SHE is food blogger who rose to prominence by promoting her budget cuisine created as a single parent to help others navigate their way through challenging circumstances. Now one of Jack Monroe’s recipes has sparked debate online after she recommended washing the sauce off spaghetti hoops.


Jack Monroe?

The 34-year-old food writer, who hails from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, shot to fame with her budget blog A Girl Called Jack, which featured her low-budget recipes and aimed to help create family meals for less than £10 per week. In late 2015, the blog title changed to Cooking on a Bookstrap and her profile continued to rise as she campaigned on poverty issues and hunger relief.


She has her own cookery books?

Monroe began writing newspaper columns and signed a book deal - with her literary offerings including, 'A Girl Called Jack - 100 Delicious Budget Recipes' and 'Vegan (ish) - 100 simple, budget recipes that don't cost the earth’ - before branching into TV.


She hit the headlines?

A vocal campaigner, she often makes her voice heard on topics close to her heart, but in 2017, Monroe hit the headlines after winning a libel action against controversial TV personality Katie Hopkins, earning £24,000 in damages, following a row over tweets suggesting that the blogger had approved of defacing a war memorial during an anti-austerity protest in Whitehall.


So what’s happening now?

The activist and food writer has found herself the focus of renewed attention after a recipe of hers went viral online, suggesting washing the sauce off spaghetti hoops.


What is the recipe exactly?

Titled ‘Anellini con cacio e pepe’, the ingredients are a tin of spaghetti hoops, 15g butter, grated cheese and a pinch of black pepper. Aspiring cooks are advised to 'tip the spaghetti hoops into a sieve and gently rinse them to get rid of the tomato sauce'. Once transferred to a microwaveable bowl and heated, cooks add butter or oil, cheese and pepper and the dish can be served.


It’s gone viral?

The dish divided debate, with one tweeter saying, “I’ve been poor, it never occurred to me to rinse the tasty sauce off spaghetti hoops so I could make some naff, mush version of an Italian dish with the cheese and olive oil I didn’t have”. But others supported Monroe, with one tweeting the “recipe is for people getting food from food banks who are sick of spaghetti hoops and want something different.”


What does Monroe say?

When questioned about the concept of washing the hoops on Twitter, the cook said the recipe was "a play on a classic - cacio e pepe - literally pasta, pepper and cheese", adding: "If you have the means to cook dried pasta from scratch (hob, pan, fuel, colander, physical ability) then good for you, but not everybody does. Snobbish miserable gatekeeping does nothing to help anyone. If you’d prefer my recipe for Torta di Gorgonzola semifreddo with a desiccated black olive crumb, I can dig it out. I can do the fancy ridiculous stuff too; I just choose not to make that the main focus of my work in favour of the less glamorous ‘making sure people can eat’.”