Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Food journalist and poverty activist, Jack Monroe, had a thing or two to say online yesterday after a man rather ignorantly suggested a nurse could feed her family with a 50p bag of pasta.
The online critic caused a justified stir on Twitter when he took to the site to question why a nurse couldn’t afford to feed her family, after hearing of her struggle on BBC’s Panorama.
The nurse, from Leicester, had told the BBC that she occasionally had to go without food so that she could feed her three children.
Blaming the situation on the cost of living crisis, the front-line worker heartbreaking told of how she had to depend on donations to get by.
And whilst her story elicited a sympathetic response from many, one critic, Kevin Edger, decided to muscle in and give his (completely un-necessary) two cents.
Yet you can buy a big bag of dried pasta, that would feed a family, for about £0.50p….
If you shop and cook properly, you can eat healthy meals really cheaply.
I would love to see how she spends her salary… https://t.co/p02LyMJ6WN
— Kevin Edger (@KEdge23) April 11, 2022
“Yet you can buy a big bag of dried pasta, that would feed a family, for about £0.50p….
“If you shop and cook properly, you can eat healthy meals really cheaply. I would love to see how she spends her salary…,” he wrote.
To which, thankfully, Jack Monroe swooped in and told him what’s what.
“Hi Kevin, THE literal expert on budget cooking here who has spent the last decade on the front line of food poverty in this country,” they replied.
“500g bag of budget pasta, 29p. That’s 5 meals of 100g plain pasta, no butter, no salt, no sauce, no nutrition, and a whole 155 calories a meal!
“That’s only 456 calories a day, but hey, it’s not like nursing is physically demanding, on your feet all day, shift work, is it?
“Operating at a deficit of 1,544 calories a day is perfectly sustainable in your head, right? I sure hope so, because I’ve got a challenge for you pal!”
Jack then suggested that Kevin should suggest a pasta-only diet himself, if he was so sure it was a healthy and sustainable way to live.
“Go to your local Asda and get 3 packets of SmartPrice pasta for just under a quid*,” the chef added. “That’s 15 meals for you there – you eat nothing but 3 x 100g plain pasta for the next 5 days. Nothing else. No salt in the water. No butter. No oil. No pepper. No sauce. No snacks. No other meals.
“No tea, no coffee, no squash, no energy drinks, just this MAGIC PASTA that you think is the answer to everything. Come back to me on Wednesday and let me know how things are working out for you.
“And the * in the previous tweet? If they don’t have the Smartprice pasta, well…
“…you get one bag of 70p penne instead, because that’s the reality of life for people on a budget. Which means instead of 3 measly meals of 100g pasta a day, you’ve only got one.
“155 calories to sustain you for a whole day. No vitamins. No variation. Just f***ing plain pasta.”
We think that told him…
Responding to Jack’s rebuttal, it was clear that loads of people felt similarly agitated by Kevin’s remarks.
“In the run up to payday some years ago, I spent two weeks living on Tesco value bread and jam. Worst two weeks ever,” one person wrote.
“The boredom, the hunger, the wish for some variety. Methinks Kevin might need to try living for some time with the same thing for each meal before he tweets.”
Meanwhile, another sarcastically joked: “You can buy cat or dog food in Lidl for about 50p a tin which will add nutrition to the pasta.also if you go to street markets at end of day there are often bits of broken veg in the gutter for free”.
Yep, it’s safe to say you’re on your own with this one, Kev.