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The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 per Person

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A YouTube celebrity and food blogger’s 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 what’s now a popular weekly web series chronicling her advent A YouTube celebrity and food blogger’s 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 what’s now a popular weekly web series chronicling her adventures in making delicious cheap meals—with the best local and seasonal ingredients. In The Working Class Foodies’ Cookbook, Rebecca’s 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 Rebecca’s delicious recipes—including red-skinned potatoes coated in chives and butter for under $2, sweet potato gnocchi for under $5, and a chicken roast for under $8—show readers the way to eating better and more cheaply. Starving students, working parents, and fixed-income retirees alike will eat up Rebecca’s message, because real people deserve real food, real cheap!


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A YouTube celebrity and food blogger’s 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 what’s now a popular weekly web series chronicling her advent A YouTube celebrity and food blogger’s 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 what’s now a popular weekly web series chronicling her adventures in making delicious cheap meals—with the best local and seasonal ingredients. In The Working Class Foodies’ Cookbook, Rebecca’s 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 Rebecca’s delicious recipes—including red-skinned potatoes coated in chives and butter for under $2, sweet potato gnocchi for under $5, and a chicken roast for under $8—show readers the way to eating better and more cheaply. Starving students, working parents, and fixed-income retirees alike will eat up Rebecca’s message, because real people deserve real food, real cheap!

30 review for The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 per Person

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marie Sobalvarro

    I am not the intended audience for this book, and that has likely influenced my 3-star review - I'd guess that a new college graduate or struggling grad student would be the Ideal Reader. For me, I'd hoped that the book (reviewed positively in the WSJ) would expand/enhance my childhood experiences of food frugality (shazaam! 1 can of tomatoes, heavy cream and powdered milk and viola! tomato soup), but the recipes are more exotic ingredients than frugal and the overly earnest tone of the writer p I am not the intended audience for this book, and that has likely influenced my 3-star review - I'd guess that a new college graduate or struggling grad student would be the Ideal Reader. For me, I'd hoped that the book (reviewed positively in the WSJ) would expand/enhance my childhood experiences of food frugality (shazaam! 1 can of tomatoes, heavy cream and powdered milk and viola! tomato soup), but the recipes are more exotic ingredients than frugal and the overly earnest tone of the writer pained me. Yes, there's the frugal 'you can make your own bread, mayo, catsup' aspect, but isn't that a given? The author's definition of 'working class' (i.e., Maslov-like-but-not-quite, e.g. 'people who work for food, sustenance') also missed the mark for me. Many recipes only added to the disconnect -- lamb shanks? 00 flour? Did we really both grow up in Pittsburgh? At the same time? The inclusion of 'foodies' in the title should have been a deterrent, or at least a discouraging waypost. This is 'foodies' in the consumer 'live-to-eat and buy-a-lot' sense, akin to the Alison Pearlman article in Slate, "The food movement ran into trouble when it began insisting that good taste was also capital-G good: Food that is good for the environment, for animals, for workers, for community-building, and for health will also taste the best. The argument is seductive but specious—what tastes good to one person won’t taste good to another—and dangerous. In the final section of her book, Pearlman notes that food-focused publications have increasingly covered issues related to environmentalism, labor, and politics over the last decade—but only “as problems to be solved not by collective political action but by individual shopping choices—in other words, consumption." The first few chapters were dominated by buying decisions, and dismissive of the expansion of organic goods to large-scale retailers (but hmmm... if organic milk is good, it seems to follow that certified organic milk at Walmart is For the Even Greater Good). But no, for the author, as Walmart is motivated by profit. I started hoping that my friendly local farmer wasn't selling peaches below cost...if that keeps up, who knows if she'll be around next year? Regardless, I had a different perspective, believing that 'working class' meant 'use it up, make it do, or do without' versus kids in flannel drinking Rolling Rock. Earnest, possessing width yet not depth, coupled with both a focus on buying-as-identity, and a lack of frugality (I had believed that the intended audience would be someone finishing the night shift, returning home, and trying to put together lunches and dinners for the following day versus someone trying to incorporate organic arugula in luncheon fare), the book missed the mark for me. I'll recycle it as a gift for a new grad.....just because I'm crazy frugal like that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This book was the MOST informative cookbook that I've ever read-I'm not kidding. I was wandering through a bookstore the other day, wondering if it was possible to find a cookbook that would allow me to keep from spending a lot of money while still eating delicious meals-because, let's be honest, who REALLY wants to eat ramen noodles for four years of college-and at the end of a 20-minute search, I came away with this in my hands. In just my first week of using the book, it has more than paid fo This book was the MOST informative cookbook that I've ever read-I'm not kidding. I was wandering through a bookstore the other day, wondering if it was possible to find a cookbook that would allow me to keep from spending a lot of money while still eating delicious meals-because, let's be honest, who REALLY wants to eat ramen noodles for four years of college-and at the end of a 20-minute search, I came away with this in my hands. In just my first week of using the book, it has more than paid for its $20 price tag-and you can get it online for even less here? That's crazy! As a college student who loves cooking but doesn't have a lot to spend on money, this book was GREAT at giving me recipes that I could make for small amounts of money that were delicious at the same time. I made my own fresh pasta, tried my hand at breadmaking for the first time and saved a whole lot of money while learning great cooking techniques. Even to a picky eater, this book made things sound delicious and I was able to try recipes that I would probably have never thought to make before. This book is an invaluable resource to me. This book could be for anybody who likes to cook, or even just wants to learn a little bit more about cooking, while on a budget. Rebecca Lando has compiled a gem here that allows for people to do just that-embrace their creative side while still creating filling meals that will keep your mouth, your stomach and your wallet all happy. She even tells you how to stock a pantry, something that I've been trying to learn over the years by compiling my own list, but have never quite gotten down; the book was SO helpful with that!! I also LOVED how she listed the prices of each meal, as calculated per the total of their ingredients, as a total cost and on a per-serving level, something that I don't usually see in other cookbooks. It was great for me to have the numbers right in front of my face so that I could know when I could afford to splurge on a meal that was around $7 for a serving (shrimp and grits) and balance it with a side dish that was $1.06 per serving (roasted broccoli, I'm looking at you!) Let me reiterate that I would absolutely recommend this book to anybody who wants to cook but is struggling with food prices as the new centerpiece of your cookbook shelf.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I love some of the recipes in this book, especially those featuring creative and delicious ways to make use of seasonal vegetables. I was a bit disappointed, however, in many of the meat recipes herein. It seemed to me that in spite of the name, the author chose some of the most expensive cuts of meat (lamb shanks, brisket, pork tenderloin), and the recipes for these seemed a bit uninspired. When I selected the book at the library, I was hoping for something that would teach me to cook cheaper c I love some of the recipes in this book, especially those featuring creative and delicious ways to make use of seasonal vegetables. I was a bit disappointed, however, in many of the meat recipes herein. It seemed to me that in spite of the name, the author chose some of the most expensive cuts of meat (lamb shanks, brisket, pork tenderloin), and the recipes for these seemed a bit uninspired. When I selected the book at the library, I was hoping for something that would teach me to cook cheaper cuts of meat, like chuck steak, in ways that would be more exciting that what I already know. Or more sidebars on how to get multiple meals out of one large meat purchase, things of that nature. It wasn't nearly as frugal as I had hoped in that regard. On the other hand, I've now got some great ideas for vegetarian meals and vegetable sides, so it's definitely still a win in some ways.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This really is a bit of a hipster cookbook. Her definition of working class isn't the same as mine. While she offers a lot of interesting information at the beginning of the book, regarding CSAs and Co-ops, I didn't think her advice was that practical if you lived outside an urban or suburban area. And there isn't much guidance for navigating regular supermarkets. The veggie recipes shine here. They're really creative, and the salads were really unique. The meat and fish recipes weren't standouts This really is a bit of a hipster cookbook. Her definition of working class isn't the same as mine. While she offers a lot of interesting information at the beginning of the book, regarding CSAs and Co-ops, I didn't think her advice was that practical if you lived outside an urban or suburban area. And there isn't much guidance for navigating regular supermarkets. The veggie recipes shine here. They're really creative, and the salads were really unique. The meat and fish recipes weren't standouts, and many of them seemed pretty expensive. No nutritional info was given. While this was worth checking out for inspiration, it wouldn't make it into my heavy rotation because the recipes generally took more time to cook than I have on a weeknight and aren't incredibly family-friendly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elitza Nicolaou

    Based entirely on the premise of being able to spend half one's life going to various markets and cooking. Pretentious, privileged BS. Not impressed. Based entirely on the premise of being able to spend half one's life going to various markets and cooking. Pretentious, privileged BS. Not impressed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I tried so hard to get into this book, but it's really not a WORKING class cookbook. It's a I-feel-grown-up-because-I'm-a-college-student-and-need-to-cook-but-also-look-cool-for-my-friends cookbook. One quote about this whole schtick was "this is working class for the 'New Yorker' set." That's about right. I think some of the really mixed feelings about this book come from feeling like a "working class" cookbook might address needs that are common to the working class. I don't get the feeling Lan I tried so hard to get into this book, but it's really not a WORKING class cookbook. It's a I-feel-grown-up-because-I'm-a-college-student-and-need-to-cook-but-also-look-cool-for-my-friends cookbook. One quote about this whole schtick was "this is working class for the 'New Yorker' set." That's about right. I think some of the really mixed feelings about this book come from feeling like a "working class" cookbook might address needs that are common to the working class. I don't get the feeling Lando actually grew up working class; I think she felt like living on a budget as a college student was the same thing. Erm... not so much. I feel like Jamie Oliver's FOOD REVOLUTION (aka MINISTRY OF FOOD) is much more "working class" without all of the judgey "go ahead and buy tortillas if you really want to eat polysyllabic additives too" feeling. Another cookbook that's closer to the mark (and available free online) is Leanne Brown's GOOD AND CHEAP.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

    Written by a local Pittsburgh chef and Youtube personality, this book seemed promising--I've often been said to have champagne tastes of a craft beer budget. I loathe the term "Foodie" but it would describe me, as since 2014--I've been slowly going through Pittsburgh top 85 restaurants (from Pittsburgh Magazine going all the way back to 2008) and only have two left (Umi and Laurtec). But I've also purchased a townhouse and am working on "adulting", so my budget for this and expensive food is wanin Written by a local Pittsburgh chef and Youtube personality, this book seemed promising--I've often been said to have champagne tastes of a craft beer budget. I loathe the term "Foodie" but it would describe me, as since 2014--I've been slowly going through Pittsburgh top 85 restaurants (from Pittsburgh Magazine going all the way back to 2008) and only have two left (Umi and Laurtec). But I've also purchased a townhouse and am working on "adulting", so my budget for this and expensive food is waning--besides I'm 30 and need to learn to cook better. So, this book is a great middle ground--however it's a bit esoteric, and as such takes some time to actually track down some of the items (luckily the Strip District is close to me, if not terribly convenient).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Xiola

    Pretty basic stuff. Great for people just starting to cook for themselves and stock their kitchen.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Noel

    There is some good information in this book, but also some bad or mis-information. The author seems to promote farm-raised fish, but never mentions that farm-raised fish have higher fat content, many have antibiotics and who knows what else in them, higher PCB's and toxin levels as well as less Omega 3's than wild caught fish. As far as "cheap" goes, I had to laugh when I saw the pantry section. It says "How to Stock a Pantry for $60 to $80), but the very first item is olive oil with the price l There is some good information in this book, but also some bad or mis-information. The author seems to promote farm-raised fish, but never mentions that farm-raised fish have higher fat content, many have antibiotics and who knows what else in them, higher PCB's and toxin levels as well as less Omega 3's than wild caught fish. As far as "cheap" goes, I had to laugh when I saw the pantry section. It says "How to Stock a Pantry for $60 to $80), but the very first item is olive oil with the price listed as '$6.00 to $24.00'. Now, I know for a fact that organic extra virgin olive oil is very expensive. Taking that into account and looking at the rest of the pantry "staples", unless you're buying small quantities and for only one or two people, you are NOT going to stock your pantry and come in at $60-$80. There-in lies the rub in this book: this book seems to be written with single people, or couples at most in mind. A good portion of the recipes seem to serve 2-4. There are six in my family, so I will constantly be having to double or triple recipes. As far as the recipes themselves go, many are just basic, simple recipes that many of us have cooked for years. There's some pantry staples (making your own ketchup, mayonnaise, and so forth), basic sauces, roasted veggies and the like. There are, however, some lovely recipes in this book that call to be tried out such as "Green Beans and Hazelnuts with Tarragon-Cider Vinaigrette", "Pancetta, Squash and Shallot Risotto", "Jumble-Berry Pie" and "Sea Salt-Honey Caramels". This book would be better with more photos. Four pages of photos stuck in the middle of the book with pictures of less than 20 recipes is a big turn off for a lot of people when buying a cookbook. I would recommend this book for singles or couples that have enough money to play around with the pricier produce and meats. For families like mine, however, it probably won't be used a lot. I received a copy of this book from Gotham Books (via Penguin Group) for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    As someone who does not cook, I found this book really helpful in learning the basics such as: planning meals, making stock, and stocking a pantry. One aspect I like, is that a lot of the ingredients are reused throughout the book, meaning you don't have to go out and buy $30 worth of food just for one meal. This book is geared more towards those on the beginner end of the spectrum, and while the recipes may be seen as somewhat basic they allow for a lot creativity and exploration of flavors. So As someone who does not cook, I found this book really helpful in learning the basics such as: planning meals, making stock, and stocking a pantry. One aspect I like, is that a lot of the ingredients are reused throughout the book, meaning you don't have to go out and buy $30 worth of food just for one meal. This book is geared more towards those on the beginner end of the spectrum, and while the recipes may be seen as somewhat basic they allow for a lot creativity and exploration of flavors. So far I have made the veggie burgers and sweet potato fries. Both were delicious and enough to last a week.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    Many things that started on the internet have become books, and Working Class Foodie is arguably my favorite. My cooking and baking desires almost always outweigh my monetary restrictions, but cookbook is a gateway to cheap (and tasty!) eating and living. Lando includes not only recipes but cheap pantry basics and alternatives, which is awesome for those of us who’d like to be a bit more self-sustaining that Ritz Crackers and TopRamen want us to be. Definitely a must-buy for college students and Many things that started on the internet have become books, and Working Class Foodie is arguably my favorite. My cooking and baking desires almost always outweigh my monetary restrictions, but cookbook is a gateway to cheap (and tasty!) eating and living. Lando includes not only recipes but cheap pantry basics and alternatives, which is awesome for those of us who’d like to be a bit more self-sustaining that Ritz Crackers and TopRamen want us to be. Definitely a must-buy for college students and recent grads.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    It's a cookbook, so the majority was just recipes - which I read almost all of the descriptions and special technique instructions - so I glossed through most of it once Lando jumped from prose about how to shop / cook / experiment to the recipes. I think I'm going to have to buy this one and add it to my hoard of cookbooks. It's a cookbook, so the majority was just recipes - which I read almost all of the descriptions and special technique instructions - so I glossed through most of it once Lando jumped from prose about how to shop / cook / experiment to the recipes. I think I'm going to have to buy this one and add it to my hoard of cookbooks.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This book lit a fire in me. I have been transitioning to a cleaner more pure way of eating and living and this book provided very simple ways of cooking. It is very user friendly and not at all intimidating. I can't wait to make my very first loaf of bread! :-) This book lit a fire in me. I have been transitioning to a cleaner more pure way of eating and living and this book provided very simple ways of cooking. It is very user friendly and not at all intimidating. I can't wait to make my very first loaf of bread! :-)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deyara

    Some of it was pretty good - I hadnt thought of turning leftover fresh herbs into herb butter or pesto (I tend to over-pick a lot!) and the roasted broccoli was good. Some of it was a bit exotic though, and while there were recipes that could be made vegan, a lot could not.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barb Terpstra

    I actually didn't get all the way through this book, but I really liked the concept of it and the recipes looked good. I may borrow it from my local library again some day. I actually didn't get all the way through this book, but I really liked the concept of it and the recipes looked good. I may borrow it from my local library again some day.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Solid recipes for good food on a budget.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    One of these days I'm going to make my own moules marinières. Thanks to this cookbook, now I have a real recipe to use! One of these days I'm going to make my own moules marinières. Thanks to this cookbook, now I have a real recipe to use!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beka

    Though I like the concept, I really wish that there were more pictures, and that they were with the corresponding recipes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    Okay. Her two main tips are make your own broth and go to farmer's markets, which aren't terribly new concepts. But I did like her writing style and the recipe for broth is simply and very tasty. Okay. Her two main tips are make your own broth and go to farmer's markets, which aren't terribly new concepts. But I did like her writing style and the recipe for broth is simply and very tasty.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Not many recipes I myself cared to try in this one. I only found a few out of the whole book... Just a 'personality' thing, I'm sure. Others might find these recipes 'jive' with them more... Not many recipes I myself cared to try in this one. I only found a few out of the whole book... Just a 'personality' thing, I'm sure. Others might find these recipes 'jive' with them more...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Les

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rico

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annmarie Wise

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pinky

  25. 5 out of 5

    Doan

  26. 4 out of 5

    HeatherMarie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christene Smith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bertacini

  29. 5 out of 5

    George

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patrick DeCastro

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