Jamie Oliver’s new programme and effing great tellys

Aug 27, 2013 | 5 comments


I have been gritting my teeth over the last few days as Jamie Oliver’s new programme and book are launched. I like JO (even though his presentational style can be somewhat irritating) and have most of his books, his recipes work well and he shows people how to cook. What I have an issue with, with this new one is the level that each portion is costed at. Similar to the Great British Budget Bakeoff, to me, the recipes seem normal, non-thrifty, ones, or even expensive ones, not something I would cook if I was doing a budget one. Is £1.78 a portion (for pea risotto) really so difficult to achieve?

Jamie Oliver
Some people have pointed out that budgets vary hugely and that not everyone has to live on £1 a day. I do appreciate that. What I would really really like to see is a chef cooking at the 50p a main meal level. I am SURE that if they set their mind to it, they could do it, they live in the world of food after all. They would probably need to have a bit of a tutorial of some kind to get them thinking in the ‘right’ way. But I would simply LOVE to see what someone who spends their life creating fabulous flavours would come up with.

I tried to reblog this post from Jack Monroe earlier, but it wouldn’t go. So wrote this post instead.
Jack was writing about this article by Jamie in the Guardian today. He says in it that people say to him that he doesn’t understand. I would say to him that, no, he doesn’t.

There is a long government report on spending by families on food here. In it, in section 1.1, they say that in 2011 ‘household food purchases formed the largest share (of expenditure) at £24.92 per person, per week’. That is £3.56 per day, of which a portion of pea risotto, would coincidentally be exactly half. Not so very budget then is it if it is about average for a family from 2 years ago. I don’t know what average expenditure is in 2013, but with food cost inflation the way it is, I would have thought it was more, not less, even tho people are trying to deal with job losses, wage cuts, benefit changes et al.

I am trying very hard not to finish on a negative, angry note. So how about this…

There are many innovative and fantastic bloggers around now who really do ‘get it’ and can provide ideas, recipes and empathy for all those living life at the coal front of minimalism.

Was that mixing metaphors? Don’t care!!



  1. Lesley

    Thanks! (blush)

  2. happy wheels

    I always love reading your blog…I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back and read it again and again. Once is not enough to process so much valuable information.

  3. Mike Dean

    Yes correctly pointed out is the level that each portion is costed at… I have always thought the multitudes of cooking programmes are doing more putting ordinary folks like up here in Oldham cooking. There are so many layers of unpractical scenes cut into these programmes that replicating them at home is simply next to impossible…Part of this is the disconnect between the programmes, government rhetoric and facts a case in point being the £3.56 per day cost of living which would represents over half of what the government says we live off a day were we to make this portion of pea risotto factoring in the cost of cooking it…we just just need a rethink of these programmes altogether

  4. Lesley

    I will most probably watch the programme as I like his ideas, although, like most chefs, his ideas of budget meals are not the same as mine. His meals are a good deal healthier than a lot of chefs too. I was watching Nigel Slater recently and he made a ham baguette using the most enormous amount of butter, and it was only for him. The ham incidentally, looked absolutely delicious, a really good quality, several thick slices. It was ‘left over’ at the end of the week from the weeks shop and he was saying how important it was to use things up. I have to laugh really otherwise I start throwing things at the telly.

    A 30% increase in 6 years, blimey, that’s an awful lot to absorb. No wonder people are struggling, what with everything else as well. We bought the cheapest wood burner we could find last year as we were getting hold of quite a lot of wood for free from various places and burning it on an open fire. As that puts 80% of the heat produced up the chimney and 20% into the room, where an enclosed stove does the opposite ratio, we thought we’d go for it. Really pleased with it over the last winter, we hardly had the gas heating on at all, which really helped with the bills. Managed to get some more wood, and it’s stacked all over the place ready for the next season. It’s from builder friends, bits of old door, flooring, old cupboards, pallets, even a couple of small tree trunks, they made lovely logs

    If you can get them home (DP has a truck) you can get pallets for free from lots of places

    I completely agree re the cooking lessons, everyone needs to know how to feed themselves healthily, and if necessary, cheaply

  5. Frugal queen

    I’m still pissed off about his seemingly lack of research but I will hold judgement until I’ve seen the programme. We moved to our current home in 2007 and since then food has increased by 30%+ so has fuel and energy. Every item of clothing is more, in fact every thing is more – we lost a third of our income. We are both working but have a massive mortgage as we live in an expensive area. If we are struggling then people with out jobs must be nearly starving. Xxxxx I wish his campaign was to get home economics back in schools as compulsory for 6-16 year olds to have a 2 hour lesson a week – so they have time to cook. Take that one up please Jamie – plus the new academies do not have to adhere to healthy food and can sell what they like. Take that one up too mr Oliver.

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