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Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for tight budgets. It's free online—and the print version was Kickstarter's #1 cookbook ever. Read more

New York, NY Cookbooks
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This project was successfully funded on July 13, 2014.

Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for tight budgets. It's free online—and the print version was Kickstarter's #1 cookbook ever.

New York, NY Cookbooks
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About this project

This Kickstarter campaign is now over — thanks to everyone for such tremendous support! To download a free PDFbuy print copies, or anything else, please visit www.leannebrown.ca/cookbooks.

This page is now frozen until the end of time, but to see what the page looked like while the Kickstarter campaign was still active, read on!

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Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for tight budgets. It's free online, but let's get it out to more people by funding a print run.

You can already download a PDF for free on my website at www.leannebrown.ca/cookbooks. Thanks to the support of a bunch of awesome strangers on Reddit, on Tumblr, and elsewhere, it's been amazingly popular — over 200,000 people have downloaded the draft version!

But I want your help to fund printed copies so that we can get Good and Cheap into the hands of people who don't have computers or who wouldn't otherwise see it. The expensive part of printing books is the initial set-up; the cost of each additional copy is fairly low. The more books you buy, the more I can donate or sell at a massive discount to organizations that support low-income families on SNAP (the modern name for Food Stamps).

What's the book like?

Just download a free PDF and take a look for yourself! But since you asked, it's 132 pages (so far!) of beautifully designed and photographed recipes that fit into a $4/day budget — without seeming like it. This is good food that happens to be inexpensive.

If you downloaded the book when it first when viral, grab a new copy: the earlier version was just a draft, but the final version of Good and Cheap has been edited and redesigned throughout.

What's your plan?

I want this book to be as accessible as possible. That's why I've made it free online, and nearly 200,000 downloads to date proves there is both a willing audience and a need.

My dream is that everyone who could benefit from this book would be able to get a copy, at whatever price they can afford. For many, that means keeping it free — even in printed form.

Because printed books cost money, a scheme was born: $25 buys one copy for you and a second copy that I'll donate to someone who needs it.

Once I reach my goal, I'll approach organizations to figure out who to entrust with getting these books into the hands of low-income families and individuals. I hope to be able to work with a variety of organizations for the greatest reach.

Where'd this come from?

I created this cookbook as the capstone project for my master's degree in Food Studies at NYU. I wanted to make something that not only summed up the work I had done during my studies, but also had a useful life outside of academia.

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. 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.

Even though Food Stamps help millions of people across the United States every day, benefits were reduced in November despite rising food prices. It's more important than ever to make the most of what you have with savvy shopping techniques and skillful cooking. That's Good and Cheap.

Stretch goals!

If we reach $145,000:

  • TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 6,300+ donated copies so far). And I will do five cartwheels.

If we reach $143,210 (GOOOOOOOOAL!):

  • I will make good and (relatively) cheap celebratory sangria and share the recipe with all of you!

If we reach $142,500 (STAGGERING!):

  • TWENTY-SIX THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 6,200+ donated copies so far). And I will watch Beverly Hills Cop III.

If we reach $140,000 (COWABUNGA!):

  • TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 6,100+ donated copies so far). And I will make smiley-face pancakes!

If we reach $135,000 (GREAT SCOTT!):

  • TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 5,900+ donated copies so far). And I will jump for joy!

If we reach $130,000 (WHAT THE WHAT???!):

  • TWENTY-THREE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 5,700+ donated copies so far).

If we reach $125,000 (INCONCEIVABLE!):

  • TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 5,500+ donated copies so far).

If we reach $120,000 (BANANAS!):

  • TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 5,300+ donated copies so far).

If we reach $115,000 (!!!):

  • TWENTY THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 5,100+ donated copies so far).   

If we reach $110,000 (STUNNING!):

  • NINETEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 4,900+ donated copies so far).  

If we reach $105,000 (TRANSCENDENT!):

  • EIGHTEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 4,700+ donated copies so far). 

If we reach $100,000 (UNREAL!):

  • SEVENTEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 4,400+ donated copies so far).

If we reach $95,000 (GADZOOKS!):

  • SIXTEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 4,200+ donated copies so far).  

If we reach $90,000 (CRAZY!):

  • FIFTEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 4,000+ donated copies so far). 

If we reach $85,000 (SPECTACULAR!):

  • FOURTEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 3,800+ donated copies so far). 

If we reach $80,000 (MAGNIFICENT!):

  • THIRTEEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 3,600+ donated copies so far).  

If we reach $75,000 (UNBELIEVABLE!):

  • TWELVE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the 3,400+ donated copies so far). 

If we reach $70,000 (TERRIFIC!):

  • ELEVEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $65,000 (ZOUNDS!):

  • TEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $60,000 (MIND-BLOWING!):

  • NINE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $55,000 (ASTOUNDING!):

  • EIGHT THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $50,000 (INCREDIBLE!):

  • SEVEN THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $45,000 (WOW!):

  • SIX THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $40,000 (RUNNING OUT OF HYPERBOLE!):

  • FIVE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $35,000 (AMAZING!):

  • FOUR THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL available to non-profits at $4 apiece, plus shipping (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $30,000 (DONE LIKE DINNER!):

  • Let's keep doing this! I'll print 1,000 more copies of Good and Cheap and offer them to worthwhile organizations at $4 per copy (plus cheap media-mail shipping). That's THREE THOUSAND COPIES TOTAL (in addition to the donated copies so far).

If we reach $25,000 (BAM! POW! BIFF!):

  • That last one happened so quickly, I haven't had time to think up a new stretch goal, so let's do the last one again! I'll print 1,000 more copies of Good and Cheap and offer them to worthwhile organizations at $4 per copy (plus cheap media-mail shipping).

If we reach $20,000 (AND WE DID!):

  • I'll print 1,000 more copies of Good and Cheap and offer them to worthwhile organizations at $4 per copy (plus cheap media-mail shipping). I've already spoken casually to a couple of organizations that think they can make that plan work. I'll let others know how to get in touch soon.

If we reach $15,000 (ACHIEVED!):

  • On behalf of all of you, I will donate another 250 copies of Good and Cheap to worthwhile organizations. That's on top of the copies that new backers will be donating on the way to $15,000!
  • I will open up 4 more "sponsor a recipe" rewards at $100 each (total 20). Don't worry — people who contribute to the project in the meantime will be able to upgrade to one of those open spots if they want to.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eatgoodandcheap

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/leelb

Video by Claire Dub. Thanks, Claire!

Risks and challenges

The great news is that the book is 99% complete — except for adding any new recipes and thank-you credits as a result of this campaign, it's ready to print!

To distribute the donated copies, I'll approach organizations in NYC (and maybe elsewhere) that work with low-income families. I'll be selective with the organizations I choose to ensure that the books go to people who really need them. However, since I don't know yet how many copies I'll be able to donate, I can't start that process until the Kickstarter campaign is over.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • Yes! And thanks SO MUCH. Funding the project guarantees that it can proceed (roughly breaking even), but the economics become /much/ more favorable if we can print more copies. For example, it’s about 33% cheaper per book to print 2,000 copies than 1,000 copies. That doesn’t just bring my costs down; it also helps me sell cheap copies in bulk to non-profits (which, in turn, drives up the print run, and then brings the per-copy cost down even further). As you can see, greater volume produces a nice feedback cycle, so please keep contributing! For more information, click "Updates" at the top of the page and read update #2.

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  • Heck yes! Just send me a message and I will make it so.

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  • Yep! Just pick the reward you want, but change the pledge amount to a multiple of the standard amount. So if you want to do the “give one, get one” option ($25) twice, change the pledge to $50 and you’ll be set! Please send me a message through Kickstarter so that I know what you want. If you’re outside the US, you only need to pay the extra shipping charge once.

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  • I'll ship one copy to you (unless you pledge a multiple of the amount -- see question above). For any other copies you choose to donate, I'll collect all the donated copies and give them to worthy organizations all at once. To be clear, this means you can't use the "give one" copy for your own friends or family members.

    This model lets me make the money go further by saving on shipping — that way, I can print many more books than if I shipped all copies out to backers. It also ensures that the organizations that receive books get a large number of copies that can make a real impact.

    Sorry: a few people have been confused by the current wording, but Kickstarter doesn't let you edit reward descriptions after launch.

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  • I addressed this in a new section at the front of the book, after it came up on Reddit and Tumblr: "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."

    More to the point, the kitchen equipment is a /convenience/, but whenever possible, I explain how to prepare the dish without that stuff. (If you find a page where I don’t (besides smoothies), please let me know, and I’ll fix it before the book goes to press!)

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  • This one came up on Reddit as well — someone pointed out that many low-income neighborhoods are considered “food deserts,” devoid of real grocery stores, where even a fresh tomato is hard to come by. This can be true both in inner cities and remote rural areas, and I studied the problem extensively during my master’s degree.

    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.

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  • Just send me a message at http://www.leannebrown.ca/contact! I'd love to hear from you.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    763 backers

    GET CREDIT: The free PDF + an optional thank-you credit in the book (any name, within the bounds of good taste!).

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    994 backers

    GET ONE: 1 printed copy shipped to you + an optional thank-you credit.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    1,917 backers

    GET ONE, GIVE ONE: 1 printed copy shipped to you + 1 copy donated to someone who needs it + an optional thank-you credit.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $29 or more

    1,380 backers

    GET ONE, GIVE TWO: 1 printed copy shipped to you + 2 copies donated to people who need them + an optional thank-you credit.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    20 backers All gone!

    GET A RECIPE, GIVE A RECIPE: A recipe designed by me, to your tastes, added to every copy of Good and Cheap + 1 printed copy shipped to you + 2 copies donated to people who need them + an optional thank-you credit.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    127 backers

    GET ONE, GIVE TEN!!!: 1 printed copy shipped to you + 10 copies donated to people who need them + an optional thank-you credit.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    6 backers

    GET A LESSON: a private cooking lesson in the NYC area + 1 printed copy shipped to you + 2 copies donated to people who need them + an optional thank-you credit.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    GET A FOOD ADVENTURE: The GET ONE, GIVE TEN reward, plus: Jim Leff, author, founder of chowhound.com, and tasty-food-finding savant, will whisk you (one person only) away on a private whirlwind tour of obscure but hyper-delicious eateries, with Leanne joining as well! Jim drives and pays, and will happily indulge your requests, but tour is limited to within 75 miles of Times Square, and timing is subject to mutual availability.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (39 days)