Fantastic cookbook of extremely inexpensive meals



That’s about $4 per day, for three meals, for a family, though it’s less than most of us spend by ourselves for a morning coffee.

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I think a large at Tim Hortons is maybe $2. Where are you people buying coffee?


There is this little coffee shop by where I work that sells coffees for that much. I think It’s called Starbucks or something.


Let’s just say it comes in a little blue cup.

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By “coffee”, they mean the popular coffee-flavored milkshakes at Starbucks.

And food stamps aren’t $4 per day per family. It’s that they work out to about $4 per day per person.

The average household receiving SNAP benefits receives about $9 per day ($275/month). Households with children receive about $13.75 per day ($413/month).

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SNAP stands for SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program. If a family receives SNAP and has other income, it is expected that spend part of their income on food also. If a family of four has no income and qualify, they will receive $632 in SNAP benefits, which is $21 a day. Most people on SNAP do have income, that’s why averages are much lower.


According to the article, it’s an average $4/day/family not per individual.

[quote]The 40 million people in families that receive food stamps—technically, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—get an average $133 per month for food.

That’s about $4 per day, for three meals, for a family, though it’s less than most of us spend by ourselves for a morning coffee.[/quote]


no, it doesn’t say that; read it more carefully. it’s confusingly written, either out of incompetence or dishonesty.

the chart from which the $4/day/individual fact is derived can be found here:

Looks like the article might be wrong then unless the end of 2009 Recovery Act was particularly devastating.

the article is wrong. my family was on food stamps way before 2009; we weren’t getting $30/week.

i really dislike it when people blatantly lie in order to support a cause, especially when it’s a cause i agree with.

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The site mentions that the book started as a free pdf, which is worth repeating here. I’m not poor now, but when I have been short of money or unemployed in the past I find one of the most important things is to keep a varied and interesting diet that gives you everything you need. When I didn’t, I got depressed pretty fast and had less chance of getting out of the slump. One of the things I enjoyed most when I had the time was to learn more about the foods I could find growing in my area. A lot of the time they were plentiful and untouched, as other people didn’t have the knowledge or interest necessary to take advantage of them. Here in Germany I’ve been discovering uses for different weeds (dandelion, nettle, wood sorrel, Hamburg parsley etc.), which often adds a free and different taste to meals, or can even make up the vegetable part of the meal. People don’t seem to pick a lot of blackberries in my area, so I’ve been visiting a nearby vacant lot quite a bit recently where I’ve picked about 10kg of blackberries in the last week and am waiting for a harvest of damsons and apples in the next week. It helps if you have a freezer, of course, or if you have a lot of seasonal foods that are available at different times of the year. If not, it’s still good to have something to look forward to and especially if you are un/underemployed, it gives you a sense of purpose to be finding and cooking your own food.

Another thing I find helpful is to find the joints of meat that are a bit cheaper. Where I am this seems to be offal and meat on the bone, which can make a great stew or curry. Chicken breasts may be easy to cook, but they’re kind of boring and the limbs are much better in stews, which stretch out the meat a lot more. Chop the bones into chunks to allow the marrow to get into the stew, and you get even more flavour. Most people won’t feel any ill effects if they reduce their meat intake quite a bit anyway, so having good meat rarely is probably much better than eating cheap meat every day. If you use this book and follow a few other principles, you can prove that spending less doesn’t have to involve eating terrible food.


You know, if I avoid fast food - and I almost always do - I probably spend about that much on groceries. I just made a big pot of chili with chorizo, probably cost about ten bucks and good for a bunch of lunches. A really good salad isn’t more than a buck if you chop your own greens. The only thing that ruins it is when I’m too lazy to pack my lunch and there’s a great little diner next door.


I really hate the “Can you get enough food to survive for $x a day?” meme.

It is a set-up for stupid challenges that has mayors and other notables walking through Safeway planning their meals $1.33 at a time. (And doing stupid things like buying a BBQ chicken and pesto sauce.)

Instead of thinking $4/day, think $120 a month. You buy big sacks of oatmeal, rice and beans, bags of carrots, onions, and potatoes, powdered milk, day-old bread, dented cans, and marked-down meat.

YEAH, I KNOW: Food deserts, overpriced bodegas, poor transportation, little Johnny is allergic to everything but alpaca meat and quinoa. Go ahead, mount the goalposts on motorized carts and go for a drive.


Good start, but too many folks on SNAP not only have limited funds available for feeding themselves, they also tend to have very little time to cook (the two-hour bus ride to work and childcare doesn’t leave a lot of spare time), and quite often don’t have a full kitchen (e.g. a hotplate and no fridge).

A quick-and-dirty short course on which fast-prep ingredients will give you the best nutrition value might be a good companion book, for those who aren’t in a position to benefit from a cookbook with time-intensive recipes that assume a refrigerator, a stove, and a nearby grocery store.


I could get behind an initiative to provide a free crock pot for every SNAP recipient.


And one of those $40 basic kitchen sets. Rather cheap pans and plastic utensils, but that’s enough to prepare food.

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but do we really want to hear the conservatives bang on about the poor black people getting their free socialist obamapots?

actually, yeah, that would be pretty funny.


I bought this book in the 70s called The Food Stamp Gourmet. It was illustrated by Gilbert Shelton & other UG artists, & was written by William Brown, who went on to be a Time-Life author. Most of the recipes are versions of French cuisine, using butter & wine. I guess it shows you could buy more with a dollar back in the 60s.


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