Mum uses wartime cooking method to tackle rising costs and save cash

A campaigner has told how rising costs have seen her turn to a wartime cooking method to save money. Jennifer Jones, who is disabled, says she has been feeling the effect of rising prices before this month’s energy spike.

The Sheffield mother-of-two is behind the Big Power Switch off which saw households urged to turn off their power for 10 minutes on Sunday night. She is calling on people to do the same again on Saturday April 16 at 7pm.

She told Yorkshire Live of how she, along with millions of others, were struggling to get by as more and more prices rise. And she said how she had already looked at ways of cutting costs such as by adding layers of clothing.

She has also taken on a cooking method from the blitz – using a haybox to cook soups and stews which helps cut the amount of time she needs to use the cooker. This was popular during the war when fuel was limited and if effectively a non-electric slow cooker.

Haybox cooking means the cook heats the food to boiling in a covered pot, then that pot is put inside a box which is lined with hay then covered also with hay. The hay insulation means heat stays around the pot allowing it to cook over the day.

Jennifer said: “I don’t feel like I’m in one of the richest countries in the world, I don’t know where I am. It’s so hard for everyone. My son is going through a growth spurt

“My heart sinks because I’m going to have to find new clothes for him because he’s growing.”

The 41-year-old was speaking out following the recent rise in energy bills which have hit people’s pockets across the country. While she knows how much her gas bill is rising she is still waiting to learn her electricity increase but is predicting the cost to treble.

In February, Ofgem announced the 54% energy price cap rise, the increase came into force on April 1. The increase saw £ 693 from £ 1,277 to £ 1,971 per year for UK customer’s on default tariffs paying by direct debit. Prepayment customers saw an increase of £ 708 from £ 1,309 to £ 2,017.

To fight against the rising cost of living, Jennifer, who is part of Disabled People Against Cuts Sheffield (DPAC), organized a protest which took place on April 1. she said around 10,000 people attended on the day.

Jennifer, who was already feeling the financial squeeze before the rise, said: “I could see [in the media] people protesting in the streets through towns across the country, but I’m stuck in my house but I wanted to be a part of that. I want my voice to be heard.

“I saw Martin Lewis on TV one morning and he said I’ve run out of things to help, that devastated me. It was like a punch to the gut, that’s when I knew we were totally lost and we needed to come up with a solution quickly.

“It’s not just about heating or eating, it’s about life or death for families like mine. If it was just me affected by this, I would be ashamed I wouldn’t leave the house but it’s everyone. ”



This was the poster shared ahead of Sunday's protest
This was the poster shared ahead of Sunday’s protest

Jennifer, a victim of domestic violence, was diagnosed with long-term chronic fatigue syndrome also known as ME and Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain all over the body, as a result of the trauma. But she is also a carer for her son, 10, who is autistic and attends a special school.

Through speaking to people through the campaign group, she said people are worried about the rising cost of living. Hundreds of thousands of families across the country are thought to have joined Sunday’s Big Power Switch Off.

People were asked to switch off all household appliances for only 10 minutes or reduce the amount of power they consume in the day. Jennifer acknowledged some people, especially those who are disabled, might not be able to take part in a protest like this if they have life-saving equipment in their homes such as dialysis machines.

Jennifer has slammed politicians for not taking more action against the rising cost of living and urged people to back the campaign. She added: “The amazing thing about this, whether you’ve been part of a political campaign at all – people from all walks of life we ​​found an issue, everyone is coming together.

“This is the first time left, right and center people are coming together because everyone is affected. The government and Ofgem have made a big mistake, they caused an issue, we’re all coming together.

“It worked, it actually worked. We’re doing it again on April 16 at 7pm, we know Parliament will be coming back from holiday, we want this fresh on their minds. It’s given me hope we can change this. I’m disappointed with people that represent us, that we pay to represent us, but have done nothing about this. ”

Responding to criticism that the Big Power Switch Off doesn’t work, she added: “For one when you’re not using energy, you’re not giving them money. The energy company has to estimate usage each day or week, the company then buys energy to provide for its customers. But to store energy that doesn’t get used, they have to pay to store that energy.

“The more households that take part in the protest, the more we hit their pockets. We’re going to keep doing it, we’re going to get bigger and bigger until it changes. ”

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