Food studies scholar and host of the best dinner parties in town, Leanne Brown has just made it a lot easier for low-income Americans to eat healthy, and eat well. Her online cookbook Good and Cheap is available online to download FOR FREE. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. This very benevolent soul has designed a way for anyone to fulfill their nutritional needs while saving some dough (pun intended).
The cookbook – ranging from delicious dinner options to dessert recipes – has been downloaded over 700,000 times. Working on a budget of $4 per day, Brown has created nearly 90 healthy recipes for clueless college cooks and low-income families alike. Her budget system, however, specifically seeks to serve those living on SNAP, the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Her book cites that in May 2014, nearly 46 million Americans lived on food stamps, and countless older Americans and students suffer similar budgetary constraints.
Calling to mind Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent attempt at the “Food Stamp Challenge,” Brown cautions that the cookbook is intended to serve as a resource for those utilizing food stamps – not a call for wealthier Americans to try to “rough it” and live more simply.
In addition to her countless new recipes, Brown also imparts much of her dietary wisdom in the cookbook’s introduction. She suggests families buy in bulk, buy foods that can be used in multiple meals, start building a pantry, think weekly and seasonally and use more vegetables (to have more flavor). Other practical suggestions include always buying eggs and bread, skipping the drinks and being creative with wilted veggies.
As college students and recent graduates, we cannot totally understand of the experience of utilizing SNAP and the stress of planning meals every day. Yet, as someone just starting out in the adult world, Brown’s cookbook is proving a resource for my culinary cluelessness. My favorite recipe so far is her half-veggie burgers, which combine ground beef and lentils for a protein-packed dinner.
As Brown writes, “Learning to cook has a powerfully positive effect. If you can become a more skilled, more conscious cook, you’ll be able to conjure deliciousness in any kitchen, anytime.”