By Noah Kaufman
Updated June 05, 2014

New York University food studies student Leanne Brown is on a mission to show how good food can be for as little as $4. To do that, she launched a Kickstarter campaign to transform her digital Good and Cheap cookbook into a hard copy sold via a model similar to the one used by TOMS. For every one purchased, she will donate another to an organization that can put the book directly into the hands of a SNAP (food stamps) recipient. “The best way to stretch a dollar is to just know how to cook,” says Brown. In addition to coming in at less than $4 a serving, recipes like the ones we published earlier use ingredients Brown believes can and should be in every pantry, like chickpeas or grits. She hopes to raise $10,000, and within the first four hours she had already topped $2,000. Even though it seems like almost everyone has access to a computer, Brown notes that it’s the people who don’t who need this book most of all. She believes that if she can prove to people that they can afford to cook, kitchens can reclaim the importance she feels they have lost. “Cooking isn’t respected anymore. It’s not taught in schools, people grow up not knowing how to do it at all. But the enjoyment I get and everyone can get from actually cooking is so massive.” She wants to make that enjoyment accessible to everyone, even those who think it’s an unattainable luxury.

If you snag the book, she suggests you check out her “Things on Toast” chapter. “That section is my pride and joy. Sautéed vegetables on buttery toast, to me, are just pure delight.”