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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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We already own a lot of Jamie Oliver's other recipe books and so thought we would pre-order this one as the premise of the book "shop smart, cook clever, waste less" really appealed to us.

I am a competent cook, my wife and I both enjoy cooking and will always cook from scratch. We hoped this book would help us save money on food shopping and be more `savvy' with ingredients and get more from ingredients we might have normally let go to waste.

First impressions:

As with all his books, I really like the layout, pictures and fonts used etc (I have uploaded some photos on this product page as they will be a lot better than any description I can give).

The fonts and images help to break up a couple of fairly wordy pages that give advice on shopping smart and storing foods.

Every recipe has an accompanying picture which is a big thing for me, it's a big prompt as to whether I want to make a recipe or not.

Book contents:

The book starts with an intro as to why Jamie's done the book, not really necessary I think but nice none the less.

It then goes through the following titles:

The Big Freeze - Jamie goes through what he generally keeps in his freezer and a couple of basic rules to freezing, e.g. letting food cool before freezing and the importance of keeping things well wrapped. These are things I already knew but I can see how others may find this advice useful.

Chill Out - Again Jamie goes through what he keeps in his fridge rather than a prescriptive list of what you should or shouldn't have in there. The guidance here again isn't hugely useful for us I think, but if new to cooking at home it's perhaps a good set up to the recipes ahead. Interesting just to nosey in Jamie Oliver's fridge to be honest!

Store It - I think you get the picture, this is what he keeps in his store cupboard / pantry. Again not hugely useful for us but interesting to see that ours generally mirrored what he kept, e.g. rice, spices, flour and sugar etc.

Shop Smart - a double page of thifty tips... this is where I was hoping for some new advice. As shoppers we could be unusual but it made me realise we are already `smart'. A lot of the things Jamie suggests, such as using cash and carries for stocking up on basic ingredients and menu planning etc. This doesn't make me dissatisfied with the book (when perhaps it should?) but made me realise we are on the right tracks. The value for me in this book comes with the recipes and tips that lay ahead....

The recipes in the book are split by the following main ingredients:


I really do like the split as it makes it easy to find recipes you'd like to cook.

As mentioned all recipes have pictures (please see image uploads for pages I've uploaded - hope this helps?), and cookbooks with lovely photographs and text always score highly for me.

But thankfully as well as looking nice, there are also a lot of recipes that I would like to cook, as well as a couple of further hints and tips on how to shop smart smattered throughout the recipe pages e.g. in the vegetable section there's a page with tips on buying seasonally and another on what to do with leftover wine.

Something I also REALLY like (as my wife is a fan of counting calories), but each recipe has a calorie count assigned per portion.

Having used a different book the previous night to joint a chicken, leafing through the book this morning my wife commented that Jamie's instructions and pictures in this book were much clearer than the one she used last night (that book shall remain nameless!). Again have uploaded a couple of images so you can judge for yourself as to whether you would find this kind of breakdown useful for your skill level or needs.

I find that from owning a lot of his other books, Jamie Oliver's recipes are ones that I often actually cook (some recipe books I like to read but don't often cook from, sad but true). So if you are reading this and already enjoy cooking from one of this books, chances are you'll like the recipes in this book whether you are interested in shopping smart or not. I am now - rather geekily, quite excited about watching the accompanying channel 4 show in a couple of days!

So whilst the tips weren't especially ground-breaking for me and my wife, it's sound advice that some people will certainly find useful - and most importantly it turns out, has some great recipes within that I can't wait to cook.

I would say it would suit a range of skill levels from beginner to intermediate, but most suited to those that like Jamie Oliver's style of recipes and cooking in the first place, kind of "tasty and relaxed" in my opinion.

I hope to update this review in a couple of weeks once we've tried more than one recipe out (it was the British Carbonara... fairly basic but I liked the twist of using a sprig of fresh rosemary... and at 508 calories very tasty). Interestingly the book doesn't cost up the recipes, only includes calories. Anyway I shall update in a couple of weeks. Hope this review is of use to those contemplating buying it.


We have now gone through the book `proper' from cover to cover, and tested two recipes over the weekend.

I just wanted to point out a couple more features of the book that we didn't notice or use at first:

The nutrition section at the back of the book lists all nutritional values of every meal in the book, not just calories but fat, saturated fat, carbs and sugar. This level of detail may not be of interest to some but thought I would point it out (have uploaded more images including this page on customer images).

It turns out the book more about nutrition and health than we had initially realised. Hence all the calorie counts etc and why the vegetables section of the book is the largest (JO recommends aiming for two meat free days a week on the grounds of it being both healthier as well as cheaper).

The meat sections all have a `mothership' recipe, followed by a number of recipes (ranging from 4 - 7 recipes) that use leftovers from this `mothership'.

To test the logic of the book we did a `mothership' recipe followed by a left overs recipe from the beef section.

On Saturday we made "Sunday Roast Brisket" (crazy I know!). Jamie explains Brisket was chosen as it's a cheaper cut of meat (makes sense) so as the recipe stated we cooked it long and slow with some delicious veggies. As with all of Jamie's other books the steps were easy to follow and ingredients were easy to come by. The resulting dish was very tasty - even if I do say so myself.

Then on the Sunday we had the Spiced Beef Tagine. We liked this even more than the initial roast but then again we both like spice. For a recipe with left overs it was great, normally we would just make sandwiches or put it through a salad.

So the first valuable lesson the book has left me with is to be more inventive with leftovers. Even if you currently don't let them go to waste, are you making the most of them? Can't wait for Jamie's show now! I hope to do another update soon when we've really had a go at a variety of recipes but so far, so very good.

Update 2:

So it's been a couple of weeks now and we have done another four recipes from the book.

We cooked the chicken and chorizo paella, using chicken thighs as Jamie suggests. In the past we would have automatically shopped for chicken breast. Yes there was a little less meat on the thighs but this didn't impact the recipe and the chorizo really packed a punch of flavour into the dish. One thing we didn't include was the frozen prawns as my wife doesn't like prawns, and it was still delicious without.

With the same pack of chicken thighs, the following night we cooked the `Pukka Yellow Curry' (although the recipe calls for drumsticks instead of thighs). A really non labour intensive recipe, it tasted great again so we were really chuffed, with plenty for leftovers the following day.

After seeing it on the show we had to try the Sweet Pea Fish Pie, and the pea and potato topping was super tasty, I don't think we'll ever use plain potato on top of a fish pie ever again. The pie turned out great, we tweaked a few of the ingredients (removing the prawns and including some smoked haddock).

And last but not least, for a quick tea one night we had the carbonara of smoked mackerel. I had some reservations about this recipe but my wife loves mackerel so we had to try it. Whilst I generally prefer your traditional carbonara with smoked bacon, my wife preferred this mackerel version. My opinion is that it's ok, and if you have no bacon to hand but do have mackerel, it's a good substitute - and generally cheaper so fits with the premise of the book.

And one final small note the `total time' quoted on each recipe page has so far been fairly accurate.

So after trialling the book proper for me it still retains its five stars as the hints and tips are very welcome, and the recipes are easy to follow and so far have all turned out great. It would be great if Jamie could follow up with some `Save with Jamie Desserts!'.
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4343 comments| 1,444 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 September 2013
We are always struggling to make ends meet, and unfortunately, it's usually the food budget that gets trimmed. We had already switched to supermarket own brand or value line on almost everything and so I wasn't convinced that I could cook really great meals and save any money. I decided to try the book as I really like Jamie's easy, relaxed style.

All the recipes looked typically appealing; one thing I did notice was the lack of costing, although you can go to for current prices. I was spending £130-140 per week for a family of five, which includes 2 teenagers who are constantly hungry. I was immensely pleased to spend just £91 this weekend, which included toiletries etc. but not the ingredients for the chicken korma, or the rice for the risotto, which I had already (see menu below).

Here is our menu for the week, with comments for the dishes already made:

Sunday: Mothership Sunday Roast Lamb
Delicious, and masses of leftovers.
N.B Take great care with the water level in the pan after you remove the foil. Mine seemed to disappear suddenly, leaving the outside of the meat a little dry.

Monday: Bad boy burritos
Another very tasty meal, which was surprisingly filling. The recipe serves four, but only my husband and I ate these and so I have frozen the rest to take to work for lunches as and when I fancy them.
I didn't use BBQ sauce, but the leftover onion gravy and mint sauce. When I make this next time, I would reduce the amount of rice by about half as I felt there was too much rice to the meat. It is also really easy to overfill the tortillas which makes rolling them up a challenge! Once you've done one or two, you get the hang of it.

I also made the Happy & Hearty Scotch Broth, using the bones from the lamb and a combination of leftover veg from the roast(cabbage and peas) and celery and carrots, which I cooked as per the instructions. I used rice left over from assembling the burritos, rather than pearl barley. Again, I have frozen several portions left after lunch.

Tuesday: Lamb pie

Wednesday: Butternut Squash Risotto (Arborio rice I already had and half squash, other half to be used Friday)

Thursday: Cottage Pie (using last of roast lamb)

Friday: Pasta Rotolo

Saturday: Chicken Korma (all ingredients already in freezer/cupboard)

So I would say I've been impressed so far, although I haven't cooked a whole weeks' worth yet, and I didn't have to buy absolutely everything. I have also made some small substitutions to avoid buying things which may not get much use (like BBBQ sauce).
If the above menu was helpful, please comment and I will update at the end of the week.

*** Update Nov 2013***

Slightly later than promised but I have used this book a lot and it does definitely save you money.We have liked all the food I have cooked from the book, with the exception of the Sweet Pea Fish Pie. The downside is that the recipes are quite time-consuming.I do plan meals from this book about two weeks in three and then have a week off, as I don't always feel like spending an hour or more cooking dinner after work. Even if I'm not following the meal plans on any given week, I still try to make sure we have one or two vegetarian dinners a week, as it really does save money and even the carnivores in our house seem to enjoy them.
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on 29 August 2013
Firstly, please ignore the first review of this book by Vicky 'darren redstar'. It's quite clear that she doesn't own the book. It seems as if their only intention was to come and post a personal attack on Jamie Oliver. Hopefully Amazon will do the right thing and remove the review and it distorts the rating of this product

I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver and have most of his previous books so naturally I was pleased to discover that he had another one coming out. I read on Jamie's website that he was working on another book but put that to one side due to the demand by his fans for him to produce a book aimed at helping us to save money and waste less food yet still eat well in these tough economic times.

We all know that times are tough at the minute and so the temptation for some people when wandering around the supermarket is to pick up that £1 lasagne ready-meal rather than cook something fresh from scratch, such is the extent to which our food budgets have been squeezed. According to Jamie, the average British adult has 12 takeaway meals a month. The meals in this book, according to Jamie, cost half that of an average take away meaning that you will be able to produce healthier and more nutritious food than that 12" pizza you had last week.

Like almost all of Jamie's books, the photography is excellent with the food looking so delicious that you just want to go into your kitchen and start cooking straight away. Already my copy has a number of pages marked with meals that I can't wait to try. Thankfully, each recipe comes with an accompanying photograph which I know is important to a lot of people when it comes to cookbooks as they like to know what the finished dish should look like.

As with a Jamie Oliver book, recipe instructions are clear and concise and I believe that anyone who has even the most basic knowledge of cooking will be able to produce these recipes in this book. All of the recipes in this book feature ingredients that you will be able to find in your local supermarket. Furthermore, given that this is a book aimed at saving money and creating less waste you will all be pleased to know that there no recipes that require obscure ingredients that you have never heard of before which would require a trip to an Asian supermarket to source.

At the front of the book you will find 12 pages on how to shop smarter, from things that can be frozen, what you should and shouldn't have in your fridge regular basis, essential ingredients for your store cupboard, how to shop for bargains in the supermarket.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

Shop Smart
Bonus Recipes

The question as to who this book will appeal to the most is difficult to answer. Certainly it will prove incredibly useful to students going to university as well as families living on a budget. I would say that of all of Jamie's books this is by far and away the most accessible and will appeal to the widest range of people.

Below you will find all of the recipes contained within this book listed by chapter. I do hope this proves useful in helping you to decide whether or not this is a book that you would be interested in.


Grated rainbow salad, sesame feta fritters
Mexican filled omelette
Sicilian squash and chickpea stew
Puffy pea `n' potato pie
Hungover noodles
Squash and spinach pasta rotolo
My sag aloo
Veggie korma, mock cauliflower pilau
Sweet fennel soup, French toast croutons
Roasted squash - 4 exciting ways
Baked onion in the hole
Really tasty charred Asian salad
Giant veg rosti, poached eggs, spinach and peas
Zombie brain (magnificent whole roasted celeriac, mushroom sauce and barley)
Sweet potato and spinach frittata
Aubergine daal, handmade chapatis
Pappa alla zucchini (courgette and bread soup)
The best cauliflower and broccoli cheese
BBQ baked beans, smashed sweet potatoes
Beetroot fritters, dressed lentils and leaves
Happy frumpy minestrone
Simple tomato pasta - 4 exciting ways
Okonomiyaki (epic savoury Japanese pancake)


Sunday roast chicken

Singapore noodles
Frenchie salad
Humble chicken stew - 4 ways
Roast chicken and sweet pea risotto
Smokin' chicken chowder
Quick Chinese wrap
Chicken and spinach cannelloni

JFC (Jamie's fried chicken)
Chicken and chorizo paella
Hit `n' run tray baked chicken
Sticky chicken, Chinese noodles
Pukka yellow curry
Chicken wings, Gangnam style
Mexican Caesar salad
Delicious chicken liver Bolognese
My Jewish penicillin, omelette ribbons

Sunday roast brisket

Beef rending
Spiced beef tagine
Pulled beef salad, kick ass croutons
Humble brisket stew - 4 ways
Beef noodle soup
Korean stir-fried rice
Sloppy brisket po' boy

Mexican beef chilli
Mince and onion pie, cream cheese pastry
Meatballs alla Norma
Chinese beef and tofu
Snake in the hole
Secret steak and chips, garlicky green beans
Seared British beef carpaccio


Sunday roast pork

American hot pizza pie
Banh mi
Dim sum pork buns
Slow-roasted pork ragu
Crispy pork tacos
BBQ pulled pork, waffles and slaw
Pulled pork peppers, easy baked risotto

Jerked BBQ ribs
Pork meatloaf, spaghetti sauce
Sausage panzanella
Piri piri pork belly
Spiced sausage cassoulet
Smoked ham hocks, parsley sauce


Sunday roast lamb

Bad boy BBQ burritos
Happy and hearty Scottish broth
Punchy crunchy lamb noodle salad
Lovely lamb pie
Crispy Moroccan lamb pastille
Incredible lamb biryani

Sizzling lamb koftas
King of all burgers
Cypriot lamb kebabs


Roast salmon

Tasty salmon tacos
Salmon - 4 beautiful ways
Salmon filo pie
Kinda Vietnamese salmon salad

Sweet pea fish pie
Fantastic fish tikka curry
Sweet and sour fish balls
Cajun salmon and prawn fishcakes
Jools' sweet pea and prawn pasta shells
Grilled garlic mussels, sweet tomato soup
Carbonara of smoked mackerel
My favourite Sicilian sardine spaghetti
Trout al forno
Mussel pasta e fagioli
Tuna melt piadina
Portuguese fish stew
Smoky kipper pate

Cheddar and pea omelette
Lemon and basil spaghetti
Mushrooms on toast
Spinach and onion quesadilla
Pappa al pomodoro
Carrot, orange and ginger soup
Leek and potato soup
British carbonara
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on 16 September 2013
Good points:

The recipes are excellent and I can see this book being well used in our house.

I don't agree with the flak that Jamie has had over his comments regarding bread - ignore ciabatta and read 'home made' and his tips are useful. Also his recipes for home made flat bread and tortillas are good too.

Not so good points:

Although some of the recipes are economical, using cheaper fish/veggies, this is definitely not a budget cook book. You need to have a well stocked larder to start with and a purse that can extend to large cuts of meat for the mothership recipes. e.g. one mothership recipe calls for 1.5 kilo side of salmon - this is way outside my budget unless cooking for a special occasion. Ditto 4.5 kilos shoulder of pork, even allowing for extra meals is pushing it - at my butchers this would have cost almost £30.

Also, when I was unemployed, there was no way I could afford to run my oven for hours, e.g. the roast pork for five and a half hours! My harshest criticism is that if I were as broke now as I was then, then I would have found parts of this book unachievable and patronising. The JFK, saving £3 on a supposed £18 meal is a particularly risible example - when on benefits we could never have afforded the original or the Jamie version.

Going forward:

I intend to adapt the recipes in this book to bring it into line with my budget, using smaller cuts for the individual recipes (for the first two weeks of a month anyway) so it has a welcome place in my kitchen. However, when there's too much month at the end of the money, 'How to feed your family for £5...', Delia's frugal food, or indeed A girl called Jack's blog, and other such basic books are more realistic.

In summary, this book is for the 'squeezed middle' rather than for someone on benefits or a minimum wage job.

Update: 27th Sept. These days our money is like 'catch the rat' and our food budget is getting tighter. I've just been paid and am going to lay out for meat/fish for the mothership recipes. For the next month I'm going to use this book as Jamie intends it to be used and I'll post the results up here in terms of money saved on my food budget and practicality - I work shifts and some days have loads of time and some days none. I'll try not to be boring...

Update 6th October. I'm only going to do one week due to time or lack of....

Two adults, one (fussy) teenager

My local butchers are much more expensive than our supermarkets and we have no greengrocer so I shopped where I usually shop.

Week one: Meat bought: shoulder of pork approx 2.5kg £12.50, whole chicken 1.8 kg, £6.00, Sainsburys
sirloin steaks 3 approx 450g total £5.00 reduced in Waitrose

veggies: onions, potatoes, carrots, brocolli, cauli, butternut squash, leeks, from Lidl, total approx £10.00
sundries: hoisin sauce, chilli bean sauce, £1.79 each, five spice powder £1.40, from Waitrose, fresh herb plants from Lidl, £4.00.

everything else was already in our cupboards.

roast shoulder of pork, first with roasties and vegetables - very nice.
Then leftovers used in pork dim sum balls for packed lunches - these were superb - really easy to make and delicious. Even DS enjoyed these.
American hot pizza - I think this will go down in the annals of taking the p out of Mum. The pizza dough rose so much that it was like a round loaf with the topping balancing on top - it's pizza Jamie but not as we know it. This was not the recipes fault - I just didn't roll it thin enough... . There wasn't a lot left of the pork as it was very, very fatty, so we had the remainder in sandwiches.
2 meals, 3 lunches. In terms of value, the joint I bought was a bit of a fail due to the amount of fat and skin.

Chicken - I jointed this, then roasted the breasts. One for the 3 of us with potatoes and veggies. One shredded and used in the chicken and corn soup. The soup was a bit bland for us so I added a home made uncooked salsa made from chilli, red onion, tomatoes and coriander. It was a main meal soup and went down well - there was enough for me to take to work also.
Cooks perogative - I roasted the wings per the gangnam style recipe and was surprised at just how much meat was on them, Usually when I roast a bird the wings are dried out and pretty much inedible.
I portioned the two legs and froze them for later in the month.
In terms of value this was amazing.

Steak night - say no more.

Sicilian squash and chick pea stew - this made loads so we had it two times, the second time a bit more moroccan with ras al hanout and chopped chillies. There was enough left to liquidise and turn into a soup for me for work (I do like my soups....) In terms of value - again great.

I have had to be organised and have thought about what we eat far more than usual. In summary, we have eaten very well this week and I was surprised at how much further each main ingredient went. Although my bill was a little bit higher than normal, I expect my bills to be less over the next weeks as I now have more extras in.

Going forward, it has opened my eyes on really using everything and putting more creativity into leftovers. Cooking this way may well save a bit but more importantly the recipes have all worked and have been delicious.

Thank you Jamie!
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on 2 September 2013
We're both avid cooks. We received this book last week and have already tried 2 recipes. The first one we made was the aubergine dahl primarily because we had an aubergine hanging around in the fridge which needed using. Initially, I was surprised at how few ingredients were used and was slightly sceptical that the dish would prove to be flavoursome enough for our palates. It took more time to prepare the recipe than was stated because to save money, I made the Rogan Josh curry paste myself, a recipe adapted from Jamie's Ministry of Food. The result was fantastic. I loved the texture arising from half of the aubergine mixture being put in with the yellow split peas and half being added later; and the curry oil made from curry leaves, chilli and mustard seeds. The flavour was excellent. Furthermore, as the recipe served 6 we managed to freeze two portions for consumption at a later date!! I also froze the spare rogan josh paste in an ice-cube tray so next time we cook the dish, it'll take far less time to prepare. The second dish we tried surpassed even the aubergine dahl. It was the chicken liver bolognese. Oh my! For about 60p's worth of meat, this meal proved amazing. The herbs and seasonings with the meat were a marriage made in heaven. The texture of the mushrooms, carrots and bacon with the creaminess of the liver was really something. To those parents whose children say they don't like liver, think again. If you didn't know there was chicken liver in the dish, you'd think it was top quality mince. Roll on Jamie. If you want to save money - this is a brilliant start.
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on 30 August 2013
I preordered this book as I have all his others. I made the Mothership roast chicken, delicious and enough lovely onion gravy to freeze that would be great with sausages. Basically what he does in this book is give you a "mothership" recipe which you then use the left overs for a very large selection of other recipes. Having done the roast chicken I then have a choice of 7 other recipes (one of them, the chicken stew, then splits into another 3 recipes) to use up the left overs. I also learned that you can freeze whole chillies. (I never knew that!) It's an excellent book if you can think and shop ahead. You buy the ingredients for the main recipe and then have to decide what you are going to make with the left overs. I shall be doing a lot more as it's has already saved a fair few quid. Please ignore the review who just attacks Jamie by someone who has obviously not even picked up the book!
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on 29 August 2013
Not only has Jamie Oliver come up with a really easy to follow cookbook without a million and one expensive and hard to come by ingredients but he's made it so it's affordable for families to eat well for less.

For those who can't afford to buy it, his publishers have donated a free copy to every library in the country (that's on top of the ones they would've bought and ordered anyway.) So, if you can't afford to buy it now, go to your library and borrow it FOR FREE. Brilliant! I borrowed my copy today from my local library and I can't wait to finish reading it and come up with some more ideas for cheaper family meals.
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on 2 September 2013
The first review is ridiculous! Bashing a person for being successful!
I'm not a massive follower of Jamie's but he uses his success to help people, firstly helping our children eat better in schools & now saving tips. And as for digging about the price, check out the review on here saying his book has been donated to every library.
He deserves his success & there are some great saving tips & recipes
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on 31 August 2013
i flipped open the book at saag aloo and was hooked. great doable recipes, nothing obnoxious, and all about getting the most bang for your buck. for those complaining about the use of oils or salmon, i would say that oils can of course be replaced with cheaper alternatives, but what Jamie is trying to do is show us how to eat well for less. we need good oils and nutrients. there has to be some compromise. of course you could eat in a more frugal way, but for the average household, this is a good balance between savings and benefits.
Portion wise, he is giving an economical alternative to curry chips and a burger, not foraged leaves and fruits. and in that context, the book is pitch perfect.
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on 3 September 2013
I received this book on the day it came out, I have now tried a few recopies and I can only say that I have been impressed by the outcome. The dishes I tried were delicious and I loved the small tips on how to store/use leftovers.

There are some brilliant tips on how to store Chillies which really is nice, I normally buy packets of chillies and half of them go off before I manage to use them. I loved the way Jamie is encouraging us to cook a Main dish and then reuse the leftovers for days to come. This is not a revolutionary idea, but a proper old fashioned method. I know from my granddad that they would never discard the bones from the chicken without making it into a soup or stock. It may not be a lot of money that is saved however, every little bit helps.

I was amused seeing the tip of saving the dripping from the meat and then use it to cook with. I have always saved a bit to put on rye bread to eat (yes very unhealthy) as we used to have this when I was a kid. However, I never thought of cooking with it, which I'm really excited about.

I must admit though that the tip about how to make your own vinegar was a bit too complex for me, can't really see that happening.

The book in general seems to be very aimed at not wasting or throwing out food, which is a big problem, not so sure this would be a problem at all if you were really poor though. It sounds like Jamie got his heart in the right place and really is trying his best to help people save money and get more efficient at cooking.

When it comes to the people who really are poor I'm not so sure this book would help though as there is a lot of basic ingredients/spices needed which will last forever but initially is expensive to buy. But I'm not sure this is the people Jamie aimed the book at.

The reason I only gave the book 4 stars is that even though I can see it helping me in saving money and not wasting food I didn't feel it was a new idea, just a good reminder of what the previous generation was so good at!

I would recommend the book though, as there are a lot of good ideas/tips.

Hope this help you in your decision making.
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