Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The Free, Beautiful $4/Day SNAP Cookbook

woooLeanne Brown is a food studies student at NYU who's written a cookbook designed for people on the $4 per day SNAP budget, with great-looking meals that can be made from non-fancy and easily available ingredients. She's posted it online for free reading and download, if you'd like to take a look; she's also running a Kickstarter to produce print copies for donation and cheap sale, and she's now surpassed her goal three times over on the schema of "buy one book for $25 and I'll donate a free copy to someone who needs it."

If you know a nonprofit organization that would benefit from receiving these books, they can apply here. I have read through the whole thing in the interest of *~*responsible blogging*~* and also me never not having to look at food pictures, and let me say, the "Things on Toast" section is really my kind of animal. [Good and Cheap]

7 Comments / Post A Comment

Emily Scott Robinson@facebook

This is a lovely cookbook! I love *things on toast.* Went through all the recipes and they're wonderful. But as a former food stamps recipient and a current social worker with a large caseload of SNAP recipients, I kind of laughed at this. All of these recipes depend on having a stocked kitchen and access to good produce and affordable bulk goods, like beans and grains. Maybe it works for SNAP recipients in urban areas (*maybe?*), but in rural areas and large food deserts, nobody can cook like this on $4/day. Also, food prep time, work schedules, families and children, cultural food preferences... lots to take into account when looking at what SNAP recipients are likely to cook. I like this cookbook, but I think it's a joke to call it a Food Stamp cookbook.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Emily Scott Robinson@facebook I do like the suggestions at the beginning, to try setting aside some funds for a staple product every week. Some things seem a little out of reach (I may love fresh-ground pepper, but I'm guessing that no one who needs to eat on $4 a day and doesn't already own a peppermill will just up and buy one unless they can get a really good deal on one, because I'm assuming that that money could be needed on something a bit more important) but others make sense (like avoiding buying drinks other than milk, and trying to have eggs on hand as often as possible.)

I know a bit about staying on budget, but I don't personally know what it's like to be on food stamps, so I might not be able to speak to how viable this cookbook would be as a guide.

Question for you: Would people living in rural areas have more access to local produce? Geographically, they'd be closer, but I don't know about accessibility.


She does briefly address the issue of food deserts in the introduction and on the Kickstarter page:

"Ultimately, this cookbook doesn’t address those areas; instead, I based it on low-income neighborhoods in New York, particularly Inwood (where I researched most of the pricing information) and Bushwick (where I lead grocery store tours for clients of the local WIC center). Again, quoting from the book’s revised introduction: 'The meals ... use ingredients common to most low-income New York City neighborhoods. ... Naturally, prices in other cities—even other neighborhoods—will vary, so please think of the numbers as a guideline.'

I won’t dispute that food deserts are a significant problem in poor areas of America, but they’re unfortunately outside the scope of this cookbook."

Basing the information off two neighborhoods in NYC necessarily limits how applicable it is to other places. It's an unfortunate limitation, but I still think the book has some value. The best "food stamp cookbook" would be the one tailor-made for an individual or family based on their specific situation, and though that's clearly impossible to mass-produce, this book which can be mass-produced at least gives a place to start.


@Emily Scott Robinson@facebook
I mean caramelized onions as a snack food, right?

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Bunburying what would be great is if there were a way to tailor shopping lists geographically - it's not as specific as a recipe book, but maybe just as useful. If the cost and accessibility of certain foods could be analyzed by area (say, by county), it might give citizens a better idea of which recipes will cost them less.


so special .@v

Nancy Wall

Thank you. I know this cookbook will be a lifesaver.

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