As struggle times dictate, you need to cut some spending. You, of course, you cannot reduce your rent or basic utilities like phone bills and internet bills. So, what usually happens — you watch your food spending. Enter struggle meals.
A lot of us are familiar with the struggle of low funds, especially if you grew up in a low-income household.
So as COVID-19 restricts our access to income, our first response is panic but for many of us our second is “here we go again.”
So as Jabookie’s tweet asked, we compiled a list of struggle meals you can incorporate into your meal plan today.
what are some struggle meals from your culture/household that are actually good as fuck
— giabuchi (@jaboukie) March 17, 2020
The responses to the tweet included several wacky versions of Mac n Cheese, PB&J, and Hot dogs. Something called Hot Dog Octopus with spaghetti/macaroni is pretty jarring but to be honest, it might actually slap.
Hot dog octopus. You can put them on spaghetti or macaroni pic.twitter.com/oc6Qxrpo8K
— 1984’s George Whorewell (@EwdatsGROSS) March 17, 2020
Others found new ways to make a peanut, butter, and jelly
we used to mix pb&j in a bowl then eat it with crackers like a dip
— alicia w (@theaaliciaw) March 17, 2020
But most of the responses were overwhelmingly coming from POC and “ethnic” households.
The basics for these cuisines are usually some kind of carb. Whether it’s rice in many African and Asian communities or arepas and tortillas in Latino communities or Na’an in Brown communities.
Lots of our foods have a basis in a good old carb.
When it comes to Latino struggle foods, many recommended dishes with arepas or tortillas as bases.
in terms of being cheap: arepas and lunch meat/sliced cheese ! beans and rice with lots of adobo and red pepper and even chorizo if its feasible
— maybe: anna (@hostarastrology) March 17, 2020
Eastern Europeans have those potato struggle meals on lock.
boiled potatoes w/ onions fried in butter, little salt and cumin on top, side of sour milk. old school Eastern European peasant food.
— Aleš Kot (@ales_kot) March 17, 2020
And sometimes when you don’t have a lot of bread, all you need is some.
For us it's oil and bread. Literally just olive oil with salt and pepper, and baguette style bread. You can use plain white or wheat bread, but it's not as good.
— whatever (@mah_gem) March 18, 2020
pita bread and puck cheese… all the arab influenced households shaking pic.twitter.com/R0pQAxTRXn
— aida osman (@shutupaida) March 18, 2020
Ramen is known to be cheap on its own but with various ingredients, you can up your struggle meal.
ramen with an egg cracked in baby
— bad boy (@badboychadhoy) March 17, 2020
While Ramen might be THE struggle food for college students, there are definitely better struggle foods in the Asian community.
Dumpling soup! Any veggies you have + salt and garlic/onion powder, a Maggi cube if you’re lucky enough to have one, flour water butter/lard for the dumplings. And flour to thicken the broth. Feels very WW1 when eating it, but you won’t starve lmao
— Kayla Ancrum (@KaylaAncrum) March 17, 2020
Everyone knows that if you don’t have a lot of carb base a good filling struggle meal is legumes.
Every color beans, lentils, even chickpeas or “garbanzo beans.”
im from louisiana so my entire culture is struggle meals lol. but red beans and rice, smothered smoked sausage and potatoes, pastalaya, white beans, damn i can keep going
— Pete le chat (@pensivethot) March 17, 2020
i used to love hotdogs cut up in baked beans as a child
— Cameron (@Cameraonhold) March 17, 2020
Eggs usually don’t get enough recognition for being packed with protein, versatile and relatively cheap.
If you think about it an omelet is just eggs with at least 1-2 extra ingredients.
Stir fried tomatoes with scrambled eggs, can be served over rice or noodles. A classic in every Chinese household tbh
— erique | 张尔宁 | (they/them/祂) (@er_ique) March 17, 2020
Whether they hail from an African household or a Brown/South Asian household curries can easily be tasty on a budget.
telugus eat a lot of bendakaya pulusu, sautee’d okra in a spicy curry soup pic.twitter.com/9EIgwX0QCP
— My Bloody Quarantine (@ElSangito) March 17, 2020
Struggling Struggle Meals
The name of the game when it comes to making tasty meals is when faced with fewer ingredients add some spices. But then there are the struggling struggle meals.
Minimal ingredients, minimal effort.
You can get real crazy and throw it in the microwave w/ a little butter
— Vic-Triol (@Vic_Triol) March 18, 2020
grab a tortilla, heat it up, grab salt, sprinkle salt inside the tortilla, roll it up. Boom. Taco de Sal. Mexican Struggle meal delicacy
— linds (@lindsxhs) March 17, 2020
You could also go for maximum hydration meals.
Ice soup really do be something else
— Gus Man The Bodacious (@man_of_gus) March 17, 2020
Or maybe sadder struggle meals.
While many of these struggle meals remind us of harder times, they also may remind us of comforting childhoods and family gatherings.
So while you’re in social distancing mode try some of these meals to save some bread until we can all go back to our luxurious 5 ingredient dishes.