When the Great Depression reached its peak in 1933, some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed, according to History.com. To be sure, times were tough. The high unemployment rate meant that for many families, good, nutritious food was scarce. When you think of the Great Depression, you probably think of long bread lines and grandma’s stories of modest meals that were scraped together with whatever ingredients they could afford. You might think cuisine back then would be considered #strugglemeals today, but you’d be surprised to learn that some dishes from the era are as tasty as they are affordable. Check out this list of recipes from the Great Depression that are sure to satisfy—and fit into your budget.
1. Hoover Stew
When you’re looking for a hearty meal that’s not too rough on your wallet, soups and stews are always a good option. Hoover Stew will be a hit with the kids, as it features two of their favorite foods: macaroni and hot dogs. Get the recipe from Time Travel Kitchen.
2. Egg Drop Soup
Filling and cheaper than meat, eggs are a great foundation on which to build a budget-friendly meal. You might not know that one of your favorite Chinese takeout items, egg drop soup, was actually a popular Depression-era staple. Get the recipe from Great Depression Cooking With Clara.
3. Poor Man’s Spaghetti
Pasta is another meatless way to stretch your budget and fill your tummy. Don’t worry, though—this recipe includes bacon. Eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley round out this simple dish. Get the recipe from My Recipes.
4. Corned Beef Fritters
Corned beef was a popular choice during the Depression because of its widespread availability and versatility. And when you turn corned beef into fritters? Pure crispy deliciousness! Serve alongside seasonal vegetables or potatoes. Get the recipe from The 1940s Experiment.
5. Hobo Beans And Sausage Casserole
This hearty casserole is simple, tasty and filling. Swap out the sausage for hot dogs to make it more kid-friendly (and cheaper, too!). Get the recipe from Recipe Lion.
6. Poor Man’s Pudding
Just because you’re a little tight on cash, it doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert. Here’s a sweet treat that won’t break the bank. Get the recipe from A Hippie With A Minivan.
7. Vanilla Depression Cake
Even in tough times, there are celebrations to be had—and that means cake! Eggs, butter and milk were all hard to come by during the Depression, so this cake is made without them. Get the recipe from Premeditated Leftovers.
8. Great Depression Pork Stew
Two pork chops can go a long way when paired with potatoes and celery. If you’re looking for a comforting meal on a cold night that doesn’t require a lot of dough, look no further than this pork stew recipe from The Full Table.