Jamie Oliver donates his latest cookbook to over 4,000 UK libraries

Save with Jamie giveaway follows controversy in the media over chef's remarks about the eating habits of those on a budget

Those feeling the pinch have no need to sell their big TVs to get their hands on Jamie Oliver's lastest cookbook, Save with Jamie, after the celebrity chef donated a copy to every library in the country.

The charitable move comes after the celebrity chef sparked media condemnation with comments he made in an interview with the Radio Times to promote his upcoming autumn Channel 4 show, Jamie's Money Saving Meals.

Oliver's publisher, Penguin Random House, is donating a copy of Save with Jamie to over 4,000 libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

According to Oliver, his latest cookery book was written in response to readers' requests. Describing the book on Amazon, the celebrity chef said: "This year, I've got the message loud and clear that as everyone comes under bigger and bigger financial pressure, they want help to cook tasty, nutritious food on a budget, so this book was born completely out of public demand." It emphasises cooking knowledge and skills to support healthier and cheaper choices for people trying to control their household spending.

Desmond Clarke, a campaigner against austerity cuts affecting local library services, welcomed the move. "We should be delighted that Jamie Oliver has offered to generously donate his new book to every library. Perhaps it might inspire councils to find more imaginative ways to make savings rather than axe branch libraries," he said.

Tony Durcan of the Society of Chief Librarians told industry magazine The Bookseller that as libraries experience "a tsunami of demand from users on tight budgets … Jamie's gift is extremely welcome, and we will put the books to very good use".

The media backlash began after Oliver questioned the priorities of people living on a budget in the Radio Times.

"You might remember that scene in [a previous series] Ministry of Food," he said, "with the mum and the kid eating chips and cheese out of Styrofoam containers, and behind them is a massive fucking TV. It just didn't weigh up."

In the Guardian, Alex Andreou described the chef as a poverty "tourist" ; and the Telegraph's Mic Wright admonished him for his "patronising diatribe". In the Independent, Grace Dent rode to his defence: "If he's annoyed that the woman had a big television and was feeding her kids nutrition-free crap, I'll let him have that aside, he's earned it."


Liz Bury

The GuardianTramp

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