Rebecca Inman - the Budget Menu Queen from Cleveleys
PUBLISHED: 00:00 31 March 2016
Meet the Cleveleys mum with the recipes for success. Emma Mayoh reports
Rebecca Inman had always hated cooking. Husband Gary, a talented baker, had always run their domestic kitchen. But everything changed when the Cleveleys couple’s son Danny, now 13, was born.
‘When I started to wean Danny I really got interested in good food,’ said Rebecca. ‘I wanted to make sure he had lovely meals that were good for him. As I did more I started to really enjoy it.
‘I loved being in the kitchen and preparing food that my family enjoyed. That’s still a real thrill to me. My mum gave me my grandma’s old recipe books, some of which had come from my great grandma too. I was hooked.’
Family have had a big impact on Rebecca’s relationship with food. Growing up in Marton was idyllic. Her childhood years were spent in the garden growing and harvesting fruit and vegetables with her mum, Julie Newsham, grandma Margery Frowen and her uncle, Robert Frowen.
‘We could just go outside and pick everything we needed from the garden,’ said Rebecca. ‘It was magical. We had all sorts of things and it really taught me about what food should be.
‘Those days spent in the garden were special times for me and my family.’
Although she enjoyed cooking, it wasn’t until she was working for the Department for Work and Pensions that Rebecca’s passion transformed into something more than a hobby. After repeatedly seeing people struggle to make ends meet and feed themselves, she decided to take action.
‘My mum and I were travelling home from work together and I said to my mum that I bet I could put together meals for less than £2.50,’ said Rebecca, 43. ‘My mum really supported me and said I should set something up on social media to help people. The week after, I was asked to go on the BBC’s local news talking about food waste and food banks.
‘It all took off so quickly. I went from nothing to having more than 6,000 people registered on my Facebook page. I never imagined there would be that level of interest. It’s become a really nice little community and a complete whirlwind.
‘Cooking is something I feel really passionate about. I just want to educate people to show them they can eat good, healthy foods and it doesn’t have to be expensive.’
Rebecca shares purse-friendly recipes on her site, Budget Menu Queen. Her driving force is producing economically priced meals for families and individuals. But the idea has also presented the ideal opportunity to share some of her grandma and great grandma’s recipes – meals that evoked fond memories that she treasured. Dishes like economy cake – a cake stuffed with fruit –bacon and potatoes and kedgeree have all been showcased.
‘Some of the recipes date back to the Second World War’ said Rebecca. ‘I have had to adapt some of them for our modern palettes. Some of the recipes back then did taste a bit bland. So I’ve added some things in to suit our lifestyles now.
‘But some of these recipes are the ones my grandma used to maker for me. The economy cake was wonderful. Whenever I eat a piece of that I am transported right back to those special times with my grandma when I was little.’
Last year, Rebecca was given a book deal and had her first cookery book, including some of these treasured recipes, published. It features several of the dishes she grew up eating as well as Rebecca’s own meals. It became a number one bestseller on Amazon soon after its release.
‘People kept asking me where they could buy my cookery book. Well, I didn’t have one so I decided to contact a few publishers.
‘This is the kind of thing people wait years for but I managed to get a book deal. It was incredible.’
Rebecca, a delivery team support worker at Blackpool and Fylde College, is now putting together more recipes in the hope of publishing another cook book. She would love to become a full time cook.
‘The last two years have brought all kinds of things I could never have imagined. I can’t quite believe it. The possibility of another book is incredibly exciting and not something I could ever have thought possible.
‘But it is something I am passionate about, My family are also really pleased that my grandma is living on through the recipes I do. That is something special.’