The first cookbook I ever owned was Mollie Katzen’s “Moosewood Cookbook,” which taught me how to make whimsical-looking quiches, cornbread, and vegetarian soups when I was wading past college. . Truly alone for the first time, I found solace in the book’s handwritten pages and sketchy illustrations, which struck a balance between yearning for beautiful things and remaining realistic about a person’s time and budget. Since then, I haven’t found many contemporary cookbooks that spoke directly to people who are, frankly, broke – apart from vintage collections of recipes from women’s church groups and the phenomenal “Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown. (Stay tuned for an interview with Brown, coming soon on my podcast, Extra Spicy.)
Enter the “Poorcraft Cookbook”, an upcoming entry in the genre written and illustrated by Nero Villagallos O’Reilly that is shaping up to be one of the most impactful cookbooks of the year. Presented in graphic novel form, with an art style reminiscent of silent cartoons from the 1930s, the book is a collection of culinary wisdom for beginners. Want to learn how to shop smart at the dollar store? Not sure how to best clean a refrigerator? Confused about the labeling of organic and GMO products? O’Reilly’s characters, resourceful Penny and her stressed-out pal Milli, explain the things we all wish we knew when standing out on our own.