In front of the rice section of the supermarket of the German brand Rewe, Jennifer Kuschel is forced to bend over. “A movement that she repeats throughout her races”, note the weekly Die Zeit. “It’s as if they wanted to remind us that we don’t have much”, plague the person concerned. The packs presented at eye level cost 3 euros more than the private label offered on the bottom shelf.
Jennifer Kuschel is 33 years old. For three years, after a stormy break-up, she has lived alone with her three children and their cat in a low-rent housing district in an eastern suburb of Berlin. The galley, this girl of public assistance knows. There was a period in his life when the automatic glass and plastic deposit machine decided his food budget: 2 or 3 euros in total against a few bottles, on the best days.
Practical and concrete tips
Jennifer Kuschel is not one to complain. On Instagram and on TikTok, more recently on YouTube, under the pseudonym @foodandfamily (“Food and family”, in English), she posts short videos about her daily life. And shares his tips and tricks for living and surviving when you’re in the red well before the end of the month. In particular, it offers recipes for broke people. His favorite dish: “Curry rice with buttered vegetables [surgelés] and fried egg.”
In this period of galloping inflation in Germany, Jennifer Kuschel has found an audience. “The rising cost of living has boosted his number of social media followers. At the beginning of the year, she had 3,000 followers on Instagram, today they are more than [110 000]and it is already followed by [plus de] 330,000 people on TikTok”, notice Die Zeit.
“Every day, his audience is growing. Students and families who for the first time are being forced to watch their spending.”
There’s nothing fancy about Jennifer Kuschel’s recipes. “She mixes ingredients that a priori do not work together. Toast and cinnamon, sausage meat and lasagne sheets, buttered vegetables and curry”, sums up the Hamburg weekly. “It fills the stomach, and while it’s not four-star cuisine, it’s pretty good,” she assures.
To the nearest ten euro cents
Die Zeit accompanied Jennifer Kuschel the day she wanted to refilm the video of her favorite dish. “Prices have gone up so much that this video is no longer valid today”, justifies the mother of the family. In the aisles of Rewe where she does her shopping, she shares her advice on how to save every penny. Never take a trolley, for example, “because it encourages you to buy more”. Or prefer canned potatoes, to limit energy expenditure during cooking.
In the rice department, she chooses the private label: four 125-gram packets sold for 0.99 euros. And too bad for the sad spirits who, in comments posted under his video, will reproach him for buying useless plastic packaging. The 1 kilo packet of rice offered by the same brand is, per kilo, 51 cents more expensive. In any event, “when it’s cheap, it’s often less good for your health and almost always less good for the environment”, remember Die Zeit. And why criticize those who have no choice?
Jennifer Kuschel – who in a past life worked at an amusement park as a graphic designer – has been a professional influencer since last December. She took the leap “because it amused her, but also because a single mother does not offer the profile of the ideal worker”, abstract Die Zeit.
This summer, “YouTube granted him advertising revenue, the clicks now bring him money. Companies ask him for collaborations. She receives clothes and is invited to amusement parks with her children”, specifies the newspaper.
“Some blame him [désormais] in comments to seek to ‘make money’ and not to be ‘really poor’”, has noted Die Zeit. The young woman answers wanting “helping people who are struggling to make ends meet”, and she does it, “because she herself has been in this situation”. “Kuschel never calls himself poor, warns the weekly. Because this word means something else for her: not having a home, not having a family. The poor are the people who live on the streets, she explains. A point of view that also earned him criticism.”
In the streets of her neighborhood (where the vote for the far-right AfD party is on the rise), some recognize her. “You and [ton compte] TikTok, you saved my life.” They thank her for helping them make ends meet. Women, mothers, write to him to tell him about their distress, money problems, domestic violence, children brought up alone. “Thanks to you, I know I can get through this.”
A Josefine, 32, from Wolkow sent him this message, quoted by Die Zeit:
“When I watch your videos, I always have tears in my eyes. I think back to my mother and all she did for me and my sister. Without money, without help, all alone.”