"Real food can be cheaper than junk food" – Mark Bittman, The New York Times
The press says WOW about Wildly Affordable Organic!
Featured in the 2014 Military Finance Guide, the AARP Magazine, Health magazine, and Today's Dietitian. Broadcast on Illinois Public Media radio and the Organic View radio show! On the Long List for the Southern Independent Booksellers Awards and was a finalist for the 2012 Health Innovation Challenge. One of two cookbooks on the Sierra Club's Green Gift list for 2012.
Here I am on My Carolina Today with my CSA box, talking about how healthy, affordable food can help you get and stay slim! The romance book I mention, Fifty Weeks of Green, is now available online and in fine bookstores everywhere.
Just two years after famous Minimalist cook and columnist Mark Bittman mentioned CookforGood.com in his blog and said my message was “worthy of a cookbook,” Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy and Save the Planet – All on $5 a Day or Less hit the stores in June 2011 to rave reviews:
"The barriers to cooking organic—hefty price tags, hours over a stove—vanish" – Prevention Magazine
A Top-10 Cookbook of 2011—"simply fascinating stuff" - January Magazine
I'd recommend this book both to nutrition professionals and anyone looking to simplify, save money, shrink their carbon footprint, and incorporate more plant foods in delicious ways. – Today's Dietitian
"Home economics goes wild(ly) affordable ... and there's nothing old-fashioned about it." - Huffington Post
WAO is "a unique addition to the genre" and "both practical and contemporary" – Kirkus Reviews, "the world's toughest book critics”
"The food in this book looks truly delicious....Sign me up." Jordan Kessler, Natural Resources Defense Council.
“A step-by-step guide to every aspect of eating better” – Grandparents.com
"Part self-help guide and part cookbook” – San Francisco Book Review
"Sort of a manifesto + cookbook" – American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom, @WastedFood
“Eat healthful, nutritious food without spending more than $1 per meal” – The Oregonian, OregonLive.com
"Well written and full of useful ideas and tips" – Xpress Reviews on LibraryJournal.com
It's selling like wildfire!
Wildly Affordable Organic has been seen in the top 10 on the list of organic cookbooks sold on Amazon.com for 25 months (more than two years!). It was the 3rd best-selling cookbook in 2011 at my favorite bookstore, Quail Ridge Books, even though it came out in June. Midwest Book Review gave my cookbook its highest rating (five out of five stars), Progressive Radio Network show It's All About Food featured the cookbook and me, and the New York Post added a copy of Wildly Affordable Organic to a beach bag for a summer photo shoot.
I love doing TV and radio spots
I love appearing on My Carolina Today. In the clip below, I'm making Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce for co-host Valonda Calloway. The crew ate every bite after the cameras stopped rolling!
- My Carolina Today (NBC 17 Raleigh NC): Spicy Peanut Noodles with Valonda Calloway and the Got To Be NC Festival with Valonda and Sharon Delaney (at the 4:40 mark).
- Nightly News on WWAY (ABC 3 in Wilmington NC) for the Feast Down East.
- An Organic Conversation with organic industry veterans Helge Hellberg, Sitarani Palomar, and Mark Mulcahy
- The Organic View with June Stoyer, who says "If you are feeling the pinch of the economy but do not want to sacrifice your healthy by opting for the chemical foods on the market, [WOA] is one book you need to read!" Thanks to June for having me back on her show to celebrate WAO's anniversary.
- Featured speaker for the Health on a Budget Summit with Brandi Rollins.
- Two-time guest on The Mary Jones Show, broadcast on four stations in Connecticut.
- Hot Grease with Nicole Taylor.
- Focus with Celeste Quinn on Illinois Public Media (WILL AM 580).
- Anytime Health Radio with Marty Flanagan.
New media coverage includes Fifty Weeks of Green!
- 2014 Military Finance Guide features tips and three recipes
- Health Wealth & Happiness on WGCV with Gary Posic
- Palmetto Mornings on WRHI with Chuck Boozer and Freddi Hammer
- The Mary Jones Show on the Talk of Connecticut
I'm honored by the support from the blogging community
"I was expecting [WOA] to be good but it was more than good...it was life altering." – Schneider Peeps
"If you think going organic is too expensive, this book is for you!" – An Organic Wife
"Linda Watson helps people save money, eat well, and make a difference" – GoEatGive.com
"Think you can’t eat organic on a budget? Author Linda Watson shows you how” – Bargain Babe
"This is a really awesome book" – Texas Kitchen
"Helpful for those just starting out" – Chow Vegan
"These once-a-month shopping lists are really excellent" – Infodad
"Hmmmm…eating and saving, two of my favorite activities" – Technorati
"Should be required reading in high school Life Skills classes and for every household" – Curledup.com
"I feel as though I've been privy to part of a life skills 101 class" – Is There A Bathroom On This Ship?
The cookbook has even got attention here in the Triangle
“Trying to do better doesn't have to be hard” – The News & Observer
"You won’t believe how easy, fun and delicious it is until you try it" – Durhamfoodie
"Shows that cooking from scratch can be cheap, healthy and doable" — The Independent Weekly
"Can you afford fresh food? Heck, yeah" – Farm Fresh North Carolina
"Check out the book Wildly Affordable Organic for organic menu planning on $5 a day or less." — Food Babe
You can read the comments in full below, and I’ll keep posting the reviews as they come in. Let’s keep spreading the Wildly Affordable Organic word!
News & Observer says "'Fifty Weeks of Green' gets spicy"
Feb 16, 2014 – Columnist Lori D. R. Wiggins writes a piece that captures the spirit of the Cook for Good project, praising WAO:
Watson knows real food, how to buy organic – and save, how to cook for good health - and to lose weight, and how to teach us to do it with little cost or time – and bank the benefits.
and saying "Hallelujah, sister!" to message behind Fifty Weeks of Green:
From an “inner frisky” vantage point, Green reminds us “a romantic couple can be generous to each other and supportive of each and still be flat-out sexy,” Watson said.
At 44, [the heroine] Sophia reflects “really exciting, sensual women around me,” she said. “They’re smoking hot and they’re not some 22-year-old virgin cowering at the feet of a wealthy industrialist.”
“Ladies,” [Watson] said, “put on that apron and cook; know you’re showing them love, connecting them with their bodies through the pleasures of real food. Yes, get in that kitchen and get cooking."
Huffington Post Meatless Mondays Pick: Home Economics Goes Wild(ly) Affordable Organic
Edgy Veggie Ellen Kanner writes "Wildly Affordable Organic features recipes that maximize fresh, organic produce with the help of pantry-friendly, stretch-your-dollar wonders like dried beans and whole grains. Most of all, it features what used to be known as home economics. Cooking from scratch and cooking with the seasons means not wasting a scrap or a cent, and there's nothing old-fashioned about it. We've lost these basic kitchen smarts through what Watson calls the corporate deskilling of America."
Sierra Club Green Home Editors' Choice for 2012: "Give a guide to good, green, wholesome food"
December 12, 2012 – Hanah Malan writes "There’s something about a real, tangible, pick-it-up-and-make-it-yours cookbook that lives on.... penny-saving ideas from Wildly Affordable Organic."
Top 10 Cookbook of 2011: "So much more than a cookbook, it’s a whole lifestyle plan"
December 19, 2011 – I'm honored that January Magazine named WAO as one of the top cookbooks of the year, along with big-name books Plenty and Ruhlman's Twenty. Thanks to Jones Atwater for a review which concludes:
The book is so jammed full of great ideas and advice, I would say it would be impossible not to let it color some aspect of the way you and your family think about food. Following Watson’s advice — or even just part of it — it is possible to eat organic affordably. In great detail, she tells us how. This is simply fascinating stuff.
"Tasty, filling, and uncomplicated"
“I’d recommend this book to both nutrition professionals and anyone looking to simplify, save money, shrink their carbon footprint, and incorporate more plant foods in delicious ways” – Dina Aronson, Today’s Dietitian
"Rave reviews .... I can easily see why"
September 14, 2011 – Jordan Kessler writes that they've been passing around copies of my book at the headquarters of the Natural Resources Defense Council. What a tribute from my favorite environmental group! He writes:
Penned by NRDC Member Linda Watson, [WAO] has received rave reviews from a variety of publications and readers, and thumbing through it, I can easily see why.
I'm sure many of you, like me, have thought it's just too expensive to eat organic, let alone eat organic all the time. But Linda's book puts the lie to that presumption. She maps out exactly what to cook, tells you how to cook it, and charts exactly what it will cost.
WAO takes a sensible approach to food waste: it’s a costly habit
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.
"Organic on a shoestring"
September 1, 2011 – Prevention Magazine puts Wildly Affordable Organic at the top of its Pulse list for October, writing that:
The barriers to cooking organic – hefty price tags, hours over a stove – vanish, thanks to these quick, delicious meals you can make for less than $5 a day.
"This is a really awesome book"
August 26, 2011 – The reviewer at Texas Kitchen found lots to love in Wildly Affordable Organic.
This is a really awesome book. I love that there are seasonal menus with shopping lists included right in the book. They include prices for totally organic products as as well as the thrifty alternative when you need to save money. These lists are so thorough that they included everything down to the spices and the % you should have left of each at the end of the month if you use the menu plans.
"Wildly good dream come true"
August 24, 2011 – This week, I urged the tribe at Roots of She to build up their apron power by taking the Good For You Challenge. In my guest post to the site's Creative Harvest series, I also shared the story of how my book came about when I took up the "food stamp" challenge in 2007 – to eat healthy with only $1 to spend per meal. The results were so amazing that I just had to share what I learned with the rest of the world. And so Wildly Affordable Organic was born.
"Meet the 'Cook For Good Lady'"
August 23, 2011 - I returned to the place where I earned my English degree, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at N.C. State University, and the folks there videotaped an interview with me and put it on their website. I'm living proof that with an English degree, you can do anything!
"Find out why you should splurge on eggs and scrimp on pasta"
"Should be required reading in high school Life Skills classes and for every household"
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. No more excuses for sugary cereal and soggy canned green beans! 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.
"Building a healthy diet on a food stamp budget"
August 20, 2011 – Midwest Book Review gave my cookbook its highest rating, five out of five stars:
Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less provides a fine survey by an activist and organic cook who accepted the 'food stamp challenge' to live on a budget of one dollar per meal for one week. Her focus was on building a healthy diet on a food stamp budget over just saving money: 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.
"Readers are left wanting to put her ideas into action"
August 2011–Calling Wildly Affordable Organic "part self-help guide and part cookbook," reviewer Holly Scudero of the San Francisco Book Review praises the research, trial and error that went into its creation:
Watson shows how anyone can eat a full diet of nutritious, healthy food for $5 a day or less. She helps readers figure out which foods need to be organic, which are just as good “conventional,” and how to get the best deals through seasonal shopping, holiday sales, and the occasional foray into the nearest ethnic grocery store. She provides sample menus for different seasons and offers advice on making the most of your time by cooking ahead and freezing for later. Her recipes include staples (Whisk Sandwich Bread), entrees (Cuban Black Beans or Potato Peanut Curry), and even desserts (Feel-Good Peach Cobbler). Watson's recipes are simple, her methods make sense, and readers are left wanting to put her ideas into action.
The review also ran in the Sacramento Book Review.
"If you think going organic is too expensive, this book is for you!"
August 12, 2011–Cristina West, also known as An Organic Wife online, is wild about Wildly Affordable Organic.
Mrs. Watson was on a mission to prove that it is possible eat organic for $5 a day or less... and she did it. She gives great tips on what to buy, where to buy, and when to buy, as well as how to utilize your kitchen and shopping trips to yield the greatest results. She also lays out Plans so you can get started cooking up things that can be stored and stocked. A full half of this book is devoted to recipes. Even the most timid baker will not be afraid to make their own bread with Good Whisk Bread (no kneading required!). There are no weird, foreign ingredients - these recipes are accessible as well as affordable. I can't wait to try the Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake, in addition to trying out some homemade bread on my husband.
"Linda Watson helps people save money, eat well, and make a difference"
August 3, 2011–Do you know how it is when you meet someone new and you just click? That's the way I felt when I met Sucheta Rawal -- the foodie, journalist and world traveler who created GoEatGive.com. Her mission is "connecting people, places and palates." Like Sucheta, I believe food is more than just something to eat. Here's what Sucheta wrote on her blog:
I first met Linda at the IACP conference in Austin, TX back in June 2011. The moment I started talking to her about what she does, I could tell she was really passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. Linda believes that helping people get enough good food to eat isn’t just a matter of giving them money, although money is essential. Linda also campaigns at state and national level to encourage the government to fund and make more convenient its financial support for hungry people.
Also got word today from Marcy Cook that the August issue of her Grapevine Magazine, a direct mail consumer guide, will be spreading the Cook For Good message to 300,000-plus readers in the Piedmont. Thanks, Marcy!
"Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster!"
August 2, 2011–That's the reaction North Carolina blogger Crystal B. had when she tried my Blueberry Rice Pudding recipe. She not only posted a picture of the dish she made on her Sapphire Hills blog, she also put up a photo of cute daughter Jeanne tasting have some Blueberry Rice Pudding for breakfast.
This was amazing! The blueberries were so sweet, they really had all the sugar content this dish needed. You will notice a small spoon amount missing in the photo. I couldn't resist! HA Breakfast is made! Too good.. Please, do yourself a favor and get some fresh blueberries and make some brown rice, you will be so happy you did!
"She believes that with a little preparation and time, everyone can 'eat like it matters'"
August 2, 2011–I recently shared six tips for saving money on organic foods with Grandparents.com. Here's what Kristen Sturt of that website had to say about Wildly Affordable Organic:
The concept of "organic" food has gained in popularity in recent years, with both consumers and chefs. And while it's true that organic foods are free of the chemicals and pesticides used to grow most fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, they're also indisputably costlier. That's where Linda Watson comes in. [Wildly Affordable Organic is] a step-by-step guide to every aspect of eating better, from meal planning to storing leftovers, and it includes more than 100 thrifty recipes built around inexpensive organic ingredients.... Try them, and you’ll see that organics can be an attainable and delicious option for your family.
"Wildly Affordable Organic is helpful for those just starting out"
In the back, there is a list of which recipes are vegan-friendly. I tried the Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce with Seasonal Vegetables – it’s quick and simple to make with easy to find ingredients.
"You won’t believe how easy, fun and delicious it is until you try it"
The challenge is open to all! If you are not in the Triangle ..., follow tips from Linda on her website and purchase Wildly Affordable Organic for some amazing recipes. If you have a knack for baking, Linda also has a Cook for Good Ebook: More Sweet and Savory Baking for $2.95.To simplify it further, Linda has provided a menu plan and shopping list to follow. How much easier can it get!
"Wildly Affordable Organic shows that cooking from scratch can be cheap, healthy and doable"
July 13, 2011—Thanks to Lisa Sorg for her review in The Independent Weekly:
Watson's new book reacquaints us with the idea that cooking—in particular, cooking from scratch—is an act to be embraced rather than endured. She explains how to eat healthfully, but cheaply, on no more than $5 a day. And, in doing so, Watson implicitly raises questions of food policy and philosophy....
Full disclosure: I'm a kitchen klutz. But even I fixed a scrumptious Greek potato salad. A zesty vinaigrette took less than five minutes to make. And the dishes aren't austere, joyless endeavors akin to prison food. The varied menus include a Swiss chard frittata, pesto, pizza, hummus, and baked pears with cinnamon yogurt sauce. Even dried beans, which are a staple of many of the dishes, are refashioned in creative ways.
Infodad: "These once-a-month shopping lists are really excellent"
July 7, 2011—This site for family-focused reviews says:
Wildly Affordable Organic is 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.
"I feel as though I've been privy to part of a life skills 101 class"
July 1, 2011 — Thanks to FLMOM for the review of WOA on her blog, Is There A Bathroom On This Ship?, where she focuses on a healthy lifestyle through organic, eco-friendly, and vegan/strict vegetarian living. She writes:
Coming out of the pages of Wildly Affordable Organic, I feel as though I've been privy to part of a life skills 101 class I wish had been part of my high school curriculum - or better yet, had been taught to me at home by my mother. Linda Watson teaches readers how to get back to basics, eat sustainably and healthfully, and prepare delicious meals from scratch for our families without breaking the bank or spending endless hours in the kitchen.
One fantastic feature of Wildly Affordable Organic is the Starter Plan which eases readers into this lifestyle in a mere twenty minutes per day. After getting your feet wet, you'll be more than ready to dive into the seasonal menu plans and cooking sessions.
Progressive Radio interview with Caryn Hartglass
June 29, 2011 — I'm so glad that Caryn Hartglass seemed to enjoy talking with me as much as I enjoyed talking with her! I was honored to be on her show It's All About Food on the Progressive Radio Network. On her Responsible Eating and Living site, Caryn writes:
I really enjoy talking with people who love what I love. I discovered I have a lot in common with Linda Watson.... She loves her beans like I do, organic whole foods and cooking up great things from scratch. She makes it orderly and easy to do for all to discover in her book.
"Sort of a manifesto + cookbook."
June 28, 2011—Thanks to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom (@WastedFood) for tweeting:
I've been enjoying @CookForGood's Wildly Affordable Organic. Sort of a manifesto + cookbook.
"Hmmmm…eating and saving, two of my favorite activities"
June 27, 2011 — Thanks to Bob Etier for his review on Technorati, Going Wildly Affordable Organic on $5 a day, where he writes:
One of the especially nice things about organic cooking is that the menu changes seasonally .... [A]dapting the diet to your lifestyle, or alternating your regular diet with some of Watson’s recipes, will have you eating healthier and saving money (hmmmm…eating and saving, two of my favorite activities).
Wildly Affordable Organic is 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.
"Think you can’t eat organic on a budget? Author Linda Watson shows you how in Wildly Affordable Organic”
Not only will you be eating on $5 a day or less but you’ll be helping the planet too. … What I like the most about Watson’s method is that she believes in taking it one recipe at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed. And most importantly you will not be deprived. How does red bean chili casserole with corn bread topping for din-din sound?
"Meeting someone like Linda Watson makes me think: Maybe I can do better."
June 15, 2011 — What a delight to be interviewed again by Andrea Weigl, whose article about me two years ago helped put the Cook for Good project on the map. This time, Andrea writes about Finding the Happy Medium:
Few of us are likely to adopt Watson's entire method, but her book offers smaller steps: a cooking plan that devotes 20 minutes a day to increasing the home-cooked elements of your meals and about 100 recipes, many of which can be enjoyed one night and frozen for easy future meals.
Plus, the first half is filled with tips on being more efficient, environmentally conscious and frugal in the kitchen. I had no idea that shredded cheese can often be a better bargain than block cheese, and she might have convinced me that there's little point in buying fancy olive oil.
What I like most is her simple message that trying to do better doesn't have to be hard. After a few days of eating frozen pizza, I can pick up the book and be inspired to do better with my next meal.
"What's hot: Most of the recipes are simple and time-saving, offering lots of options for on-the-go people"
June 7, 2011 — Grant Butler writes for The Oregonian and OregonLive.com:
Conventional wisdom has it that it's impossible to eat organic food if you're on a budget. But Linda Watson shows how it's possible to eat healthful, nutritious food without spending more than $1 per meal. The trick is serious menu planning, careful shopping for both staples and seasonal ingredients, and knowing when buying organic really counts (fruit you don't peel, such as strawberries and apples) and when you can go with cheaper, non-organic choices (avocados and bananas). Once the marketing is done, she offers 100 recipes designed to have you eating delicious dishes for well under $40 a week.
New York Post puts WAO in the beach bag
June 5, 2011 — The New York Post says goodbye, South Beach Diet, hello Wildly Affordable Organic! At least for this fashion shoot.
WAO is "a unique addition to the genre" and "both practical and contemporary"
May 15, 2011 — Kirkus Reviews, "the world's toughest book critics," say:
Watson’s 7-day, 20-minute cooking plans fall right in step with her smart planning, cooking and shopping strategies. The author organizes menus organized by season: Southern Summer Pesto on high-protein pasta and green beans with Blueberry Pie yields to Harvest Lasagna and Baked Pears with Cinnamon Yogurt Sauce in autumn.... [T]hose seeking a more healthful approach to cooking will appreciate Watson’s family, community and planet-friendly organic lifestyle.
A unique addition to the genre, this sustainable take on everyday meal planning is both practical and contemporary.
Wildly Affordable Organic is "well written and full of useful ideas and tips"
April 21, 2011 — In the Xpress Reviews on LibraryJournal.com, Susan Hurst of Miami University of Ohio, Oxford writes:
Watson provides a month's worth of menus for each of the four seasons, a real boon for those caught in the rut of eating the same things every week....
Verdict With the twin concerns of health and food costs very much on consumers' minds lately, this is likely to be popular.
Money tight? You can still eat right
April 2, 2011 — I feel a little like Saint Linda the Good after reading Sarah Rubenoff's wonderful "5 Minutes With ... " column on me and Cook for Good that appeared in the North Raleigh and Midtown sections of the News & Observer. I'm especially thrilled by this quote from Nancy Halberstadt, lifestyle center director at Whole Foods Market on Wade Avenue:
Linda's techniques are accessible to people of all levels of experience and means, and she truly cares about helping to remove the barriers to wholesome, fresh foods that sometimes keep families from experiencing the joys and benefits of eating seasonal, real foods.
Mark Bittman says, "Real food can be cheaper than junk food"
May 29, 2009 — Mark Bittman says in his New York Times blog:
CookforGood.com has a compelling set of instructions for how to shop and cook inexpensively enough to live on food stamps. Well thought out and presented. This is a long and ongoing discussion — worthy of a cookbook, really — but here is a nice start.
And two years later, Wildly Affordable Organic is that cookbook!