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The Working Class Foodies Cookbook

100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 per Person

Rebecca Lando - Author

Paperback | $20.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9781592407538 | 288 pages | 04 Jun 2013 | Gotham Trade Paperback | 8.26 x 5.23in
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A YouTube celebrity and food bloggers budget friendly cookbook shows how real people can have real food, real cheap

Rebecca Lando was sick of survival eating. The sight of boxed mac n cheese and ramen noodles curdled her appetite, but her meager paycheck severely limited her options. Creatively cooking led to whats now a popular weekly web series chronicling her adventures in making delicious cheap mealswith the best local and seasonal ingredients.

In The Working Class Foodies Cookbook, Rebeccas mission is to share tasty, affordable recipes and invaluable advice for the home cook, including how to stock a $40, $60, and $100 pantry; which organic items are okay to skip; and why making your own stock, ketchup, and even Pop-Tarts is good for your body and your wallet.

Many people think that the real food movement is only for the wealthy, but Rebeccas delicious recipesincluding red-skinned potatoes coated in chives and butter for under $2, sweet potato gnocchi for under $5, and a chicken roast for under $8show readers the way to eating better and more cheaply. Starving students, working parents, and fixed-income retirees alike will eat up Rebeccas message, because real people deserve real food, real cheap!
 
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Chapter One

My Quest to Eat Well on a Tight Budget

After my freshman year of college, I vowed never to touch processed food again. I moved to an apartment-style dorm with a kitchen in Union Square. My mom armed me with a heavy-duty Dutch oven and I spent a few dollars on a used skillet at a flea market. There was a Food Emporium supermarket across the park from my dorm, but I quickly learned that the produce sold there was no better than the mealy apples and oranges from my freshman dorm. I tried instant ramen for the first time and found that, even for 15¢ a package, I couldn’t bear to eat it. At the same time, it slowly dawned on me that on my Spartan working class budget, my fresh food options would be as dismal as the offerings on my old freshman meal plan. If I wanted to eat good food—fresh vegetables, whole grains, meat that wasn’t vacuum-packed in Styrofoam to achieve an unnaturally long shelf life—I would have to learn not only how to cook and how to budget but also how to approach both from a new, creative angle.

One morning, I stepped out of the apartment and saw that Union Square Park had become a tent city. Jostling through the crowds, I allowed the flow of foot traffic to sweep me under one of the tents and found myself surrounded by dusky red, tannic green, and hazy, yellow-freckled pink apples—varieties I never knew existed. I was in the heart of the Union Square Greenmarket. I fingered the $1.50 in change in my pocket and checked it against the acidic ache of hunger in my stomach. The apples smelled lightly of grass and honey, their skins dusty and unwaxed. I grabbed three apples, each from a bin labeled with an unfamiliar name, and approached the cashier. He weighed my apples without caring that one was a Mutsu and one a Pink Lady and one a Fuji. He gave me my apples and my change—75¢.

Everything, suddenly, had changed. I could get three different kinds of apples, each crisp and plump, for less than one mealy, tasteless Red Delicious at the supermarket or in the dining hall. High-quality ingredients were literally right outside my door—and well within my meager price range. I learned that carrots can be purple, that the four or five varieties of radish tasted as different as they looked, that the grass-fed beef was so evenly marbled because it wasn’t bulked up on extra fat at the end of its life, the way commercially raised meat is.

Buying my food directly from the farmers who grew it also changed my beginner cooking skills in the kitchen. I learned how much of the woody ribs on the black-soil Tuscan kale would have to be removed before steaming, and to save those ribs for making a better vegetable stock than could ever be found in a grocery store; I learned that red-skinned potatoes coated in butter and chives made a whole meal for a single dollar. But, in the end, I realized that instead of spending at least $20 a week on food, as I had originally budgeted, I could eat fourteen sparse but solid meals a week for about $8. Real local, seasonal, and where possible organic food was affordable, and it was delicious.

Being young, hungry, and broke didn’t end after college—and neither did the weekly farmers’ market haul. When my boyfriend, Kit, and I moved to an overpriced apartment on the overpriced Upper East Side, we gravitated to the small weekly farmers’ market a quarter mile away: Just like in college, the market’s produce, fish, and meat were cheaper and better quality than the food at the supermarket closer to our apartment. Too broke to afford to eat in any of the high-profile restaurants we followed obsessively online and in magazines, we did our best to re-create the dishes at home in our tiny galley kitchen. We attempted to chronicle our cooking on a food blog, but after a long day at work, the gym, walking the dog, cooking, eating, and doing the dishes, we were too tired to take good photos of the food or write eloquently about the meal. The food blog faltered and burned out almost as quickly as it started.

Out of the ashes of the food blog, though, rose Working Class Foodies. Kit had started to chronicle our farmers’ market forays and cooking on camera, and, with the help of Next New Networks (now the YouTube Next Lab) and, most of all, our friend and Next New producer Kathleen Grace, we turned our food philosophy-turned-lifestyle into a weekly series. With my brother, Max, and later our friend Chef Brendan McDermott as cohosts, we’ve shared our “young, hungry, and broke” guide to shopping, cooking, and eating with millions of people around the world, hopefully inspiring all of them—and now you—to be working class foodies too.


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