Devised originally for folks on the US SNAP food program, this is collection of recipes created by the author for those on a budget. These meals are as healthy as they can be and utilise ingredients that are readily available to most low-income families. Leanne's recipes are flexible in that ingredients can be changed according to availability, taste, and cost.
Leanne's intent was to create meals that do not require supplementation of cheap carbs to stave off hunger. What's more, she designed the recipes specifically to use money carefully, without penny-pinching. For instance, many of these recipes use butter, which is not cheap, rather than margarine or oil, because it creates flavour and richness in a way that cheap alternatives cannot.
To encourage a varied diet, the recipes do not contain large amounts of meat to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables.
Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. In a perfect world, healthy and delicious food would be all around us. It would be easy to choose and easy to enjoy.
But of course it’s not a perfect world. There are thousands of barriers that can keep us from eating in a way that nourishes our bodies and satisﬁes our tastes. Money just needn’t be one of them.
Kitchen skill, not budget, is the key to great food. This cookbook is a celebration of the many delicious meals available to those on even the most strict of budgets.
Cooking on a limited budget is not easy, and there are times when a tough week can turn eating into a chore. I hope the recipes and techniques in this book help make those times rare and tough choices a little more bearable.
Learning to cook has a powerfully positive effect.
My hope is that this book will empower people to become better, more conscious cooks, able to conjure deliciousness in any kitchen, anytime, anywhere. Good cooking alone can’t solve hunger in America, but it can make life happier—and that is worth every effort.
I created this book at the capstone project for my MA in Food Studies at New York University. After I posted a free PDF on my website, it went viral on Reddit, Tumblr, and elsewhere—almost 100,000 downloads in the ﬁrst few weeks! All the supportive feedback gave me the courage to launch a Kickstarter campaign to get printed copies Good and Cheap into the hands of people who don’t have computers or who wouldn’t otherwise see it.
About My Choices
These recipes are designed for the budget of people on SNAP (the US program that used to be called Food Stamps). The meals are generally healthy and use ingredients common to most low-income New York City neighborhoods. More than in most cookbooks, the recipes are ﬂexible and encourage substitution based on availability, taste, and price. I want you to tailor things to your taste. That is the joy of cooking!
My intent was to create satisfying food that doesn’t require you to supplement your meals with cheap carbohydrates to stave off hunger. I strove to create recipes that use money carefully, without being purely slavish to the bottom line. For example, many recipes use butter rather than oil. Butter is not cheap, but it creates ﬂavor, crunch, and richness in a way that cheap oils never can.
To encourage people to eat fruits and vegetables, these recipes do not feature large amounts of meat. Many recipe collections created for Americans use meat as the central feature of most meals. My recipes celebrate the vegetables rather than the meat.
A few recipes call for fancy kitchen equipment, but in my work with low-income families in New York, I have found that items like blenders, food processors, and electric mixers are not as rare as you might think. I did not, however, attempt to tackle the very real situation of people who have no kitchen, no equipment, and no space to prepare food. I simply cannot hope to do those issues justice in the bounds of this project.
A Note on Prices
The prices in this book come from two sources. The ﬁrst is data I collected from four grocery stores in Inwood, a relatively low-income neighborhood on the north tip of Manhattan, where I surveyed prices for the pantry items on the opposite page. For non-pantry items like speciﬁc spices and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, I consulted an online grocery store. Naturally, prices in other cities—even other neighborhoods—will vary, so please think of the numbers as a guide