from the book

Literally I took this out of the 1st edition and added new material

A very few of my favorite recipes

Meals that are really cheap incorporate inexpensive ingredients with what you might usually have on hand such as onions, tomatoes, spinach and leftover chicken, fish, or what have you. It’s wise to buy what’s local and in season. You pay a premium for strawberries in December, but they start to get less expensive around June. The same applies to tomatoes.

Noodles are cheap and filling, but not particularly healthy. It’s what you put with them that can create a well-balanced meal. If you quickly (don’t overcook) boil up some ramen and add a generous handful of kale or spinach, basil or virtually any other herb, broccoli, onion, plus a bit of leftover protein or tofu, and seasoning of your choice (I don’t use the salty MSG in the packet), you have a quick, filling, and mostly healthy meal. If your ingredients cook quickly, put them raw into a big soup bowl before you add the cooked noodles and broth. If the ingredient, such as kale, needs to cook, put it in the boiling water the same time as the noodles or even before the water boils.


My cousin’s latkes are famous in the family. I learned an important trick from her. Grate the potatoes onto a clean dishtowel then wring it out over the sink. Extracting the liquid makes the potato cook up more crisply. Mix in egg, or onion, or what ever you like (or nothing at all). Get a heavy pan hot with canola oil and a tiny bit of butter. When the butter browns, the pan is ready. Form smallish pancakes with your hands and put them in the pan, flattening with a pancake turner. Turn once when edges brown. Season with salt and pepper and whatever else you like. Serve hot with applesauce, sour cream, or my favorite, plain yogurt on top. This goes well with just about anything or is a meal in itself with a generous salad.

It is my passionate belief that wasting food is a sin. Make a point of using everything you buy and eating everything you cook. Teach your family members (and yourself), to take what you will eat and to eat everything you take. In restaurants, my husband and I often share an entrée. Sometimes there’s still some left over for the to-go box.


Food banks are for many people, not just the completely down and out. If you are of modest means but feel guilty taking free food, volunteer there once a week to assuage your guilt. I think of food banks as a way of recycling an abundant harvest, and also as a redistribution of resources. Once again, I believe that wasting food is a sin!

The food-stamp program provides a meager supplement to poor people. In Washington State it’s called the ‘supplemental nutrition assistance program’ (SNAP) and those who qualify are issued an Electronic Benefits Transfer, which is used like a debit card. It is difficult to qualify. Not only must you be poor but also good at filling out paperwork!

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