The Poorcraft Cookbook Review

The Poorcraft Cookbook is a quick and easy guide for how to shop for and prepare inexpensive meals for yourself or your family.

I was not born poor, but there have been a number of times in my life where I’ve had to eat like I was. This was mostly to make room for discretionary spending elsewhere. Today, as a well paid software engineer, I still prefer to shop wisely and prepare all of my meals at home if I can help it, mostly to neurotically save money away since I never really did during my 20s. So I was drawn to the recently released Poorcraft Cookbook from Iron Circus in order to get a totalizing sense of how to save money when budgeting for your food costs, since that is where most people overpay. Mostly by eating out during their lunch break or grabbing fast food after work. Poorcraft makes the case that through meal preparation, some investment in a deep freezer and a well planned shopping list, you can drive down your food spending cost while not sacrificing your health on subpar options. Poorcraft, as they say, is the art of living well on less.

The book is divided into two illustrated segments, an introductory segment on how to actually shop for and store your food, as well as 120+ page list of recipes. The introductory segment is the most useful from a practical standpoint, as it contains some food storage and preparation nuggets you can implement in your kitchen right away. The book is presented through something of a goofus and gallant routine between two neighbors, Penny and Millie. Millie represents the average reader in that she makes assumptions about shopping for food, doesn’t always have time to prep and eat as well as she could, and is overspending on food. Penny is the Poorcraftswoman that teaches Millie, and thus we the readers, everything we need to get started on shopping to save, how to clean a kitchen, and where and why to buy in bulk. Poorcraft is printed in black and white and the characters have a 1930’s Walt Disney sort of vibe to their designs, calling back to a time in United States history where pinching pennies would have been top of the priority list.

While the introductory segment is excellent, I feel like the actual cookbook segment is not as strong, mostly because limiting the colors to black and white doesn’t do the illustrations of the food many favors. Having an illustrated step by step list of how to prepare the food is probably a wish come true from for some people, so I can give that endeavor praise, but the food still doesn’t look great with no color pallet. Given what you can learn from the intro segment, it is probably best to come up with you want to cook on your own. But that being said, I’m posting some photos of the Huevos Rancheros I made from the cookbook, which I’ve made multiple times at posting.

I excluded avocado from my recipe, too mushy for this millennial
All diced and ready to mix. This photo was from a subsequent attempt, which didn’t use a food processor
The complete dish from my first food processor hash. Not as colorful as the photo above

The Poorcraft Cookbook was released on March 2022 through an Iron Circus Kickstarter campaign. Written and drawn by Nero Villagallos O’Reilly. Copies are not yet available on the Iron Circus website just yet, but I found some for sale on Amazon, and my local library, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, had a copy. So your local library might have one too if one of the staff members is all about graphic novels.

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