Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cookbook Friday: Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown (2015) POCKET REVIEW

I read a lot of cookbooks. I used to buy a lot of cookbooks, but then I mostly read them once or twice and then left them sitting on my shelf unused until, after a decent period of time, I donated them to the local op shop, so I put myself on a cookbook ban for a while. Then I discovered that my local library has an excellent cookbook selection and my cookbook fetish has continued unchecked every since!

I think a full review of a cookbook can only be accurate when a few of the recipes have been been tested, which I don't do unless a recipe really grabs me. Instead, here I give you my pocket cookbook reviews: basically, a description of the feelings invoked by the cookbook when I read it. I have a lot of opinions of a lot of cookbooks, so I can see this becoming a regular feature...

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

Having been a student for much of my life (a lot more than half of it!) I am a big fan cookbooks that investigate how to make healthy food cheaply, so when I saw this on Netgalley, I requested it immediately. On reading it, I realised that it is a printed version of a PDF that Leanne Brown, a food studies scholar, developed for people on low incomes (particularly those on SNAP and food stamps). Leanne's website is here and it sounds like she's done a lot of good - she did a kickstarter to fund the printing of this book and was able to distribute it to low-income families in America and Canada and the PDF is available for free. 

Now, about the cookbook itself. Basically, it does what it says on the cover - delivers good and cheap recipes. As well as the standard tips to save money (use your freezer, buy food that can be used for multiple meals to reduce food wastage), Brown's recipes work well together, and she highlights when leftovers can be used for other recipes (as a carboholic, I am familiar with her technique of "try this on toast" and I love it!). She plays around with flavours well (for example the eight different versions of oatmeal) and uses ingredients cleverly (like the corn soup which makes a broth from the corn cobs). I have only tried the one recipe - the chocolate zucchini breakfast muffins. They were delicious and I ate them every day for breakfast for a fortnight. I also liked that this book was very vegetable focused, which is healthy (for the planet and for the individuals eating the veggies). I have definitely scheduled some good and cheap cooking sessions in the future!

Good and Cheap is not as sophisticated as Sandra Reynolds' The $120 Food Challenge or Jamie Oliver's Save with Jamie but it delivers good, cheap and tasty food for those on a budget. I would recommend the PDF to anyone who needs to budget their food money and the printed book as a great gift for students who have just moved out of home.

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