Tastemade’s ‘Struggle Meals’ shows how to eat well for less


‘Struggle Meals’ – Cooking power to the people

Frankie Celenza

With the cost of groceries climbing ever higher, a show like “Struggle Meals” is most welcome.

Currently streaming on the foodie/travel digital platform Tastemade, the series walks viewers through the steps in making creative, delicious meals that don’t break the bank, offering up tips on how to reduce their food bills dramatically by eliminating waste and sharing kitchen hacks and tasty recipes. The show’s theme, “Life can be a struggle but a good meal doesn’t have to be” says it all.

Leading the charge is the series’ host, New York-based chef Frankie Celenza, who is passionate about not wasting food.

“The biggest thing,” explains Celenza, who won a New York Emmy Award for his YouTube series “Frankie Cooks,” “is really making sure that everybody cooks with everything that they buy because the U.N. has this stat that 40 percent of food in America is thrown out. That’s the U.N. So in theory, if one cooks or consumes everything they buy at the supermarket, they’re saving 40 percent of their money, right? So right there, you can almost double the efficiency of what you’re spending.”

A great example of that, he says, is the corn chowder he made in one recent episode.

“We’ve got a bucket where every vegetable end, we’re throwing it in there and making stocks from it,” he says. “We just did a corn chowder … where the broth was literally corn husk and cob leftovers, like made a corn broth. I mean, that’s just saving money. That’s cheaper than using a bouillon cube. It’s cheaper than using three boxes of vegetable stock. It’s a byproduct of the main ingredient. It’s good.”

Celenza also doesn’t like the fact that Americans consume a lot of food prepared outside the home, such as canned foods and takeout. With the advent of this, he says, people didn’t need to cook and so they never learned. He intends to give that power back to them by giving them knowledge.

“Food cost is high in America,” he says, “and this is the country that has made it easier than any other in the world for you not to cook – because you’re too busy, you can’t cook. ‘We’ll do it for you, have this frozen food. Go through this drive-thru.’ They’ve made it really easy and stolen – I personally think since the 1970s on, we kind of like lost a generation of home cooks and I think people want it back.”

Viewers can learn more about “Struggle Meals” by visiting its Facebook pages, where Celenza offers up more tips and recipes and even takes requests.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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