Cook for Good News Archive

For more current news about Wildly Affordable Organic, check WAO Wow! For other news, see the blog.

Netroots Scholarship: I won!

April 19, 2011 — Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on my application for a scholarship to Netroots Nation. I ended the voting in 11th place out of over 220 applicants for 20 scholarships in round 2.

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.

Vote to send Linda to the Netroots Nation Conference in Minneapolis

March 30, 2011 — Please vote for me to receive a scholarship to the Netroots Nation Conference in Minneapolis, a conference that provides progressive activists and candidates for office a forum to strengthen the online community and grow the progressive movement.

Blogging for CFSA's Sweet Potato

March 30, 2011 — I'll be blogging for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's new blog: The Sweet Potato. This blog follows sustainable food and farming issues in the Carolinas. Watch for my first post this week, on North Carolina's House Bill H446 that would require labeling genetically modified food and milk from cows subjected to recombinant bovine growth hormone.

First Wildly Good Cook Weekend

March 1, 2011 — The Hendersonville Community Co-op will host the first Wildly Good Cook Weekend. Participants can take all four classes in the Wildly Good Cook series in two afternoons, with two on Saturday and two on Sunday. See the events page for details.

Wildly Good Cook Certificate Program off to a wildly good start!

December 27 , 2010 — Whole Food in Raleigh and Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro, North Carolina, will each host four classes in the new Cook for Good certificate program. The series of four classes start in mid-January. See the events page for details.

Session Leader at Sustainable Agriculture Conference

December 4, 2010 — What an honor to be part of the very first Cooking Track at the Carolina Farm Stewardship's' annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. My talk was on Eating Delicious, Local Food on a Tight Budget.

Featured Speaker at Share Our Strength Conference of Leaders in Washington DC

October 18, 2010 — I'm thrilled to be the main speaker in Share Our Strength's' annual Conference of Leaders session that announces the name change of Operation Frontline to Cooking Matters. I was especially pleased by the positive response of so many chefs to my talk: Eating Deliciously on a Tight Budget.

A Week of Guest Blogging for DrGreene.com

July 19 - 23, 2010 — I'm honored to be the featured guest blogger on DrGreene.com. Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene and his team help parents navigate decisions about healthy choices they can make to keep their families safe, from childhood development to keeping a green home. Check on my posts each day to learn one of the key Cook for Good skills: cook once, enjoy many!

Lifehacker says Cook for Good can "can fast-track your cooking skill development"

July 8 , 2010 — Kevin Purdy covers the Cook for Good technique for improving recipes in his post Use Corporate-Style Postmortems to Improve Your Cooking, where he writes:

Few software developers probably look forward to "postmortem reports," the kind where you look back at what went right and wrong with a project. One developer-turned-cook has found that taking a similar approach to recipes, however, can fast-track your cooking skill development.

Da Capo Press to Publish Cook for Good Book in Spring 2011

May 26, 2010 — I'm thrilled to announce that Da Capo Press will publish a Cook for Good book in June2011. The name says it all: Wildly Affordable Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet—all on $5 a Day or Less. It will be a revised and expanded version of Cook for Good Year Round, with a new fall menu, a starter plan that takes just 20 minutes a day, and lots of new information and recipes. Da Capo publishes many of my favorite cookbooks, including Cooking Green by Kate Heyhoe, Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry, and Vegan with a Vengance by the Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Sacramento Food Bank says Cook for Good class was "pretty amazing"

May 26, 2010 — The Sacramento Food Bank's blog describes a recent Cook for Good class there (my first one translated live into Spanish!):

Participants in the Mother-Baby Program here at SFBFS had the opportunity to learn from Linda Watson herself in a presentation given here on April 30th. Linda showed us how to prepare a multitude of meals and snacks in 20 minutes a day- pretty impressive. Recipes included quick homemade bread, vanilla pudding, spicy peanut noodle sauté, and beans. The e-book includes even more great recipes with enough variety and flavor that nothing gets old.

Cook for Good Coast to Coast Tour!

April–June 2010. I took the Cook for Good show on the road, from Wilmington North Carolina to Portland Oregon to Hilton Head Island South Carolina and then back home to Pittsboro and Raleigh NC! See the tour page for details.

Cook for Good class: Healthy, Homemade Bread, Quick or Slow

March 13, 2010, from 2:00 - 3:00 pm at Whole Foods Market, 3540 Wade Avenue, Raleigh NC.

[Sold out!] Are you curious about baking bread at home, but don't know where to start, or looking for some new techniques?  Join us for this fun class and learn how to make delicious, nutritious bread at home. Whether you whip up a fast bread or keep a bowl of slow-rising yeast dough in the fridge, you can make whole-grain, fresh bread with very little money or effort. Cook for Good's Linda Watson will show you how to make a healthy and versatile baking mix so you can serve hot biscuits in just 10 minutes, or super-quick pancakes while you are practically asleep. We will discover how easy it is to put gluten to work by making no-knead yeast bread, garlic flat bread, and pizza. Linda will also share how to whip up quick, gluten-free corn breads with different personalities: sweet, corny, or spicy. [Sold out!]

Cook for Good talk for Food Systems class at CCCC

March 2 Tessa Thraves has invited Linda Watson to talk to her Food Systems class in the Sustainable Agriculture program at Central Carolina Community College on March 8, 2010. Watson will tell how Cook for Good encourages healthy eating and a healthy statewide food system.

Shopping and Cooking Tuneup at Whole Foods sells out, has waiting list

January 23 Participants went from jalopies to Ferraris at the Cook for Good workshop at Whole Foods. We had so much fun that one of the participants said I should do stand-up comedy. Missed the show? The Whole Foods organizer said she'll have me back soon to do another session of the workshop and perhaps other classes on bread or beans.

Sustainable Grub resolves to keep eating the Cook for Good way

December 28 Dee Reid shares her New Year's Resolutions on her Sustainable Grub blog:

3) Eat gobs of fresh, home-cooked food and lose weight. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it worked for me. I finally lost the last 8 pounds I’ve been trying to get rid of for awhile.  I took a page from Mark Bittman (author of Food Matters and the NY Times Minimalist column) and Linda Watson (Cook for Good website). They advise eating less meat (fewer calories, lower carbon footprint) and more fresh fruits and vegetables. They also recommend cooking up a pot of beans every week for high-protein, low-fat soup and chile with fresh veggies. They use meat mostly as a flavor enhancer, which means I can afford the good local stuff raised without pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics. (See A Free-Range Chicken in Every Pot.)  I followed their directions and won the locavore trifecta: lost weight, lowered my carbon footprint and saved money.

Thanks and Happy New Year, Dee!

Shopping and Cooking Tune Up: First Cook for Good workshop on January 23rd

December 27 Start your New Year's off right by getting a Shopping and Cooking Tuneup on January 23rd from1:00 – 4:00 pm in the Lifestyle Center at the Whole Foods Market, 3540 Wade Ave, Raleigh NC 27607. Here's the official description:

Vowed to save money and time this year? Resolved to cut back on processed foods and start really cooking again? Join us for this fun, interactive workshop and learn key skills for success from Linda Watson, chief cook and researcher for Cook for Good. We’ll take a tour of some top Whole Foods Market bargains in the produce, bulk foods, and spice sections. Linda will share great tips and show us how to use tools and planning to cook better and faster. Find out about foods that cook while you sleep. Get ideas for planning meals, cooking ahead, shopping with the seasons, storing food, and reducing dishwashing. We will get to sample some favorite Cook for Good recipes mid-afternoon, such as potato peanut curry and chocolate pumpkin snack cake, and we'll take home recipes, a few ingredients, and handouts to give your year a delicious, thrifty start.

Cost: $25. Pre-register by phone (919-828-5805) or in person. Refund/credit may only be given for cancellations made more than 24 hours in advance of class.

Help send $1,000 to Feeding America

December 21 Our friends at DrGreene.com will give $1,000 to a charity supported by one of six guest bloggers, including Cook for Good's Linda Watson. The donation will go to the charity that receives the most comments. Please vote with your comment now on the Cook for Good charity: Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, which is helping over 9 million children avoid hunger this year. The organization estimates that it serves 25 million low-income Americans each year through over 200 food banks and 63,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other agencies that feed the needy. Ask your friends to comment too. The contest runs through noon December 31st, but why wait? Do good today!

New Cook for Good logo!

December 18 The winning of the Cook for Good logo contest features the site's new tagline: Save money. Eat well. Make a difference. The contest ran for two weeks on LogoMyWay.com, with $300 going to the first-prize winner. The new logo will be the foundation for a whole new website design, with more interactivity and features.

New York Times editors highlight Cook for Good comment

December 8 A New York Times forum Food Stamps: The Economics of Eating Well asks Should federal aid to the poor be tied to promoting better nutrition? I'm honored to have my comment be the top of four highlighted by the editors:

An easy way to improve the nutrition of food-stamp recipients and help local economies is to make it easy to use SNAP benefits at local farmers' markets. The recipients get fresh, seasonal produce and sustainably raised dairy and meat. The local farmers get more customers and the local economy gets more jobs. If we make it easy for people to buy healthy, seasonal food at farmers markets, they will get the best values for their benefit dollars and tend to make more nutritious choices. Let's start by just making it easy to eat better. >>

Herald-Sun says "Local food a good option"

August 11 I'm honored to be featured in the first column by Melanie Raskin of the Herald-Sun. She writes:

As food and fuel prices continue to soar, how can you get the most bang for your food bucks? Go local, says Raleigh-based Linda Watson of Cook for Good, an eating program that explores how to eat well, save money and do good.

"Buying local is a better bargain," she explains. Watson, who compares food prices of cost-competitive chain grocery stores versus boutique grocery stores versus farmers' markets, finds that local farmers' markets are a better bargain.

Durham Farmers' Market says cooking demo is "delicious!"

August 7 The crowd at the Durham Farmers' Market ate up a big bowl of Southern Summer Pesto with Green Beans. Comments on the sign-up sheet echoed what I heard folks saying as they tried the sample: "Yummy pasta pesto!" "Delicious!" "Thanks the pesto is fabulous!" See the contact page for upcoming cooking demos and presentations.

A Butte-iful Life says "All the Recipes Have Worked"

August 7 Sissie Sue, the blogger behind Butte-iful Life: Living the good life in Butte, Mt., gave a terrific and detailed review of the Cook for Good site and both ebooks. (Thanks, Sissie Sue!) She says:

I’ve been working my way through CFG Basics, and I am enjoying it. Watson’s recipes produce dishes that satisfy my craving for simple, nourishing food. [...]

But it's really the “inessential” recipes that make the CFG series fabulous. Take, for example, Watson’s recipe for chocolate pudding. This recipe, which uses only a handful of ingredients and cornstarch for the thickener, is wonderfully nostalgic. Most importantly, it tastes absolutely fabulous — chocolatey and creamy, good warm or cold.  Strawberry Shortcake (CFG Spring), a family recipe of Watson’s, is simply lovely. The shortcake is made from a “hot milk cake” recipe and, as promised, tastes wonderful with berries or without.

The Simple Dollar Tried Potato Peanut Curry and "Ate it Hungrily"

August 7 Trent, of The Simple Dollar, found the Potato Peanut Curry recipe that I'd entered on the NPR contest "How Low Can You Go?" and cooked it as part of his series on thrifty eating. He said:

Did we like it? My wife and I really liked the dish - we both ate it hungrily and had seconds.... This recipe was inexpensive and straightforward enough that I wouldn’t modify anything at all.

Alas, The Simple Dollar does not link back to Cook for Good and says that the recipe is in the public domain, which it is not. It's easy to get permission to use Cook for Good resources, but use must include links back and statements that the content is used with permission. See the resources page for details.

DrGreene.com features Cook for Good's Linda Watson as Guest Blogger

July 20 through 26 The goal of DrGreene.com is "to improve children's health by informing and inspiring those who care for them. By addressing the connection between the health of our children and the health of the environment, we strive to make a difference for both." The American Medical Association calls DrGreene.com "the pioneer physician website." I'm honored to be the featured guest blogger for the week of July 20th. Drop by and join the discussion!

Cook for Good Foodraiser raises over $2,250 for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

July 18 What an event! Even on a beautiful Saturday morning, we nearly filled the Colony Theater with 278 people at a special showing of Food, Inc. We raised over $2,250 to bring wholesome food and essential kitchen equipment to needy families in our area. Teresa Jones did a great job of describing the new 5-Step Animal Welfare program at Whole Foods. And Richard Holcomb of Coon Rock Farm did a marvelous job with the Q&A session afterwards, with some great help from Jamie DeMent. Read more >

Rancho Gordo says: "fits the bill for summer cooking"

July 14 Steve Sando, the heirloom-bean maestro behind Rancho Gordo, featured Cook for Good's recipe for Yellow Indian Woman Beans in his July newsletter. Steve says:

Cook For Good is a fun website focusing on good food, green food, healthy food and making it all economical. You know I couldn't care less about a lot of this stuff, I just want something delicious and this recipe fits the bill, especially for summer cooking. Check out the rest of the website as well. 

New eBook Out: Cook for Good Spring

June 25Cook for Good Spring includes 21 new recipes, plus a whole new season of menus, shopping lists, and a cooking plan that includes ice cream and magic quiche. The improved shopping lists now show how much of each item will be left at the end of the month. You'll also learn how to save time and money by making the best use of your freezer. Learn more and buy one today!

Take Part says "A handy and utilitarian website for simple, affordable, and healthy home-cooking"

June 23 — The cause-related site Take Part has a special feature on Cook for Good in its Hungry for Change section, sponsored by the documentary Food, Inc., which says in part:

A key ingredient to Cook For Good's plan is preparation, providing you with versatile, staple ingredients that can be used for a variety of meals throughout the week. And you don't have to hold a culinary degree or watch the Food Network religiously in order to make these essentials, like bread and yogurt, from scratch. In addition to saving you cash and time, Cook For Good also reduces on your environmental impact by lowering your food miles, eliminating packaging, eating less meat, and minimizing your trips to the grocery store. For an added bonus, you also get to spend more quality time with your friends and family as you prepare the meals.

Jennypincher says "much easier than Once A Month Cooking"

June 21 — Jenny Kerr, the thrifty "single girl trying to save a buck" behind JennyPincher, tried the Cook for Good plan and blogged her results:

This method of cooking definitely gets an A+ in my book. It was much easier to do than the OAMC method I tried (which was really no method just make a bunch of things on the same day). If you are interested in trying this, I would recommend purchasing Linda's e-book  to get the detailed methods of how to do this cooking. She is so organized, she lays this out in a step by step list of instructions. I love it !!!

Sustainable Grub says "fantastic"

June 20 — Thanks to Sustainable Grub's Dee Reid for writing to North Carolina's Lt. Governor Walter Dalton about his plan to get people to eat more fruits and veggies (good) without caring whether they are in season or where they come from (bad) as I asked people to do on a local sustainable-food list. Dee says:

(Thanks  to Linda Watson for emailing allies about this; she runs the fantastic Cook for Good website that shows you how to eat real food, including organics, without breaking the budget.)

Gradspot asks "Cook for Good: A New Food Religion?

June 9 — Joan Mitchell of Gradspot writes

While most people are down to conserve some energy or save a polar bear when it suits their fancy, it takes a special kind of eco-warrior to expend cash or effort to benefit the planet. But what if someone were to tell you that you could save money, time, empty calories, AND energy (while also producing less waste) all at once.

After taking a look through the menus and recipes, I'm convinced of two aspects of the plan: 1) it would save most if not all grads I know a ton of money, and 2) it would be a healthier option for most if not all grads I know.

I'm really flattered and delighted that Joan got the big point of Cook for Good. But folks, please don't don't start calling me "Saint Linda of the Beans"!

Chow calls Cook for Good "Food Stamp Gourmet"

June 2 — Joyce Slaton says in Chow

Something nice about Cook for Good's plan that I've never seen before: There's a "green" plan that emphasizes organic/sustainably raised ingredients that'll run you $1.67 a meal, as well as a cheaper plan that feeds you for $1.16 a meal.... The recipes are a cut above those on your typical "eat for less" sites too, which tend to rely heavily on ground beef .... For example, this asparagus custard uses discarded asparagus ends to make a flavorful side dish.

Three Dollar Dinner says "Two Carrots Up"

June 2 — Jerry Kolber shows how to eat healthy, delicious, and cheap meals even in Manhattan on his site The Three Dollar Dinner. In today's newsletter, Jerry writes:

Cook for Good [...] offers a similar idea to www.ThreeDollarDinner.com - how to cook healthy food cheaply and quickly at home. Linda gets the prices even lower than I do and it's worth checking out her awesome recipes and ideas for even more food revolution inspiration.... CookForGood.com gets two carrots up from us.

Mark Bittman says "Real Food can be Cheaper than Junk Food"

May 29 — 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.

Lifehacker says "Cook for Good Plans Meals for Less than Two Dollars"

May 27 — Kevin Purdy writes in his Lifehacker blog:

Cook For Good ostensibly wants to help you use less energy and create less waste in planning your meals. The notable side effect, though, is a meal plan that averages a cost of $1.20 per person, per meal.

That per-meal cost, averaged out across each week, is under the standard version of the "spring menu," which utilizes more fresh produce and seasonal ingredients. Go the "green" route, buying local and organic food, and your cart cost comes to about $1.99 per meal; switch back to the "winter menu," and it gets cheaper. All those prices are, as the site's creator points out, less than the individual food stamp allowance in many states.

Silver Medal! Cook for Good in NPR's "How Low Can You Go?" contest

May 4 — My Potato-Peanut Curry came in second in the NPR's challenge to make a great meal for under $10. (Select "most recommended" as your style on the page to see the final tally.) Thanks to everyone who voted for it!

Cook for Good in the News & Observer

April 1st —Thanks so much to reporter Andrea Weigl and photographer Corey Lowenstein for the great story on Cook for Good in the N&O. See Dollar Menu at Home in the April 1st issue — no joke!