Is it possible to feed yourself with $4 a day? If you asked us, we'd say sure, so long as we could stick to a steady menu of rice and beans. But, Leanne Brown, a food studies scholar and Canada native, says it's possible to eat — and eat well — on a seriously tight budget.
Armed with a mission to help Americans that depend on governmental assistance cook nutritious meals without going broke, Brown created Good and Cheap, a free online cookbook that features meals with easily accessible and inexpensive ingredients.
The downloadable PDF includes recipes for everything from chana masala to cauliflower tacos and a savory summer cobbler, and is a great resource for those who are strapped for cash and don't want to rely on prepackaged meals. Most of the recipes can be prepared in just minutes using pantry staples like canned vegetables, long-grain rice, and chickpeas. Readers can also choose to buy a tangible copy of the 179-page book for $20; there's an option to spend $100 and have the book shipped to 10 people that don't have computer or Internet access.
"It bothered me that so many ideas for fixing the food system leave out the poor: It seemed like they didn't have a voice in the food movement," she wrote on the Kickstarter page for her book, which raised 15 times the amount it needed before the July deadline. "I wanted to create a resource that would promote the joy of cooking and show just how delicious and inspiring a cheap meal can be if you cook it yourself."
But, even if you don't need to stretch your paycheck as far as possible, Good and Cheap is filled with smart ideas, like creating tacos out of leftover side dishes like potatoes or roasted cauliflower. There's even a recipe for flour tortillas made from six ingredients you definitely have sitting in your kitchen. Click here to check out the PDF version, and head over to the author's website to order a printed copy. To put it simply: the book is good. And cheap.