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

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

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.

Frankie Ce­lenza

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