every penny I’d have then I’d have to buy her books to find out how to survive on nowt ironically

Grace Froggatt
Grace Froggatt
1 year ago

If I said what I really thought about Jack Monroe she’d sue me for every penny I’ve got. She is highly litigious not so poverty stricken as to not hire a libel lawyer. She take fir every penny I’d have then I’d have to buy her books to find out how to survive on nowt ironically

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

A few decades ago husband and wife had the skills to bottle fruit, vegetables and meat, grow fruit and vegetables, bake pies and cakes, buy cloth and make clothes, curtains and re upholster furniture, repair wooden furniture, buy cheap cuts of meat and them last- Lancashire Hotpot for example, keep fit and wear woollen underclothes, etc
Look at what families had to do from the 1930s to early 1960s to stretch their income: it was make do and mend.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

A few decades ago husband and wife had the skills to bottle fruit, vegetables and meat, grow fruit and vegetables, bake pies and cakes, buy cloth and make clothes, curtains and re upholster furniture, repair wooden furniture, buy cheap cuts of meat and them last- Lancashire Hotpot for example, keep fit and wear woollen underclothes, etc
Look at what families had to do from the 1930s to early 1960s to stretch their income: it was make do and mend.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago

This daffy bint isn’t poor and never has been. She’s from a comfortable background and is just pretending to slum it like Marie Antoinette. Her remoaner leftard, trans-twaddling views are those of all wealthy virtue-signalling Guardianistas.
It was noticeable than when Tory Brexiteer and white, straight man Lee Anderson gave some helpful suggestions and took practical actions to teach foodbank-users to cook, he was villified, in contrast to the undeserved veneration “Jack” Monroe gets from her brain-dead, remoaner leftard admirers.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Whatever’s all this got to do with brexit? I personally think brexit is the stupidest thing this country has done but that doesn’t stop me agreeing with most of your other points – or does it!? Just shows how we think in term of these ridiculous stereotypes. Can’t we actually assess opinions one at a time?

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Butler
Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

No, because all of these noxious behaviors emerge from the same gas-producing leftist progressivism that has been steadily undermining the West for some decades now; they’re all stems from the same poison root. Brexit was an attempt to cut Britain off from the source of that root, but has so far been effectively nullified by remainers who will use any dodge to avoid being severed from their philosophical allies on the continent.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

No, because all of these noxious behaviors emerge from the same gas-producing leftist progressivism that has been steadily undermining the West for some decades now; they’re all stems from the same poison root. Brexit was an attempt to cut Britain off from the source of that root, but has so far been effectively nullified by remainers who will use any dodge to avoid being severed from their philosophical allies on the continent.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Whatever’s all this got to do with brexit? I personally think brexit is the stupidest thing this country has done but that doesn’t stop me agreeing with most of your other points – or does it!? Just shows how we think in term of these ridiculous stereotypes. Can’t we actually assess opinions one at a time?

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Butler
Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago

This daffy bint isn’t poor and never has been. She’s from a comfortable background and is just pretending to slum it like Marie Antoinette. Her remoaner leftard, trans-twaddling views are those of all wealthy virtue-signalling Guardianistas.
It was noticeable than when Tory Brexiteer and white, straight man Lee Anderson gave some helpful suggestions and took practical actions to teach foodbank-users to cook, he was villified, in contrast to the undeserved veneration “Jack” Monroe gets from her brain-dead, remoaner leftard admirers.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

Frugality was once the value that produced middle class status.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

Frugality was once the value that produced middle class status.

Richard Roe
Richard Roe
1 year ago

She seems relaxed about the tumble drier being used to produce firelighters. I suppose this is what you get when someone has a publisher breathing down her neck for the next instalment. For my tuppence worth, when hosting a dinner party repurpose old candles and save the £1.50 for four you get at B&M. You can also use the dishwasher to heat up the consommé bowls beautifully.

Richard Roe
Richard Roe
1 year ago

She seems relaxed about the tumble drier being used to produce firelighters. I suppose this is what you get when someone has a publisher breathing down her neck for the next instalment. For my tuppence worth, when hosting a dinner party repurpose old candles and save the £1.50 for four you get at B&M. You can also use the dishwasher to heat up the consommé bowls beautifully.

CF Hankinson
CF Hankinson
1 year ago

A gentle piece. I know many who are very angry at Jack monros pompous patronising condescending posturing. Why can’t the poor be more like the rich? as George Bernard shaw nearly said

CF Hankinson
CF Hankinson
1 year ago

A gentle piece. I know many who are very angry at Jack monros pompous patronising condescending posturing. Why can’t the poor be more like the rich? as George Bernard shaw nearly said

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago

Is it allowed to use ‘she’ or ‘mum’ when discussing Jack Monroe if she’s defining herself ąs non-binary nowadays? Asking for a friend in the police

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago

Is it allowed to use ‘she’ or ‘mum’ when discussing Jack Monroe if she’s defining herself ąs non-binary nowadays? Asking for a friend in the police

Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

My favourite Monroe moment has to be her confected fury when a Tory MP used her work to show that you can eat well on a budget. “Sure, making this point may be the basis of my entire career, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be pointlessly angry if someone else says the same. After all, it’s what Twitter expects.”

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Mortimer

This is the difficulty and I’ve experienced it in my life. If you let THEM know you’re doing fine THEY will decide that you’re getting too much money and reduce it because as JRM said,there are lots of food banks so you don’t need money to buy food. So it’s stupid to betray the real poor people by publishing books giving the secrets away. And it’s not the poor people who will be buying those books is it. By the way my above words apply both to benefits and low waged work. But also if you live on little money and that could be for (daft) religious reasons you can get jealousy from your equally impoverished neighbours because you are living a very pleasant actually middle class lifestyle while they are not. The irony being that you know from that time when you helped them out that their income is a bit higher than yours but they choose to invest it in alcohol and substances. It’s like Kenneth Clarke said that time,”the poor have very good accountants”. And no,I don’t vote Tory I have never voted Tory,but he said truth.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Mortimer

This is the difficulty and I’ve experienced it in my life. If you let THEM know you’re doing fine THEY will decide that you’re getting too much money and reduce it because as JRM said,there are lots of food banks so you don’t need money to buy food. So it’s stupid to betray the real poor people by publishing books giving the secrets away. And it’s not the poor people who will be buying those books is it. By the way my above words apply both to benefits and low waged work. But also if you live on little money and that could be for (daft) religious reasons you can get jealousy from your equally impoverished neighbours because you are living a very pleasant actually middle class lifestyle while they are not. The irony being that you know from that time when you helped them out that their income is a bit higher than yours but they choose to invest it in alcohol and substances. It’s like Kenneth Clarke said that time,”the poor have very good accountants”. And no,I don’t vote Tory I have never voted Tory,but he said truth.

Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

My favourite Monroe moment has to be her confected fury when a Tory MP used her work to show that you can eat well on a budget. “Sure, making this point may be the basis of my entire career, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be pointlessly angry if someone else says the same. After all, it’s what Twitter expects.”

Grace Froggatt
Grace Froggatt
1 year ago

Of course that cool half a million that she won in a libel case against Katie Hopkins should go some way to alleviating her poverty!@

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Grace Froggatt

Wikipedia says court awarded £24,000 damages plus costs.

Grace Froggatt
Grace Froggatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Hokey cokes I stand corrected!! Wikipedia is font of all knowledgeable never inaccurate!!

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Grace Froggatt

Are we to understand that the source or your ‘cool half a million’ is more trustworthy than Wikipedia?

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Grace Froggatt

Are we to understand that the source or your ‘cool half a million’ is more trustworthy than Wikipedia?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Stop spoiling the vibe with your darn facts.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

That’s still a lot of spaghetti hoops, especially if you shop at Aldi.

Grace Froggatt
Grace Froggatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Hokey cokes I stand corrected!! Wikipedia is font of all knowledgeable never inaccurate!!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Stop spoiling the vibe with your darn facts.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

That’s still a lot of spaghetti hoops, especially if you shop at Aldi.

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Grace Froggatt

Wikipedia says court awarded £24,000 damages plus costs.

Grace Froggatt
Grace Froggatt
1 year ago

Of course that cool half a million that she won in a libel case against Katie Hopkins should go some way to alleviating her poverty!@

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
1 year ago

Let them eat perfectly circular eggs!

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
1 year ago

Let them eat perfectly circular eggs!

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

My heart goes out to middle class incompetents.
Buy a copy of Cooking for Victory by Marguerite Patten.
Ask old people – Ask me!
Visit “Down the Lane” website.
“They pickle, salt, ferment, and store up for winter;”
Utterly straightforward.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

During war brides tried to obtain parachutes to make their wedding dress. In the 1940s, most girls by the age of 14 years of age could make their dresses.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

My favourite ‘cookery books’ are books by Elisabeth Luard about her times and travels with Nicholas Luard. Entertainment gold. There is a recipe every now and then.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

During war brides tried to obtain parachutes to make their wedding dress. In the 1940s, most girls by the age of 14 years of age could make their dresses.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

My favourite ‘cookery books’ are books by Elisabeth Luard about her times and travels with Nicholas Luard. Entertainment gold. There is a recipe every now and then.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

My heart goes out to middle class incompetents.
Buy a copy of Cooking for Victory by Marguerite Patten.
Ask old people – Ask me!
Visit “Down the Lane” website.
“They pickle, salt, ferment, and store up for winter;”
Utterly straightforward.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

No sign of the cost of living crisis in the coffee shops of my, somewhat down at heel, local town.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago

Or the nail bars!

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Yes,packed here too,and everywhere I go, Bath,Glastonbury,Taunton.
Is it oop north. Only when I visited Rotherham last summer to see my friend was same there.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago

Or the nail bars!

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Yes,packed here too,and everywhere I go, Bath,Glastonbury,Taunton.
Is it oop north. Only when I visited Rotherham last summer to see my friend was same there.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

No sign of the cost of living crisis in the coffee shops of my, somewhat down at heel, local town.

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
1 year ago

Going to JD Wetherspoon and getting a pint of fine ale for £2.89 is God’s way of getting through dry January at an affordable price. I’m giving this advice at no charge. You’re welcome, Jack!

RJ Kent
RJ Kent
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark McKee

Surely Ruddles is still 99p there?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  RJ Kent

Except for viewers in Scotland, as the saying goes.

Visit to the Midlands last year revealed a very reasonable £1.49 for a pint of Ruddles in a ‘Spoon.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  RJ Kent

Except for viewers in Scotland, as the saying goes.

Visit to the Midlands last year revealed a very reasonable £1.49 for a pint of Ruddles in a ‘Spoon.

RJ Kent
RJ Kent
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark McKee

Surely Ruddles is still 99p there?

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
1 year ago

Going to JD Wetherspoon and getting a pint of fine ale for £2.89 is God’s way of getting through dry January at an affordable price. I’m giving this advice at no charge. You’re welcome, Jack!

Richard Hopkins
Richard Hopkins
1 year ago

This is seemingly a recent rehash of that timeless popular recipe, the deserving/undeserving poor – served up with briot to an adoring readership. Bon appetite!

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

It’s much more fun to be undeserving

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

It’s much more fun to be undeserving

Richard Hopkins
Richard Hopkins
1 year ago

This is seemingly a recent rehash of that timeless popular recipe, the deserving/undeserving poor – served up with briot to an adoring readership. Bon appetite!

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

One of my favorite British sitcoms was The Good Life about a middle-class couple who decide to turn their suburban home into a working farm to the horror of their next-door neighbors. I see another classic sitcom idea in Ms. Monroe’s story or at least a great Monty Python sketch. Alas, we have forgotten how to laugh and now take these inanities seriously.
That being said I think I will try that tuna can thing. I love perfectly round eggs.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

The unstated joke in TGL was the trivial amount which their “smallholding” would actually have produced… the quite wonderful Penelope Keith at her peak, the gorgeous Felicity Kendall and their respective husband both absolutely “on point” made that series.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

The unstated joke in TGL was the trivial amount which their “smallholding” would actually have produced… the quite wonderful Penelope Keith at her peak, the gorgeous Felicity Kendall and their respective husband both absolutely “on point” made that series.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

One of my favorite British sitcoms was The Good Life about a middle-class couple who decide to turn their suburban home into a working farm to the horror of their next-door neighbors. I see another classic sitcom idea in Ms. Monroe’s story or at least a great Monty Python sketch. Alas, we have forgotten how to laugh and now take these inanities seriously.
That being said I think I will try that tuna can thing. I love perfectly round eggs.

Daniel Shaw
Daniel Shaw
1 year ago

Never have I once in my entire life considered I need to have circular fried eggs. Having read this article it seems ridiculous and superfluous.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Shaw

Go to Macdonalds. They use them, so the eggs fit the buns.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Shaw

Go to Macdonalds. They use them, so the eggs fit the buns.

Daniel Shaw
Daniel Shaw
1 year ago

Never have I once in my entire life considered I need to have circular fried eggs. Having read this article it seems ridiculous and superfluous.

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
1 year ago

Pick up as many egg rings as you like for nearly nothing in any charity shop. She’s found her niche and she’s no longer an impoverished single mum.

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
1 year ago

Pick up as many egg rings as you like for nearly nothing in any charity shop. She’s found her niche and she’s no longer an impoverished single mum.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Brilliant funny article.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Brilliant funny article.

Mike F
Mike F
1 year ago

I’m only vaguely aware of this character, but found some hilarious stuff about her on Twitter. This fake review made me laugh: https://twitter.com/stueymaco/status/1610959987378982914

Mike F
Mike F
1 year ago

I’m only vaguely aware of this character, but found some hilarious stuff about her on Twitter. This fake review made me laugh: https://twitter.com/stueymaco/status/1610959987378982914

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

What a ridiculous woman.
Her followers in the Guardian are even more ridiculous.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

What a ridiculous woman.
Her followers in the Guardian are even more ridiculous.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

It would be refreshing to find a column which didn’t bandy about the term ‘middle class’ in some vaguely pejorative fashion. but FWIW frugality has always been a ‘middle class’ virtue; where I grew up in the Midlands, areas of private housing were referred to as ‘bread and lard islands’, where upwardly mobile families supposedly lived on bread and lard so that they could buy their own properties.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Good for them.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Good for them.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago

It would be refreshing to find a column which didn’t bandy about the term ‘middle class’ in some vaguely pejorative fashion. but FWIW frugality has always been a ‘middle class’ virtue; where I grew up in the Midlands, areas of private housing were referred to as ‘bread and lard islands’, where upwardly mobile families supposedly lived on bread and lard so that they could buy their own properties.

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
1 year ago

Great analysis.
I’d think in the UK she might conjure up memories of the WW2 Wife on the Homefront, and their frugality really was impressive. I’m in the US and no one here dealt with any more poverty than the norm (which is terrible, of course): the loss, beyond that of losing your loved ones in battle, was in using ration books, a hardship more for the middle and upper class who couldn’t access robust black market networks.
The 21st feminist (or Mormon?) or otherwise off-grid homesteader is impressive, if for nothing else that a family on the frontier tends to teach their children some skills beyond fixating on a 2 x 6 inch screen, and a sense of wonderment and humility by requiring them to wait upon nature’s time, beauty, and cruelty, rather than digital time and virtual worlds.
But poverty? How insulting.
We’re still astonished here at the hate directed toward the very authentic Hillbilly Elegy, particularly by reporters and reviewers who thought it inconceivable that a Yale law student wouldn’t know the differences between types of white wine. That in itself says everything, about the class of reviewers. Many people coming out of long-term poverty have no idea about “reductions”–and if you’re from a non-urban small town in the US, at least until 1990 you wouldn’t have had a bagel or hummus or avocados. The upper middle southern gentry from which I came weren’t familiar with any of these chef-like foods, though they had to do a lot or work (or their servants did) to obtain items that easily come in cans now (try making creamed corn, for example…45 minutes vs 1 min from a can).
Sorry you’re getting grief about this article, but it comes with the territory–the closer you get to an unspoken truth, esp if you publish under your own name and face–the more you’ll get attacked. Thanks for your courage.

leculdesac suburbia
leculdesac suburbia
1 year ago

Great analysis.
I’d think in the UK she might conjure up memories of the WW2 Wife on the Homefront, and their frugality really was impressive. I’m in the US and no one here dealt with any more poverty than the norm (which is terrible, of course): the loss, beyond that of losing your loved ones in battle, was in using ration books, a hardship more for the middle and upper class who couldn’t access robust black market networks.
The 21st feminist (or Mormon?) or otherwise off-grid homesteader is impressive, if for nothing else that a family on the frontier tends to teach their children some skills beyond fixating on a 2 x 6 inch screen, and a sense of wonderment and humility by requiring them to wait upon nature’s time, beauty, and cruelty, rather than digital time and virtual worlds.
But poverty? How insulting.
We’re still astonished here at the hate directed toward the very authentic Hillbilly Elegy, particularly by reporters and reviewers who thought it inconceivable that a Yale law student wouldn’t know the differences between types of white wine. That in itself says everything, about the class of reviewers. Many people coming out of long-term poverty have no idea about “reductions”–and if you’re from a non-urban small town in the US, at least until 1990 you wouldn’t have had a bagel or hummus or avocados. The upper middle southern gentry from which I came weren’t familiar with any of these chef-like foods, though they had to do a lot or work (or their servants did) to obtain items that easily come in cans now (try making creamed corn, for example…45 minutes vs 1 min from a can).
Sorry you’re getting grief about this article, but it comes with the territory–the closer you get to an unspoken truth, esp if you publish under your own name and face–the more you’ll get attacked. Thanks for your courage.

Tony Lee
Tony Lee
1 year ago

Just how are these poor souls supposed to be able to afford to buy this life saving manual? The article appears to pay far too much attention to what my grandmother would have simply described as nonsense.

Tony Lee
Tony Lee
1 year ago

Just how are these poor souls supposed to be able to afford to buy this life saving manual? The article appears to pay far too much attention to what my grandmother would have simply described as nonsense.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

I think this is somewhat nastily judgemental. I don’t care about Ms Monroe’s personal battles, although I am very impressed how she dragged herself up from difficult circumstances. But I think that our society is greatly enriched by her being there and thinking about such things, even if much of her output can easily be derided. Her campaign last year pointing out that inflation on basic foodstuffs was way, way higher than the RPI was so very important. I’m not a fan but I’m glad that she is here!

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

She has dragged herself up from her affluent middle-class upbringing and private education by lying to dimwitted Guardian readers.

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Think she went to a grammar school.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Correct; where she achieved a grade D in GCSE home economics.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

I expect she had a similar mindset to the young woman talking to her friend at the table next to me at an Uber cool cafe in my locality,it’s getting gentrified,them there Londoners is moving in,cool young creatives,probably all got you tube channels. They all give me dirty looks when I sit among them but then I an usually in my gardening gear with a bag of spades etc. But this young woman was telling her friend she was going to buy a van to live in,not get a job,and NEVER pay back her university loan. I could actually get her point of view not so dissimilar to mine but I thought it was very cheeky of her.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Correct; where she achieved a grade D in GCSE home economics.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

I expect she had a similar mindset to the young woman talking to her friend at the table next to me at an Uber cool cafe in my locality,it’s getting gentrified,them there Londoners is moving in,cool young creatives,probably all got you tube channels. They all give me dirty looks when I sit among them but then I an usually in my gardening gear with a bag of spades etc. But this young woman was telling her friend she was going to buy a van to live in,not get a job,and NEVER pay back her university loan. I could actually get her point of view not so dissimilar to mine but I thought it was very cheeky of her.

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Think she went to a grammar school.

Mark Ellis
Mark Ellis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I agree that this is judgemental, and absolutely agree that at times Munroe hits the nail on the head. However, at other times the hammer is clearly misdirected, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to draw attention to this, and Stock is absolutely bang on about the ridiculousness of middle class misery porn aficionados for whom Munroe is clearly a centre fold.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Ellis

To me, a major part of her problem is that she has never knowingly been able to leave a tickbox unchecked. Benefits claimant? Tick. Call centre worker? Tick. Cook? Tick. Author? Tick. Media personality? Tick. Media averse? Tick. Working class? Tick. Middle class? Tick. Labour? Tick. Green? Tick. Politically independent? Tick. Cisgender? Tick. Nonbinary? Tick. Genderqueer? Tick. Single mother? Tick. Arthritis? Tick. Alcoholic? Tick. Neurodiverse? Tick. ADHD? Tick. The list goes on …
Don’t get me wrong, I concede that at least some of these are valid, or at least have been at some point or other. But perhaps what she doesn’t realise is that with every new label she seizes upon, she dilutes what might once have made her refreshingly genuine until she is little more than a walking billboard for calculated reinvention. It smacks of desperation.
For me, the last straw was her claim that her newly-discovered autism was her ‘superpower’. As the parent of an autistic child for whom every day is a monstrous and usually overpowering struggle, I can’t begin to express how offensive I find this trite badge-wearing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Huw Parker
Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

As a late diagnosed woman with Asperger’s syndrome and an adult son with it as well (he works with autistic children and young adults as a therapist) I am so tired of people claiming a crippling social disability as a “superpower “. What kind of superpower makes you the target of every bully in school, leaves you unable to figure out why almost everyone hates you, and makes it difficult to hold a job or make friends at any age? And this is high functioning autism with above average intellectual ability, which is not the norm, just the kind people like to affect as chic. Manipulating the public pretty much insures you’re not autistic and it is a direct insult to people dealing with the real thing. I completely agree with you.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

I suppose it is possible Monroe might just be a vacillating, confused person caught up in the cra zy environment of Britain today and instinctively making the best of it. She is a single mother after all and has no one else to rely on except herself. I think I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and hope she’ll come through a wiser, steadier person as she matures.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

That’s a thoughtful and generous reading. However, I think it’s worth pointing out that Monroe has been exercising her particular schtick in the public eye for almost as long as the Conservatives have been in power. I’d love to see a significant change in either, but I have long since run out of patience with both.

Last edited 1 year ago by Huw Parker