Now, here is something useful. This morning I was reading The Hairpin and found this article, The Free, Beautiful $4/Day SNAP Cookbook, by Leanne Brown, an NYU student. Please click the article and give The Hairpin some visitation love, and also get a copy of this very nice cookbook.
Ms. Brown is doing something concrete for people who live at the butt-end of the economy, which is putting some real thought into showing how to eat cheaply, yet well, and has pulled together a set of “great-looking meals that can be made from non-fancy and easily available ingredients.” There are dozens of recipes, all very beautifully illustrated with gorgeous photos, and each one has a price tag for the cost of the dish as a whole and then the cost per serving. These prices are what it cost her in New York to make these dishes and that’s an expensive place. I took a sample of the recipes and ran the ingredient list through my food cost database and find that these meals are probably cheaper to make in San Diego than in New York, especially if you’re a bargain grocery shopper like me.
If you would like to support this kind of constructive food activism you should check out Ms. Brown’s Kickstarter page and see if there is a pledge level you can give to.
My only reservations about the cook book (and these are very, very small) are that the layout of the pages in the PDF makes it difficult to scroll because they are too wide for smaller screens, and that the some of the recipes are aimed at reasonably adventurous palates, and might not be appreciated by kids and picky eaters (which would be their loss). I thought most of the recipes sounded delicious and were very similar to the kinds of food I enjoy preparing. I deeply appreciated the dedication to crafting good stuff for ultra-tight budgets, and applaud madly that she did this without a single hint of ideology or moralism about the food itself.
If you care about putting good tools into the hands of people so they can help themselves, I urge you to spread the word about this cookbook and support its distribution. And cook a few things out of it – it’s all good.