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Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less Paperback – May 31, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Library Journal, 4/22/11
“Watson demonstrates realistic ways to cook inexpensively yet healthfully without living in the kitchen. Well written and full of useful ideas and tips…Verdict: With the twin concerns of health and food costs very much on consumers' minds lately, this is likely to be popular.”

Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“A unique addition to the genre, this sustainable take on everyday meal planning is both practical and contemporary.”
Portland Oregonian, 6/7/11
“Most of the recipes are simple and time-saving, offering lots of options for on-the-go people.”
Technorati.com, 6/27/11
“[A] strong introduction to organic cooking, offering recipes that will appeal to vegetarians, vegans, and people who just happen to love fruits and veggies. The money-saving and health benefits are added value.”
Tucson Citizen, 7/1/11
“Part cookbook and part shopping guide, Watson gives readers the tools they need to eat well and reduce their impact on the environment without spending top dollar.”

InfoDad.com, 7/7/11
“Most useful for its shopping information and its well-constructed once-a-month, seasonal shopping lists; these are what elevate it above standard advocacy books and above other cookbooks containing recipes similar to the ones here.”

Girlfriendbooks.com, 7/20/11

USA Weekend, 7/17/11
“Secret weapon.”

Grandparents.com, 8/2/11
"Try [these recipes], and you’ll see that organics can be an attainable and delicious option for your family.”

San Francisco Book Review, August 2011
“Watson's recipes are simple, her methods make sense, and readers are left wanting to put her ideas into action.”

Curled Up with a Good Book
“Armed with this book and Watson’s tips, strategies, and clear-eyed investigation, anyone with a sincere desire to eat well on a tight budget can easily and quickly transition to just such a healthy lifestyle…Wildly Affordable Organic is something of an epiphany, what with the detailed budget and expenses included and the vast array of possibilities. This one should be required reading in high school Life Skills classes and for every household.”

Midwest Book Review, August 2011
“This book tells how to eat healthy on three dollars a day and packs in tips for healthy organic food preparation on a budget, from menus and recipes to shopping and food options. Health and culinary collections as well as general and homeowner libraries will relish this approach.”

Prevention, October 2011
“The barriers to cooking organic—hefty price tags, hours over a hot stove—vanish, thanks to these quick, delicious meals you can make for less than $5 a day.”

WastedFood.com, 9/8/11
WAO carves out a neat niche in the crowded cookbook world. That’s partly because it is a smorgasbord: Part manifesto, part food-purchasing guide, part cookbook, part dispenser of kitchen savvy. I’m guessing anyone can find one, if not more, useful feature to the book.”

Energy Times, 10/4/11
“Supplies nearly 100 recipes that will let you eat well organically without breaking the bank.”
Internet Review of Books, 10/13/11
“Useful for somebody new to frugal cooking and healthy eating."

About the Author

Linda Watson, the founder of CookforGood.com, created her wildly affordable cooking plans after being inspired by a national challenge to eat on a food-stamp budget. She credits her background in project management helping her to not just survive but thrive on just a dollar a meal per person. Her 2013 SNAPcut Challenge used WAO recipes to cook organic and local even on the newly reduced food-stamp budget. Linda has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's had a wildly varied career so far, including developing a top-secret expert system, working with Tom Clancy and Douglas Adams on computer games, and riding the dot-com wave with eGarden.com. Today she teaches cooking through classes, books, and videos. Watson lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073821468X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738214689
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Linda Watson is a food evangelist who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, a veritable hotbed of sustainable agriculture with an inspiring ethnic mix. She started the Cook for Good project after being inspired by the national Food Stamp Challenge: living on a dollar a meal per person for a week. Her three-week experiment became a lifestyle, the website CookforGood.com, the book Wildly Affordable Organic, and now the Wildly Good Cook videos and teachers' training program.

Her ears perked up when she heard that Fifty Shades of Grey had outsold Harry Potter. Why not write a funny book that combines romance and recipes? One that celebrates sustainability and the fiery potential of women old enough to have hot flashes? The result is her new book Fifty Weeks of Green.

If you and Linda wound up sitting next to each other on plane, you might find out that:
* She really believes in the power of cooking a pot of beans every week
* She wants to help you live your dreams by using the skills you already have
* She's lost 20 pounds since becoming a cookbook writer, just by eating real food cooked from scratch
* She's battling ivy in her garden to establish an edible forest garden
* She's taken improv and stand-up comedy classes at Dirty South Improv Comedy Theater
* She's the inventor of the Rudeness Index, used in the language engine for Douglas Adams' computer game Starship Titanic
* She's an optivore and a flexitegan, not a food Nazi, who knows you don't have to do it all or all the time to make a difference

Linda might be on the way to teach a cooking class or give a talk on organic cooking, thrift, sustainability, or creating an amazing life.

Not on a plane? Find Linda online on her site CookforGood.com, which features free weekly recipes and food news. She also writes for The Huffington Post, the Organic Trade Association, GoodVeg, and DrGreene.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had hoped to find this book in a store so I could give it a once over before purchasing it. Alas, every single bookstore I went to did not have it in stock and my library's two copies were checked out!

Now that I've purchased my own copy, I'm a little disappointed in the book. On the whole, the author does accomplish her mission of proving your meals can be almost 100% organic on a very simple budget. However, the scope of her experiment is not entirely adaptable to everyone's lifestyle (though I don't think anyone ever promised it was). My chief complaint about her meal plans is that they are very monotonous overall. If you choose to follow one of her plans, you WILL streamline your kitchen work; you WILL have wholesome, nutritious food on the table; and you WILL be subsisting on beans and pasta for the rest of your natural-born life! Sigh... it's not exactly what I had in mind. [I was also very surprised that one's "breakfast" while following her plans is -- more often that not -- a mere slice of bread smeared with peanut butter. Homemade bread or not, friends, that's not a breakfast, in my book! I'd be hungry well before lunch!!!]

I love to cook and I'm an adventurous eater -- it's why the premise of the book grabbed my attention. I currently make out weekly menus for our household and shop accordingly and we do have a food budget. I already know how to use our freezer to boost that budget and save time, and it's no great revelation to me that processed foods are the enemy of any budget. We do limit our meat consumption and have also a few vegetarian meals each week, but we are not willing to go completely meatless.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently re-discovered this book. I purchased it initially in May of 2012, when I had a one-year-old and was still trying to figure out the balance of being a new mom, purchasing/making healthful and affordable (!) meals in a manner that is manageable with a one year old.

I was totally sold on this short book at the time. I read it quickly and that weekend I decided to implement it immediately. I was okay, at the time, with it being "flexitarian", though I feel that is a mis-leading description. This book is vegetarian (with the minimal use of dairy and eggs). In fact I would say 75% of the plan (and if not, at least half) are totally vegan.

Anyhow, I went out to the grocery store and went full force. This book relies heavily on the ideas behind Once a Month Cooking (freezer cooking, where you cook a large batch of many meals at one time and then eat them throughout the month). Naively I **knew** I would love it all and made huge batches of food.

And then I took my first taste test of the food and began the following few bites into utter disappointment. The best of it we found to be bland, the worst of it was completely tasteless to us. The whisk bread didn't work for me (although, being 2 years ago now I cannot remember what exactly didn't work). And I had huge portions of food we didn't like at all.

I immediately became disillusioned with the book totally, deleted it from my Kindle, and moved on. I read other books about eating healthfully in an affordable manner that is practical for busy families. My budget and our eating practices leveled out.
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Comment 51 of 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I live in the same city as the author, and have followed her work ever since she was featured in the local paper. Previously she had e-books which covered much of this same material. However, I was excited to see she was finally publishing. Reading about how the project evolved was fun -- it was not easy at first but she figured it all out and passes it on to us. She lists what brands to buy, and how to organize your cooking to minimize time in the kitchen.

If you are a vegetarian who likes beans, this is a great book. She has adaptations for vegans. If you want to learn to make no knead bread, this is a great book. My husband liked it the first time I made it and he is a meat eating man who has never liked my bread before. Even I did not like my bread before.

The book is hugely practical, and rest assured, you really can do it for $5/per day/per person. The author regularly shops the local stores to see what the current pricing is. You can do it for less if you go non organic.

In posts on her web site, Linda talks about buying all the equipment needed for cooking (basics: pans, knives, etc) for less than $100. I would like to see Amazon package the collection plus the book for persons starting out in their first home. Page 55 lists the essentials.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Dad once criticized a family friend's food spending by saying that a person in the US should be able to eat on a dollar a meal a day. That was in the 80's and I heard it frequently during my own college career. Thing is; we didn't eat on $3 a day at home and my dad could never really tell me *how* -- this book provides the how.

How #1 -- a go-to core of recipes that are made with basic ingredients. No longer do you need to buy bread and biscuit mix and pancake mix and cake mix plus the baking soda/powder for cookies and quick breads. Instead buy 5-10 lbs of great flour, fresh baking soda/powder, and learn to make all the rest with variations on the basics.

How #2 -- when you cook, make some for later. By doubling stews/bean/breads when you cook them, you have quick meals ready for busy nights or times when you want a fast dinner so you can cook something else.

How #3 -- eat more beans. As another reviewer pointed out, this book has a lot of bean recipes. It also has a lot of nuts, whole grains, and high-protein pasta. The author has a good reason for this: peanut butter and conventional beans cost about 2 cents per gram of protein, half the cost per gram of the cheapest, factory-farmed cuts of meat you can buy. That makes plant-based protein a great place to save money (even if you spend some of that savings on occasional meals of better meat down the line).

How #4 -- have a system. This is where the book truly shines. Starting with investing 30 minutes a day you can accrue quick meals in the freezer for busy nights; healthful breakfasts, lunches, and dinners which are nearly all organic; and save money over the conventional American diet.

This is a great book for anyone who is ready (or needs to) make more of what they eat, eat healthier, or save money on food. It is also a great companion book for food justice books such as the More-with-Less cookbook or Diet for a Small Planet.
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