Discussion Guide for Wildly Affordable Organic

Book clubs, dinner clubs, CSA or co-op members, and even just your own sweet self can use this discussion guide to squeeze more value out of the book Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet—all on $5 a Day or Less. Make your conversation even more fun by bringing dishes made from recipes in the book, like they did at the Cookbook Bookclub at the Cameron Village Library in Raleigh. If you take a Cook for Good Challenge, use questions from this book guide to spice up the conversation at your end-of-challenge celebration.


cookbook book club choice wildly affordable organic at the Cameron Village Library in Raleigh NC


  1. In the first chapter, author Linda Watson describes her first shopping trip on a dollar-a-meal budget. What made it difficult? What would you have done differently? How has the way you shop and cook changed with your financial circumstances?
  2. The first night of her budget experiment, Linda uses a bread machine to make bread. What recipes did she develop to avoid using this appliance? Why? What appliances do you use regulary to make your cooking easier or more fun? Are there any that you avoid?
  3. Linda learned a lot about thrifty and delicious cooking from her mother-in-law who learned to cook from scratch while living on a farm during the Depression. What have you learned from your mother or other family members? How have cooking and family meals changed over the past few generations? Who is the biggest influence in your cooking style? How are you sharing your cooking skills with others?
  4. In the TED talk below about the origins of pleasure, Paul Bloom says that we are essentialists: our beliefs about the origins of objects change our perceptions of their value. He cites studies showing that kids will enjoy vegetables more if they think they come from McDonalds and that adults enjoy wine more if when they think it's expensive. Do you think that's true for you? What other indicators of value can you give foods so that thrifty meals are even more enjoyable?
  5. Wildly Affordable Organic has 100 recipes, but it also has shopping lists, menus, and cooking plans. What other organizational ideas did you find useful? What do you do to manage the whole cycle of feeding your family, from planning, shopping, and growing to cleaning and storage?
  6. One chapter is called "Something from Nothing." Would you try any of these techniques to squeeze more out of your food dollars? What tricks do you use that aren't in the book?
  7. Have the buy-local and organic movements changed the way you shop? How? What's more important to you, local or organic?
  8. The subtitle for Wildly Affordable Organic mentions "Get Healthy." What did you see in the book that would make you healthier? What could be adopted by your schools and organizations to everybody healthier? Should they take these actions?
  9. Another part of the subtitle says "Save the Planet." How can something as personal and simple as food choices help save the planet? What does it mean to "vote with your fork?" What are you voting for with yours? Does this book inspire you to try something new?
  10. Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger says that good community nutrition is like a stool with three legs: affordability, availability, and education. Are there areas in your community where people might have money for food but no access to healthy ingredients? Are there people who can get good food but don't have a place, equipment, or skills to cook? What can you do to improve this situation?
  11. Linda says "thrift enables luxury." What does she mean? If you do this yourself, what are some examples?