15 People Share Their Favorite Poverty Meal From Childhood That They Still Eat Today

Kitty Watters via Flickr

Whether your family was just trying to save some money or you grew up poor, chances are we all have a cheap meal we remember from our childhood. That cheap meal might sound weird to others, but in a weird way, you’re sort of comforted by it…so much so that you still eat it today.

If you’re suddenly imagining a food you used to eat as a kid and still eat today, regardless of where you are financially, you’re one of the hundreds who have a favorite “poverty meal.” The question was posed on a recent Reddit thread, and the answers are making us lick our lips and scratch our heads all at the same time. Here are the best answers.

  1. Butter Noodles

    “And if you were lucky to have parm and garlic, then you’re eating good.”

  2. “Ghetto Mac”

    “It’s where make some pasta and add in whatever you can find in the fridge or cabinets. Cheese, lunchmeat, spam, spices, etc. No two meals were ever the same.”

  3. Steak Fingers

    “Grew up poor, but my mom sure knew how to stretch a dollar. She would make steak fingers out of the cheapest cuts she could find. Tenderize, fry them up make gravy out of the drippings and serve with mashed potatoes. The whole meal probably cost less than 5 bucks in 70s dollars, and I’m telling you nothing tasted better. I made it for my kids when they were growing up and they still ask me for it sometimes. She would be 94 today.”

  4. Squash and Eggs

    “Grew the squash and eggs are cheap enough, or trade with the neighbors. You just cut the squash into thin round and cook in a pan with a little oil until they’re just soft. Scramble the eggs with the squash, add a bunch of pepper, some salt. Sometimes we ate it over noodles or rice.”

  5. Beans and Rice

    “I remember a big pot of beans living in the fridge. Hungry? Get some beans. Don’t like what was for dinner? Get some beans. Upset stomach? Beans.”

  6. Peanut Butter Sandwich

    “Nothing beats a good ole-fashioned PB&J, hold the J.”

  7. English Muffin Pizza

    “A jar of pasta sauce, English muffins, mozzarella and toppings of your choice. The pasta sauce is the most expensive part, and if you make it, and the English muffins at home, each mini pizza is like 30 cents.”

  8. Toast

    “If you have butter or something to slap on top even better, but a few pieces of toast usually satisfies my hunger for a decent amount of time.”

  9. Potatoes With Salt and Margarine

    “Cheap ingredients found in almost every home and easy to make. Also, the starch in potatoes makes you feel full for pretty long.”

  10. Soup or Stew

    “My grandma (who grew up during WWII) taught me that you can make soup from almost anything. At least once a week I just throw a bunch of scrap veggies, left over meat, rice and whatever other random bits are left over from the week’s meals into a pot with some stock, boil it all together and bam.”

  11. Saltines with Cream Cheese

    “If you haven’t had a chance to try it yet, do it!”

  12. Poor Man’s Swedish Meatballs

    “Cream of mushroom soup + pasta + Costco frozen meatballs + spices = swedish meatballs. *Chef’s kiss.*”

  13. Pancakes

    “Cheap to make and filling, can be eaten with whatever is in your fridge.”

  14. Dal

    “Aside from turmeric you can buy all the ingredients for less than $2 a pound. Dal is magic. Lentils in general deserve more love. They are SO GOOD FOR YOU, and are delicious. They make a great meat substitute if you’re broke or just want to go meatless.”

  15. Mexi-Mac

    “Cook a pound of ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning. Make a box of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. Mix together. Also, that’s your salt quota for the week.”

Have you ever eaten one of these poverty meals before? What’s one you’re your childhood that isn’t listed here?