So apparently Jamie Oliver will be cooking on a budget in his new series.
In a series this autumn inspired by the Ministry of Food in the Second World War, he will be teaching people how to cook in order to beat obesity and related illness. And he's going to be doing it in Rotherham. Jamie, God bless him, said,
"We spend over £2 billion a year on ready meals, and that’s not even counting junk food and takeaways....Millions of people up and down the country are really busy, they’re on tight budgets, and no-one has bothered to teach them how to cook. It’s no wonder that the last thing they want to do at the end of the day is cook a meal from scratch."
This, of course, is where his School Dinners Campaign met with most resistance - mums were passing burgers through the fence to beat the school's ban on kids going out of school for takeaways in the lunch hour. Rotherham is not a rich place, though there's currently lots of energy and imagination going into its regeneration. So he's going to have to cut down the cost of his ingredients quite considerably.
A budget-aware approach to cooking hasn't been much in evidence on tv lately. British society recently has felt time-poor rather than cash-poor. However, I can't help thinking this is going to appeal to a much wider audience than just those on very tight incomes. Even those of us with decent wages can blench at the cost of the ingredients going into a Jamie dish. Watching him make consomme last summer with 2kg of organic tomatoes (cost £10-15 at Sainsbury's) you couldn't help suspecting he had lost touch with his roots (if not his fruit and vegetables). We were meant to grow them ourselves, of course, but the weather was vile last year and we don't all have a big garden or a greenhouse or a bearded gardener called Brian.
Anyway, economy, practicality - where better to start than Yorkshire? I can't wait!