“I’m a lefty, liberal, lezzer cook…” (Observer Food Monthly, Feb 2014).

JACK MONROE

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When I arrive at her flat in Southend-on-Sea Jack Monroe is where fans of her compulsive blog A Girl Called Jack perhaps imagine her always to be, in front of her cooker, making an omelette. The flat, which she moved into three weeks ago, overlooks the wild grey Thames estuary, just up from the longest pleasure pier in the world. There is a biblical storm outside; her three-year-old son is playing in the living room. Jack is just back from a 10-day trip to Tanzania with Oxfam, her tattooed forearms are peeling from the sun. While she eats – “Sorry, sorry I was doing a couple of foreign radio interviews this morning and haven’t had breakfast” – she talks first about what she saw.

Having written for the past few years about the experience of coping on a £10 a week food budget in Southend, Monroe’s first trip to Africa…

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