Tin Can Cook: A New Way To Cook on a Budget

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8 September 2019

By Bronwen

Jack Monroe is almost a scientist in the way she experiments with food. She takes the experimenting to a whole new level in her latest cookbook Tin Can Cook.

The canned food-based recipe book is food blogger and anti-poverty activist Jack Monroe’s fourth cookbook.


For anybody who hasn’t done much cooking, the wording of the instructions is incredibly easy to follow. Monroe doesn’t use any cooking jargon. Her writing style is very much along the lines of: “shove the beans into the pan and give them a good mix”.

Tin Can Cook is full of handy tips and tricks too. Most recipes have suggestions such as what to do with the juice in a can of fruit, how well a dish freezes and how to make meat-based dishes vegetarian. It’s a refreshing change from other chefs who give the impression that if you don’t use the freshest ingredients, you’ll die a painful death.

So far, I’ve tried the goulash, red lentil and mandarin curry, corned beef chilli, rhubarb and custard pancakes and the overnight carrot cake oats. My favourite part about all of these recipes is the lack of waste. If you think about it, you’re emptying most of the ingredients straight out of a tin can, therefore there’s very limited food or plastic waste.

The corned beef chilli is the nicest recipe I’ve tried so far. It goes lovely over a bowl of nachos. One recipe I wouldn’t make again would be the overnight carrot cake oats. The taste of canned carrots is something I’ve never really been able to get away with.


Monroe isn’t afraid to use flavourful and varied spices which dispels any argument that a meal made from tinned food will be bland and boring. The red lentil and mandarin curry was probably one of the best-tasting dishes I’ve ever made myself.

My only complaint with Tin Can Cook is that there are no pictures of completed dishes, but I can see the advantage of the decision not to include them.

Students would greatly benefit from Tin Can Cook. You can source most tinned products extremely cheaply and the lack of preparation involved means you can whip up a hot meal full of vegetables and nutrients in no time.

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