A healthy soul in a healthy body

A healthy soul in a healthy body
Tin Can Cook

by Jack Monroe (Bluebird Books for Life, £6.99)

During this current term of trial, I was talking on the phone to a friend who is unmarried and lives alone and was finding life very hard. Feeding a single person economically – takeaways are costly – is difficult. He said he was very clever though at “opening a tin”. Well I said that’s not so bad and told him about this book.

Author Jack Monroe, having had a hard time of it when her son was small, is very much in to uncomplicated everyday cooking for healthy living. Foodies may balk at opening tins, but what do many of them know about depending on food banks.

Her book is to be warmly welcomed. It will appeal to all those who, for one reason or another, live alone: students, single parents, seniors, even clergy with no house-keeper.

You feed yourself out of a store cupboard which is independent of freezer and fridges, which in many places can now be important when there seem to be so many local floods and electricity ‘outages’. Tinned food remains safe to eat for a life time.

She suggests a range of cans and dry goods that can be bought in advance and used from store: simply open the cans. She provides 75 recipes for every kind of meal from breakfast, through working lunch, to evening dinner with snacks on the side. All are tasty and attractive, and those we have tried work well.

Yet she also sees that her suggestions retain the vitamins and nutrients that are so essential to a healthy body, but with nothing that has had to be flown in from Kenya in the last day or two (or daily from Manchester, as is the case with the sandwiches in M&S).

In this time of lockdown, and indeed at any time, isolated individuals need to keep an eye on healthy eating. It is all very well getting freezer dinners, from say Wiltshire Farm, but what do you do in the outage and the flood? Be sure though to store these tins upstairs away from the flood plane!

Space precludes rambling on with sample ideas, but take it from here that all of this is clever and tasty and you won’t regret the price of the book. If a child needs a cookbook to take to college in the autumn – whenever – this is the one to buy.

We are constantly encouraged about mindfulness and developing our spiritual insights. But these fine things can only be achieved fully on a healthy diet. As the Roman poet Juvenal reminds us, mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. The normal healthy soul also relies on a healthy body.

Visit the author’s website, jackmonroe.com, for more information.