Katherine Deumling is a native of Portland, Oregon, who grew up in Germany and has lived in Italy and Mexico; her culinary leanings have been shaped by these places and cultures. She runs the small cooking school Cook With What You Have and is passionate about helping people cook more often and have more fun in the kitchen. Katherine is a board member of Slow Food USA and the former chair of Slow Food Portland.

Take Slow Food USA’s $5 challenge

Mark your calendar

August 22, 2011

How hard is it to cook a meal from scratch with whole ingredients that costs no more than $5 per person?

If you know how to cook and have access to fresh vegetables, grains, beans, and other whole, unprocessed foods, then it isn’t hard. If you don’t have that kind of access, are on a very limited budget with little time, and don’t know how to cook, then it’s a major challenge.

Slow Food USA is launching a new campaign to bring attention to these issues with a national Day of Action in September.

We organized the $5 Challenge Campaign in response to increasing rates of diet-related disease, a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and the decline of the family meal. Too many people live in communities where fast food is the only option, and there is no access to fresh, healthy ingredients. Our nation’s food and farm policies subsidize the foods that are the worst for us. It should be easier and cheaper to buy fresh, unprocessed food than fast food — but usually, that’s not the case.

So if you plan on having dinner on Saturday, September 17, take the challenge! You can use it as an opportunity to share tips on frugal, creative cooking with friends and family. And this time of year — at the height of the season’s bounty — we’ll have many options. The more expensive items like meat and fish won’t be missed with all the beautiful veggies.

Katherine’s pinto beans, hard-cooked eggs with yogurt-cilantro sauce, a bit of Oregon albacore, and green salad — a good example of a $5 dinner.

Slow Food USA will be collecting recipes for the $5 Challenge and has many resources for the campaign online.

Join thousands of people nationwide who believe food and farming should serve everyone. To be part of the day’s story, make sure to register your event online — every event counts!

Katherine Deumling is on the board of Slow Food USA.

There are 3 comments on this item
Add a comment
1. by vintagejenta on Aug 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM PDT

Wow - I think it would be more fun to do a $5 total cost dinner. $5/person is kind of a lot. That’s $20 for a meal for a family of four!

Also, I would not consider hard boiled eggs with canned tuna and a salad a “meal.” Maybe it’s because I like my stuff all mixed up together, but when you can get cabbage for $0.49/pound and some places have ground beef or chicken legs for $1 or $2 per pound, I’d have a hard time justifying hardboiled eggs for dinner. Fried egg sandwiches, yes. But not hardboiled eggs.

2. by Katherine Deumling on Aug 25, 2011 at 9:04 PM PDT

Yes, I agree that $5 is actually a lot per person. There are a million ways to cook well for much less than that per person. The $5 amount came from what I think a typical fast food meal is including a large soda of some kind. The idea of the campaign is less about being precise about the $5 and more about cooking and eating together on a budget and your cabbage and beef idea is the perfect example. And as to had-boiled eggs--we have them for dinner frequently, especially in the summer with some cooked green beans and potatoes and tomatoes in a sort of simplified Salade Nicoise. But I like eggs pretty much any way imaginable.

3. by Norma Ferris on Sep 9, 2011 at 5:25 PM PDT

Ilove this site and all the wonderful things I am learning from it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Norma Ferris

Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [http://www.example.com "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Our Table

Joy of Cooking app

A new tool for the kitchen

The latest in our collection of cooking apps.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice