December 24, 2009

A Real Food Manifesto for The Rest of Us. ~ Jerry Kolber

Are you confused by what to eat; about how much food should cost; about how to feed yourself without merely following fads?

Do you feel like eating healthy; cooking at home; and buying organic are things you’ll do “when you have the time and money”?

You’re not alone.

For the last ten years, there has been a growing “food gap” in right here in America. There are those who can afford to buy and eat “organic food”, and those who cannot. As this gap grows wider, those who can afford to buy and eat “organic food” have begun using words like ethical, sustainable, and environmentally responsible to define their diet; implying that if you aren’t eating “organic food” the way they are, your diet is unethical, bad for the planet, irresponsible.

Besides attempting to define one’s role in the future of the planet on the basis of what kind of food they can afford to buy, this attitude ignores the planetary cost to all food, organic or not. “Organic food” does not magically show up on the shelves of a grocery store in Boston, New York, or Fargo; even if it is grown in a sustainable manner, it’s still packaged and shipped just like other food—unless it is actually locally grown.

On the other side of the gap, there is a sense that “organic food” either refers to a diet consisting mainly of such unfamiliar or bland foods as mung beans, lentil, tofu blocks, and steamed white rice, or that it is a diet of nothing but expensive luxury items…like truffled salmon with fingerling potatoes. This is simply confusion: anything can be “organic food”…including mac and cheese, lasagna or fried chicken.

“Organic food” got its bland, holy, boring reputation because those who were originally interested in “organic food” in the seventies also happened to be into diets that mostly consisted of (you guessed it) mung beans, lentils, tofu and steamed white rice. Lately, most people on this side of the gap have seen plenty of affluent, urban, well-dressed (mostly white) people on television talking about the glories of “organic food”; this has helped convince most of America that “organic food” is now a luxury item to be savored only by the urban elite.

One interesting thing about this “gap” is that the American tradition of growing your own food peaked in the general population in the 1940’s, yet has continued in many lower-income and minority neighborhoods. One well known example is the 14 acre South Central Farm, where 350 families fed themselves off  land in the middle of Los Angeles until the land was sold to a private developer. Abandoned property and vacant parking lots all over the country are home to guerilla gardens, providing sustenance and a sense of self-confidence to those who grow food in these appropriated mini-farms.

These people don’t star in gardening and cooking shows on TV; they are way off the radar, yet if anyone is truly keeping the flame of small-scale gardening alive, it is these unsung heroes of the inner city. And off in suburbia, a simple 10 x 10 plot of land is often used for “square foot gardening”, providing a surprising quantity of food in exchange for a little bit of lawn space.

If you’ve come here expecting some sort of impassioned plea to tell you to completely change your diet so you can save the planet, you’ve come to the wrong place. We could all disappear tomorrow and the planet will keep on ticking. Having said that, just because you know someone else may buy your house someday or that it may be torn down to build a new one by some future owner, you still put your garbage out and vacuum the carpet. Taking care of what you own is just common sense and a good investment. And in America, in 2009, you should have the access and information to do that regardless of how much money you make or what neighborhood you live in.

Every religion and spiritual tradition tells us that we are stewards of the earth and all its creatures. What you believe about the evolution of our environment, and how your personal choices about how you live (including what you eat) fit in, are completely up to you. There’s plenty of other folks out there who are happy to yell at you about how you live; I’m not one of them. I am not nearly perfect enough to tell you how to live.

And if you’ve come here expecting some sort of nutrition plan, or exact eating plan; again, look elsewhere. There is a zero-percent success rate of people imposing their eating plans on other people; hundreds of diet books come in and out of print every year, and hundreds of thousands of people swear to follow these diets every day and then fail to do so days, weeks, or months later. I once bought a muffin a mere three hours after starting the Atkins diet. That is not meant to discount the often useful and wise advice in the more sensible diet plans, but merely to say once again the best plan is the one you come up with yourself; the one you can live with, in terms of taste, cost, and convenience.

The flood of books, magazine articles, websites, and television shows exhorting us to “eat organic”, “eat local”, and “eat ethically” always seem to come with recipes that feature a dozen ingredients and assume that someone in your household can spend two hours preparing dinner each day. It’s like they’ve combined “New Millennium Food Chic” with a 1950’s “Home Economics” class. And at $15, $20, and $30 a pop, these books are not cheap, if you have even heard of them.

If you are a dual-income family, busy roommates, or single, you’re basically out of luck; you may buy into what they’re saying about how to eat, but you have a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of actually spending the time to make these recipes, many of which feature cooking techniques you would need to practice with a Jedi to master. I’ve been cooking for years and I still can’t “julienne” a thing.

While these books, magazines, and television shows are almost by definition produced by hip urban folks who can’t make it from the subway to their apartment without tripping over three or four stores that sell “organic food” (full disclosure: I am one of them), there are still entire states in this country where there isn’t even a Whole Foods –for instance, Idaho, Iowa and South Dakota. You know, the Midwest.

While “organic food” can be found just about anywhere if one is so inclined, the “one stop shopping” that makes it so convenient in urban areas is simply not available to much of the country. This cannot be looked at as a moral or ethical failing of people who live in those parts of the country; that would be deeply unfair. Yet that is exactly what is meant when it is said that certain food choices are “ethical” or “responsible”.

Even for those who do live within range of an organic savvy supermarket, for many folks these foods are simply out of reach of their budget. If you’re trying to feed a family of four for $60 a week, your only “ethical” and “responsible” concern is making sure that there is something to eat at every meal. You’ve either likely tuned out the whole “organic food” conversation or consider it a conversation for wealthy people in affluent neighborhoods. You may not recognize anyone in these conversations who seems to share your religious or political beliefs, or who seems to come from the neighborhood, childhood, or income level you come from.

Too often the conversation around organic food turns into a “show off” session – who can find the best bio-dynamic wine, who has the most peppery arugula, whose nuts are more raw. Who cares? That’s food snobbery, and although it’s a perfectly fine conversation for those who can afford the time and money to care, for the rest of us the image of the middle-aged white person wandering their backyard garden, selecting squash and fresh basil for that evening’s meal, may be relaxing but could not be further removed from the reality of our lives.

Yet within all of this lurks a question; what are we eating, and should we care?


I grew up in South Florida in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My mother, Shelley, made most of our meals at home; chicken cacciatore, veal meatballs, meatloaf, green bean casserole, and beef brisket were staples at our dinner table. We bought in Carvel ice cream every week or two, and I got to eat a breakfast plate at McDonald’s almost every Saturday morning before my bowling league at Bowl-O-Mat – pancakes, hash browns, maple syrup, and sausage. Weekday breakfast was some sort of cereal –Cocoa Puffs or some other sweet processed deliciousness.

My father’s mother, Mommy Merle, had grown up in Birmingham, Alabama, which led to a decidedly Southern flavor to some of our dinners – fried chicken, okra, and the like. And my mother’s mother, Ethel (Grandma to me) kept her food traditions alive by having me help her make Matzoh Meal Pancakes every few weeks when I stayed over at her and Grandpa’s place, delicious fried pancakes of matzoh meal and egg, dusted with sugar. We would fight over who got the little crispy bits that escaped from the mother ship – my sister Bonnie and I called these little crunchy brown nuggets “babies” and though Grandma tried to split them fairly, one of us always felt cheated. Besides matzoh meal, Grandma always kept ham, American cheese, mayonnaise, and white bread in the house, to be eaten by us and Grandpa while he yelled at the TV wrestling matches he loved so much.

Back on my father’s side of the family, Mommy Merle loved to get us treats like Animal Crackers and cakes, and mom’s sister Aunt Blanche (“Tante”) could always be counted on to show up with some kind of delicious homemade dessert like chocolate cake, her famous crème de menthe cake, or handmade white chocolate. I spent as many nights as I was allowed at my best friend Barry’s house, where his mom (“Aunt Mimi”) made sure we always had Carnation Breakfast Bars in the morning, and her incredibly good fried apple fritters at dinner. When Barry stayed at our house, my mom made sure that there was always a dozen fresh Dunkin Donuts waiting for him when he woke up.

Once in a while a skirt steak would show up on our plates, or dad would make burgers. I remember vividly digging a garden outside our house when I was 8 or 9, Dad with his shirt off, me drinking clear metallic water from a green plastic garden hose, and him letting me have a sip of his beer – Budweiser in a brown bottle I’m sure; this was 1979, before the micro-brewery revolution.

I don’t think we ever had a talk about healthy food vs. not healthy food – we just ate what Mom made, which in retrospect doesn’t seem particularly fried or bad. We ate out at Pizza Hut, Sizzler, and Shorty’s BBQ on South Dixie, and for special occasions might drive down to Ziggy’s, the Conch Seafood Restaurant in Key Largo, or the Sonesta in Key Biscayne for brunch. We ate fried dough at the Dad County Youth Fair, we ate school cafeteria lunches, and we ate burgers and french fries whenever we could. I tell you this so you know that I come from the most traditional American food background possible. Not terribly bad, not terribly good, and ultimately bought, prepared, and served with no thought whatsoever as to how our diet interacted with the planet or our bodies. We just ate, relatively well, and then got on with our lives.

We grew up in a neighborhood that had few fences until I was until my teens, and me and the twins from next door (Don and Doug) and Todd Mallet would wander on adventures until the twins mom DeeDee would ring a dinner bell; then it was time to go home and wash up.

Throughout my childhood, my parents were both always dealing with weight issues, going on and off Weight Watchers, stopping in at weekly weigh-ins (or “weigh-downs”) on the second story of an outdoor mall near the southern end of US1. I remember at one point Mom was particularly concerned about Dad’s weight – whether for health or vanity issues or both is unclear – and she bought a little gadget that would be set off by the opening of the refrigerator door. When Dad opened the door, this little thing started cackling and saying something to the effect of “Hey fatty, why don’t you stop stuffing your face? Go ahead fatty, eat something, you fat pig. Cackle-cackle-cackle.”

I am not making this up. Dad was maybe ten or fifteen pounds overweight at most. This practical joke was more a function of the state of their relationship than anything else. But still.

I was pretty lean throughout high school and put on a few extra pounds when I got to college. Since then I have been bouncing up and down between the same twenty pounds of extra weight. I’ve tried diets ranging from Atkins to Weight Watchers to calorie counting, led to believe that somehow I had to be a certain weight. The combined influence of living in SkinnyTown (aka NYC) and growing up in a house that always had a “Points Calculator” and food scale laying around cannot be underestimated.

At one point in 1985, we began making bi-weekly trips with our friends the Gross family to a special store an hour away to purchase “3 Point” diet ice cream concoctions. They were delicious and they washed down well with a can of Tab or a can Trim (a diet drink in the 80’s; again, not making this up). We ate a lot of them, and when the adults realized they were successfully gaining a few pounds a week eating these special treats, we were all cut off.

Next my mom and Cookie Gross found a recipe made of a high-protein low-calorie artificially sweetened chocolate mix called Alba, which they would mix with water, nuts, and something else (to this day I am not sure what) to make these little round one inch nutty brown balls. There was always a tray of these in the refrigerator at both the Kolber house and the Gross house. They were called Doody Balls. I am not making this up either.

There’s nothing wrong with any diet, as long as it’s helping you lose weight by teaching you a way of eating that you can sustain for a lifetime. But Doody Balls and Tab isn’t a way of life; that sounds more like a scene from a movie about a Turkish prison. But that’s the more traditional meaning of the word diet, which simply means “what you eat”, rather than the meaning we’ve given it in the last thirty years, meaning “restricting what you eat to lose weight”.


My sister Bonnie, four years younger than me, always looked up to me. My attitude of “who says” took root in her and manifested in an even deeper way. After college in 1997 she found her way to Vermont, where she has built a life on the land; growing her own vegetables in a 10 x 10 foot garden, raising chickens, living on twenty acres of gorgeous land with a pot-belly stove to keep her and her cat warm in the cold winter months. In 1999, Bonnie asked me a question that would forever change the way I thought about food.

We were sitting in my mom’s house in Miami (Mom and Dad divorced in the early 90’s). In the middle of a conversation about how much she loved Vermont, particularly the availability of fresh local produce, Bonnie asked me: “What do you think about Percy Schmeiser?” I looked at her in a way that indicated I had no clue what she was talking about. She went on to explain that Percy Schmeiser was a Canadian farmer who had been farming the same land for forty years, since the mid-1950s, with the same line of seeds. In 1997, the Monsanto corporation had decided to start sending investigators onto private farms to take samples of seeds and plants, to see if anyone was illegally growing their Round-Up Ready Corn patented corn seed.

The reason they cared if anyone was growing Round-Up Ready Corn was that it was genetically modified corn, designed by their engineers to be resistant to another Monsanto product, Round-Up Pesticide. Monsanto Round-Up corn can handle the chemicals in Monsanto Round-Up Pesticide; hence, it is Round-Up Ready. This kind of arrangement allows farmers who are not farming organically to maximize the yield from their crops using the latest science and chemical supplements.

Monsanto claimed that Percy Schmeiser had illegally obtained a quantity of their Round-Up Ready Corn seed and was growing it on his land. In their lawsuit against him, they claimed he was violating their patent on this particular corn seed. Schmeiser had responded that not only did he not steal Round-Up Ready Seeds, he did not want Round-Up Ready Corn on his land as it would contaminate his traditional, non-genetically modified heirloom seeds.

Both Monsanto and Schmeiser then conducted further testing of his crops, at which point Schmeiser was able to surmise that wind or passing grain trucks carrying Monsanto’s patented seeds had made their way onto his land. Schmeiser asked Monsanto to drop the suit; they refused, and sued him for hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees and damages.

This was all new information to me –the case itself, genetically modified seeds, corn that was bionically engineered to resist certain pesticides. Bonnie explained to me that for thousands of years humans have used crop rotation and knowledge about which plants work best together to maximize output and control pest damage naturally.

However, huge factory farms, like the ones that rely on seeds and pesticides from companies like Monsanto, engage in what is called “monoculture” –the growing of one single crop over vast acreages. Because growing crops this way leads to thinning soil and greater susceptibly to pests, it also creates the need for increasing amounts of chemical fertilizer and pesticide (both of which contractually must be provide dby the seed manufacturer, in this case Monsanto).

As it turns out, the expression “Organic Food” means what the word “Food” meant as recently as the before the advent of chemical fertilizer and chemical pesticides in the 1930’s and 1940’s. As recently as the end of World War II, home gardens and community gardens were growing nearly forty percent of America’s food. But the factories that had made all the ammonium nitrate for the bombs in the war didn’t want to suddenly go idle; and the idea was born that this ammonium nitrate could be used to fertilize crops.

This shift in the 1940’s represented a departure from thousands of years of sun-and-soil small farm agriculture to a fossil fuel based agricultural system. Combined with the emerging interstate highway system and abundant fossil fuel for trucks and cars, suddenly there was an extraordinary selection of fruits and vegetables available anywhere in America any time of the year.

To put this simply: In 1935, if you lived in New York and wanted a tomato, you could have one between June and October when the tomato vines in New Jersey or New York were bearing fruit, or pay a fortune importing one from California or Florida. In 2009, if you live in New York and want a tomato in the middle of January, you pay the same as you would in tomato season and are probably eating the same crop of tomatoes as someone in Minnesota or San Diego.

It’s worth stopping for a moment and acknowledging the difficult chasm between knowing “what’s right” and trying to actually function in a life packed with responsibilities. It’s far too difficult, time consuming and aggravating to actually try to figure out where every single thing you eat comes from. It can also be incredibly expensive and annoying to try to live some sort of “perfectly responsible” life, even if you wanted to.

As a result of what I’ve learned over the last decade, I try to avoid buying food that contains anything that I can’t personally buy and use as ingredients at home – I can’t buy high fructose corn syrup, or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, so I try to avoid foods that contain those things. I’m nowhere near 100% successful, but I have noticed I get sick a lot less and have a lot more energy the less of those things I eat.

My own deepening personal spiritual practice has led me to a deeper respect for my body and a healthy degree of patience with my food choices; I no longer see the point in beating myself up about what I eat. I love meat, cheese, dairy, pasta, and would never give them up, unless medically necessary. I’ve tried a vegan diet and loved it, and lost a ton of weight on it, but I found it unnecessarily restrictive sensually and socially. I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables and grains now then I used to. If I want to eat fried chicken once in a while, I do. If I’m craving a steak or cheeseburger, I’m going to eat it.

You may find that if you look into it, the way factory farming raises meat and disposes of waste products becomes a cause of concern for you spiritually or environmentally – this may lead to you adjust the amount or quantity of meat you eat. Or it may not. There are those who have made their life’s work out of convincing others that meat eating is the root of all the planet’s evils; this means nothing to a mother of four who is on a budget and trying to decide whether to use hamburger or chicken in Wednesday night’s casserole.

I’m not going to tell you what to eat or not to eat. You should explore and have fun with your diet. Most of the time I’m eating a diet that I’ve decided works for me – I’ve finally figured out how to cook at home, using as much fresh, chemical free as I can afford, and do it quickly and without being a burden on my lifestyle. My way isn’t going to work for everyone, but it can serve as a good starting point.

Let’s pause here for a minute and take a look at a recipe. This is for a creamy rice dish called risotto that can be made with or without cheese – it’s more delicious, filling, and everyone likes it. If you don’t or can’t eat dairy, or are making it for some people who like cheese and some who don’t, let people add cheese at the table rather than stirring it in.

Total work time is about 10 minutes; total cook time is about 20 minutes.

I suggest you eat this risotto with a simple salad of whatever lettuce and dressing you like; you can even just use some olive oil, salt and pepper for a really simple, inexpensive dressing. Romaine is fine, but you can get fancy and try arugula too if you want a round of applause from the foodies; I will applaud you for merely trying. Or make some other vegetable; broccoli, spinach, or tomato-cucumber salad.

Because you will buy this rice by the two pound bag, you’ll have enough rice to make 8 very generous servings, which is two meals for a family of four, four meals for a couple, or eight meals for a single person. To keep things simple, let’s look at it as eight servings, since you can easily keep rice for months and make this dish once a week or every other week.

So, to cook the whole bag, you’d need the two pound bag of rice, four onions, one cup of parmesan cheese, and some vegetable or beef bullion cubes.

If you want to buy organic, the rice would be $4 (you must buy a rice called Arborio for this dish –it is available in the rice section of almost any supermarket), the onions $2, the cheese $4, and a container of bullion concentrate or cubes would be about $3. All your ingredients for eight organic servings would be about $13; this works out to about $1.60 a serving; $6.50 for a meal for a family of four or $3.25 for a couple, and if you want salad add a head or bunch of lettuce for $2.

Note that this is a dish that you would easily pay $15 for in a restaurant, for one serving. And if you buy non-organic ingredients, you can make it for about $1.20 a serving. You can adjust the recipe for the number of people you are serving.


Serves 4

2 cups Arborio Rice

4 tablespoons or cubes beef or vegetable bullion (Better Than Bullion is good)

2 onions

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

½ cup parmesan cheese

8 cups water

1 head or bunch lettuce

Dressing for salad (can be as simple as olive oil, salt and pepper)

Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, chop the ends off two onions, peel off the paper outer layers, and roughly chop the onions into chunks. Bring a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to high heat in a skillet and sauté the onions (stirring frequently) for four minutes. Add two cups of the rice to the skillet, quickly coating the rice in the oil or butter, then turn off the heat.

Add four tablespoons or four cubes of beef or vegetable bullion to the boiling water and reduce to a simmer. Stir in the rice and onions and let simmer for twenty minutes. Meanwhile wash lettuce, shake and pat dry, and rip into shreds and toss with dressing.

After twenty minutes most of the liquid should be absorbed by the rice, if it is not, keep simmering and checking. If there is just a little liquid still simmering, stir in ½ cup parmesan. Serve immediately.


If you’re still with me, chances are about this point you’re wondering, when the heck is Jerry going to tell me where to get cheap organic food? Well –the good news is there are a lot of places to get it. The bad news is that for some of you in certain parts of the country you may have to drive to a nearby metropolitan area. To those of you who are already complaining that the carbon footprint of driving 80 miles to buy organic food negates the planetary benefit of buying food that does not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, I offer the words of Billy Joel:

“You may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for. Turn out the light, don’t try to save me. You may be wrong for all I know, but you may be right.”

I strongly recommend that anytime anyone starts trying to do planetary math on you, you shove an non-organic cucumber in their mouth. Bludgeoning each other with whose diet is best for the planet is really annoying. Eat what makes sense for you; learn what you can; and keep growing and making choices within your budget. Easy and fun.

You may find that your neighborhood has what’s called a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Google “CSA” + the name of your city or county. A CSA works like this: you pay a set amount for an entire season of fruits, vegetables, and sometimes cheese and meat. A season is about 20 weeks and it usually works out to about $20 a week for a family of four. You are basically buying a share of a local farm, and the farmer in turn delivers a box of fresh stuff to you each week. If there are no CSA’s near you, consider starting one with your neighbors or your church or temple. It’s just a matter of partnering with a local farmer.

You may also have farmer’s markets within an easy drive of where you live. Look online to find “greenmarkets” or “farmer’s markets”. Because you are cutting out the middleman you can get local fresh ingredients cheaper at a farmer’s market than you would pay for the non-organic stuff at a grocery store. And in spring and summer (May to October) you can find a farmer’s market in almost part of the country.

You can also look for food coops. These are like-minded neighbors who band together to make organic and natural foods available at (theoretically) low prices. Some co-ops even accept food stamps. Again, look online to see what you can find.

Of course, there are also the giant natural food chains Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, as well as growing organic sections at many regular supermarkets. The more popular “organic food” becomes, the cheaper these places get, though you can still find better bargains at the local farmer’s market or by joining a CSA.

One idea that is very popular in parts of Europe and Asia is starting to make its way to the USA; it’s intriguing though at this time it is not likely you can get food this way. The idea is “green roofs”and it is particularly applicable to cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Detroit and other places that have tons of buildings concentrated in a small area.

Green roofs turn heat-reflecting rooftops into heat-absorbing and food producing farms by creating growing beds on top of buildings. This is a very promising trend and, in season, could provide fresh fruits and vegetables to city dwellers and local restaurants and schools with literally no processing or shipping involved.

Why should city rooftops sit empty when they can be creating food for the people below? As an urbanite, this is an area of particular interest to me, particularly because it could provide opportunities to grow fresh local produce in low-income neighborhoods where access to good fresh produce is all too limited.


You cannot go wrong with the recipes that have nourished us for thousands of years. I once got a fortune cookie that said “When in doubt, select one of the classics”. While this is now taped to my turntables, it can just as easily apply to recipes. Beans and rice, pasta with sauce, grain dishes with tomato and cheese, stir fry’s, noodles with peanut and soy sauce and a little meat, are all extremely delicious, nutritious, easy and fast to make —and not expensive, even if you do experiment with organic ingredients.

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about the way you eat or what you eat. You already have enough stress in your life without having to feel like you are destroying the planet or the bodies of your family with the food you are eating. This isn’t to say you should be complacent; being inquisitive and looking beyond the advertisements is a worthwhile endeavor particularly when it comes to what you eat. A strong healthy body is the foundation for a good spiritual mind, a creative mind and a life filled with activity and fun.

Good healthy cooking is really basic. Choose one starch (rice, pasta, noodles, potatoes, or grains like couscous), add a protein source (beans, cheese or dairy, meat), vegetables (tomatoes, greens, carrots, peas, onions), and spices and condiments (salsa, basil, cumin, salt). I have just described for you the basic recipe that is the foundation of hundreds of delicious, satisfying meals from every corner of the globe. This is the basic recipe for everything from stew, to chili, to India’s masala dishes, to burritos, Asian noodles, pasta, polenta, and dishes from the Middle East. You could eat something different every night of the year with such a seemingly basic approach.

This is the point where I am probably supposed to try to sell you something, but actually I just gave away “the secret” in the above paragraph. There’s plenty of information online (and resources below) to get you started. If you check out the site, you’ll find community forums with ideas about food, recipes, and local places to try new things. You can’t go wrong with grains or rice or beans + a can of tomato sauce + spices + cheese. That’s a great starting point.

I do offer a cookbook that has two weeks of recipes, complete with shopping lists for each week, with all meals easily made for around $2.50 or less per serving, and many much less than that, along with information on how to set up your kitchen. It’s a well-organized way to start cooking a day, week, or month’s worth of healthy, fast, cheap meals. It’s about 50 pages, and for now it is only available as a downloadable, printable PDF file; this keeps it inexpensive for you and saves the planetary costs of printing and shipping. You can read what you want on screen and print out what you choose to. It just makes it a bit easier to get organized and get started.

The cookbook is $6 and we donate a generous percentage of all proceeds to non-profit organizations working to bring food justice to families and neighborhoods that need it most. The rest goes to sustaining efforts to get this information to as many people as possible. Get the cookbook here and enter “ELEPHANT” for the discount!

Finally, remember to have fun and not beat yourself up about food. If you eat tons of fast food but at least begin thinking about these issues, that’s a huge step. If you decide to try one night a week to cook a great pasta or grain dish at home, with a nice salad and good company, you’ve begun your own personal food revolution.

Be gentle, and eat well.

Jerry Kolber is the author of the Three Dollar Dinner Cookbook at www.ThreeDollarDinner.com

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