By Travis Tyler
SXSW Press Team
You’re in a college town where almost every street is filled with delicious yet slightly fattening fast food. You tell yourself that you’ll head to the store to get that healthy, low carb, low fat dinner you know you should eat. Then you remember how good that McDonald’s burger is going to taste, how cheap it will be compared to actual dinner and how fast you’ll get it. So against your better judgement, you go for that burger. I mean why wouldn’t you? It’s cheap, fast and it tastes great. What if there was another alternative? Where the healthy food was really cheap, quick to make and most importantly, delicious. Well, New York Times best seller Leanne Brown developed a cookbook, “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day” that does just that.
Leanne Brown came up with the idea for this book while working on her grad school thesis project. After finishing up with grad school, she did what most grad school graduates do and went job searching. At the same time, she was working on trying to get her book out there and subsequently made a website where she posted a PDF version of her book for free. From there, a person linked one of her recipes to reddit and that same day over 20,000 people downloaded the PDF version of the book. With so many people downloading the PDF version of her book, her website crashed and she went on to start a Kickstarter seeking $10,000 in order to publish the book. Instead, she raised $144,000, produced the book in bulk and the rest is history.
Leanne originally designed this book to be a guide for those that don’t have the income to buy groceries in bulk. Mainly those who may live on welfare and use food stamps to get by. I looked at this book and saw a much bigger audience. How many people, more specifically, college students, also live on a budget where they can’t always rely on fast food to survive. How many people want to eat healthy but get tired of the bland, dry taste of plain brown rice and veggies with no flavor? This book has so many recipes and they all range from $1.50 to $10.
Attending this panel was a great way to find a healthier alternative to always eating fast food. Another great thing is that if you buy her book, she gives a free book to a person who may need it. However, (and I did ask,) if you are interested in looking into her book for simple healthy recipes, her PDF version of the book is still available for free download on her website. So even if you don’t have the cash to buy her book, it’s there for you to dive into and cook some of the most interesting recipes out there. Like Filipino Chicken Adobo ($10.40,) or Creamy Zucchini Fettuccini ($3.60.) Whatever your heart, or stomach, desires.