Friday, April 17, 2015

QUICK REVIEW: Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown


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.

Paperback, 208 pages
Expected publication: July 14th 2015 by Workman Publishing Company (first published September 1st 2014)
ISBN 0761184996 (ISBN13: 9780761184997)

My Thoughts

Author Leanne Brown wrote the first copy of this book for her master's degree in food studies. The idea behind it has not been to fill her pockets with money, but to get the book into the hands of the people who need it the most-- those who are trying to live on $4 a day via a SNAP program (aka "food stamps"). She asserted that you could eat well on little money.

This book offers suggestions for how to use cheap, affordable ingredients in a healthy and flavorful way.

My final word: I think this is a great concept. The book doesn't work great for me, because I don't eat meat and I think most of the recipes really need meat to make them good. So while they are "good and cheap", they aren't really vegetarian or pescatarian-friendly. So while I applaud the effort and concept, and the principles that drives the author to provide the book free to people who cannot afford it, the book doesn't really work for me personally.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:


I received a copy of this book to review through Netgalley and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

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