Sunday, February 28, 2016

{Book Review} Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

Good and Cheap
by Leanne Brown
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Released: July 14, 2015
How I got it: was sent a copy by the publisher

A perfect and irresistible idea: A cookbook filled with delicious, healthful recipes created for everyone on a tight budget—and a cookbook with a strong charitable component: With every copy of Good and Cheap purchased, a second copy will be given to a person or family in need.

While studying food policy as a master’s candidate at NYU, Leanne Brown asked a simple yet critical question: How well can a person eat on the $4 a day given by SNAP, the U.S. government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program informally known as food stamps? The answer is surprisingly well: Broiled Tilapia with Lime, Spicy Pulled Pork, Green Chile and Cheddar Quesadillas, Vegetable Jambalaya, Beet and Chickpea Salad—even desserts like Coconut Chocolate Cookies and Peach Coffee Cake. In addition to creating nutritious recipes that maximize every ingredient and use economical cooking methods, Ms. Brown gives tips on shopping; on creating pantry basics; on mastering certain staples—pizza dough, flour tortillas—and saucy extras that make everything taste better, like spice oil and tzatziki; and how to make fundamentally smart, healthful food choices.

The idea for Good and Cheap is already proving itself. The author launched a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish and fund the buy one/give one model. Hundreds of thousands of viewers watched her video and donated $145,000, and national media are paying attention. Even high-profile chefs and food writers have taken note—like Mark Bittman, who retweeted the link to the campaign; Francis Lam, who called it “Terrific!”; and Michael Pollan, who cited it as a “cool kickstarter.” In the same way that TOMS turned inexpensive, stylish shoes into a larger do-good movement, Good and Cheap is poised to become a cookbook that every food lover with a conscience will embrace.

Review: I stumbled over this book while looking for cheap budget friendly healthy meal ideas. I downloaded the free pdf version Ms Brown offers on her website and was in love. The recipes are delicious and easy, not to mention cheap. I find it inspiring that Ms Brown donates one book for every book sold to someone who could otherwise not afford it.
The book is not only full of wonderful recipes but also tips on shopping, building a pantry with staples, and it even teaches how to make things like tortillas, hummus, and potsticker or dumplings as they are called in the book. I have to admit I didn't realize how easy these were to make dough for and are a great way to reuse leftovers. I have tried several recipes in this book and my family has devoured them all. The top favorite being the banana pancakes.

Even if you're someone who doesn't like to cook, the recipes are easy to follow and there's even a section for making bulk so you can freeze stuff to reheat later. Another nice thing about the recipes is that each one tells you how much it costs per serving and total. For example the banana pancakes cost about $.75 per serving or $3.00 total. When I got the book, I already had everything to make these right on hand and didn't even need to go to the store. Actually if you have a decently stocked pantry you could make most of these recipes as soon as you get the book.
As someone who has a fairly tight food budget and has had to resort to food stamps in the past to get by I can really appreciate the information Good and Cheap has to offer. I feel Ms Brown did her homework on this and created a wonderful book. I hope to see more like it from her in the future.

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