Book Review: Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe

In a bit of a departure for me, I’m reviewing a cookbook! I used to hoard cookbooks, devour their words and pictures, and sometimes even use a recipe or two to cook.

Jack Monroe is an an autistic activist and food writer who specialises in recipes for those on low budgets. Her previous cookbooks include A Girl Called Jack and Cooking on a Bootstrap, both of which are on my to-read list.

Tin Can Cook is based on the premise that cooking tasty and nutritious food using ingredients from tin cans is possible despite what food snobs may believe. It starts with basic facts, such as apart from a small decrease in vitamins, mainly vitamin C, at the start of the canning process, tinned foods have plenty of vitamins and minerals. In fact, a large section at the start lists the nutrients of various tinned ingredients. There is also the fact that frozen or tinned foods often have higher amounts of these nutrients than fresh produce that’s been lying around for more than a few days.

What follows is a nice collection of cheap and easy to make recipes, from soups and stews to desserts. And, in the line of all my favourite food writers, she urges us to adapt and mess with the recipes as we please. This flexibility and the writing style that goes with it reminds me of my favourite food writer, Nigel Slater. And in fact, he has written in praise of Jack Monroe.

This is a lovely little cookbook that brings new life to those dusty cans that we all have knocking around our food cupboards. I highly recommend it.

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