27 votes

What's the cheapest food that makes you really happy?

I'm a person of simple tastes. It's not hard to make me happy foodwise. I don't need fancy stuff. I'd probably be happier with tasty street food than in a pricey restaurant. I actually like pizza from the grocery store. What about you? What's some super cheap food that makes you instantly happy?

83 comments

  1. [2]
    vord
    (edited )
    Link
    My wife and I had just moved, just had an income surge and were saving as much as we could to pay down debt. We had spaghetti and meatballs for the third time in a week, and we thought "Huh, I...

    My wife and I had just moved, just had an income surge and were saving as much as we could to pay down debt. We had spaghetti and meatballs for the third time in a week, and we thought "Huh, I don't know if I could ever get sick of spaghetti and meatballs" Turns out the answer is yes, after one complete month of eating spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Took a year before we re-introduced that meal to the rotation.

    Saved so much money that month though.

    15 votes
    1. drannex
      Link Parent
      When I was younger, and after my father lost his job, we were really poor. And we would take a giant metal pot and make gallons of (authentic italian) spaghetti sauce with meatballs and throw it...

      When I was younger, and after my father lost his job, we were really poor. And we would take a giant metal pot and make gallons of (authentic italian) spaghetti sauce with meatballs and throw it in the freezer, and then the next night we would make the same portions of Chili.

      We would mainly alternate between the two for a solid month or two (with some different things thrown in there from time to time, different type of rices, cheeses, etc), and then make more and repeat.

      There were moments you grow tired of it, but there are a lot of variation you can make on the daily.

      4 votes
  2. [3]
    stu2b50
    Link
    I am irrationally satisfied with the cheapest McD items like a McDouble or McChicken. I'm doubtful every time whether or not a McChicken actually has chicken in it, but for some reason I do like them.

    I am irrationally satisfied with the cheapest McD items like a McDouble or McChicken. I'm doubtful every time whether or not a McChicken actually has chicken in it, but for some reason I do like them.

    11 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah. There's chicken in it for sure, it's a cheap protein. If McDonald's (and other multinacional fast food) was cheap in Brazil I'd be very unhealthy...

      Yeah. There's chicken in it for sure, it's a cheap protein. If McDonald's (and other multinacional fast food) was cheap in Brazil I'd be very unhealthy...

      4 votes
    2. frostycakes
      Link Parent
      I can't believe I'm saying this, but your post made me crave a McGangbang for the first time in years. Also, if you get the chance, try the cheap greasy gloriousness that is the Hot and Spicy...

      I can't believe I'm saying this, but your post made me crave a McGangbang for the first time in years. Also, if you get the chance, try the cheap greasy gloriousness that is the Hot and Spicy McChicken , it's so good that the McD's in my state don't even sell the regular McChickens, just those. I honestly didn't know regular ones were a thing until I moved out of state.

      3 votes
  3. [5]
    EgoEimi
    Link
    Under $1. Hot toast slathered with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sugar. The heat of the toast melts the peanut butter, giving it a decadently creamy texture. The honey and cinnamon sugar add...

    Under $1. Hot toast slathered with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sugar. The heat of the toast melts the peanut butter, giving it a decadently creamy texture. The honey and cinnamon sugar add warmth and sweetness.

    Under $1. Lao Gan Ma chili crisp oil over rice and fried egg. See this vid about this anti-recipe. It has your carbs, protein, and fat, and is simply delicious.

    Under $1. Spaghetti aglio e olio. Aromatic, garlicky, spicy, satisfying. All you need is spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes. Clean up is simple with one pot and one saucepan used.

    11 votes
    1. [4]
      Cycloneblaze
      Link Parent
      I made this tonight based on this suggestion. Pretty good.

      Spaghetti aglio e olio

      I made this tonight based on this suggestion. Pretty good.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        EgoEimi
        Link Parent
        Glad you like it! The dish can greatly scale up in quality very cheaply: This is a recipe you can kick up several notches with high-end ingredients—bronze-cut pasta, good oil, fresh peppers,...

        Glad you like it!

        The dish can greatly scale up in quality very cheaply:

        1. This is a recipe you can kick up several notches with high-end ingredients—bronze-cut pasta, good oil, fresh peppers, parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano —and keep under $2 per serving.

        2. Mastering the recipe and ingredient ratios will also yield massive dividends.

        5 votes
        1. culturedleftfoot
          Link Parent
          Just FYI, you will incur the wrath of a thousand nonnas with that Parmigiano.

          Just FYI, you will incur the wrath of a thousand nonnas with that Parmigiano.

          2 votes
      2. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I’ve made it with homemade pasta. Definitely recommend.

        I’ve made it with homemade pasta. Definitely recommend.

        1 vote
  4. [5]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Don’t know how widely available these are elsewhere, but Smartfood popcorn + Laoganma chili crisp is cheap, easy, and so VERY satisfying. The cheddar powder on the popcorn synthesizes with the...

    Don’t know how widely available these are elsewhere, but Smartfood popcorn + Laoganma chili crisp is cheap, easy, and so VERY satisfying. The cheddar powder on the popcorn synthesizes with the chili crisp to make a flavor I find absolutely irresistible.

    I eat it with a spoon, like cereal. If I didn’t force myself to stop after one bowl, I could eat it forever. I’m not proud of this, but I’m not ashamed either, because everyone else I’ve convinced to try it has also been immediately hooked.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      skullkid2424
      Link Parent
      Sounds pretty similar to pepcorn (featuring the glorious man with 3 first names, BDG). I'm glad I found Lao Gan Ma too - its delicious.

      Sounds pretty similar to pepcorn (featuring the glorious man with 3 first names, BDG). I'm glad I found Lao Gan Ma too - its delicious.

      3 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Yup! I actually stole it from BDG (blessed be his name and his nail polish). I watched his video and thought “wow that sounds great!” and also simultaneously “that is way too much work!” My stuff...

        Yup! I actually stole it from BDG (blessed be his name and his nail polish). I watched his video and thought “wow that sounds great!” and also simultaneously “that is way too much work!”

        My stuff is just lazy pepcorn — most of the flavor but with none of the panache or prep time.

        4 votes
    2. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      OMG, White Cheddar Smartfood is evil!!! I almost always wind up devouring the entire bag in one sitting whenever I get one, even when its the jumbo sized bags. That shit is so bloody addictive!!!...

      OMG, White Cheddar Smartfood is evil!!! I almost always wind up devouring the entire bag in one sitting whenever I get one, even when its the jumbo sized bags. That shit is so bloody addictive!!! Thankfully it's not very calorie dense though, so I don't feel too guilty for pigging out on it. :P

      2 votes
    3. mrbig
      Link Parent
      That's kinda weird but I'd give it a try!

      That's kinda weird but I'd give it a try!

      1 vote
  5. [11]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Right now I'm kinda addicted to Cup Noodles with a can of sardines on cheap oily "tomate sauce". Yep. Please don't judge me. Converted to US dollars the whole shebang costs 1.19.

    Right now I'm kinda addicted to Cup Noodles with a can of sardines on cheap oily "tomate sauce". Yep. Please don't judge me.

    Converted to US dollars the whole shebang costs 1.19.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Hell I’m down with just the can of sardines in olive oil. Gotta add some extra salt and a little pepper. Edit: They're also a great way to eat meat as a "vegetarian" as it's perhaps the lowest...

      Hell I’m down with just the can of sardines in olive oil. Gotta add some extra salt and a little pepper.

      Edit: They're also a great way to eat meat as a "vegetarian" as it's perhaps the lowest carbon-impact source of meat. It's also harder to feel bad about killing a few sardines. On the occasions I do have chicken/pork/beef I have to wonder if it's reasonable that an animal was born, raised and then killed just so I can have lunch.

      4 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        Dude, I literally just ate a can of sardines by myself (I'm out of Cup Noodles).

        Dude, I literally just ate a can of sardines by myself (I'm out of Cup Noodles).

        4 votes
    2. [7]
      vord
      Link Parent
      Some of my preferred instant-ramen mods: Nongshim Shin Ramyun with deli-sliced ham added. Maruchan Chicken, but make with chicken stock instead of water, and only use a tiny pinch of the seasoning...

      Some of my preferred instant-ramen mods:

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        Nongshim's veggie ramyun is so good I've converted a few of my omnivorous friends. I also love Indomie's Mi Goreng noodles. Chili-flavor Top Ramen with some peanut butter and a squeeze of lime...

        For all my noodles I usually throw in some combination of appropriate veggies (bean sprouts, carrots, radish/daikon, corn, etc.), spring onions, and eggs.

        7 votes
        1. meatrocket
          Link Parent
          I went through a short phase of trying as many of the packaged ramen varieties at my local Asian grocery store, and the Mi Goreng were by far my favorite, especially the spicy version.

          I also love Indomie's Mi Goreng noodles.

          I went through a short phase of trying as many of the packaged ramen varieties at my local Asian grocery store, and the Mi Goreng were by far my favorite, especially the spicy version.

          2 votes
        2. Akir
          Link Parent
          Indomie is life. You can satisfy anyone with it. The packets even keep the ingredients separate so you can customize it for your tastes!

          Indomie is life. You can satisfy anyone with it. The packets even keep the ingredients separate so you can customize it for your tastes!

          2 votes
      2. [3]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        Looks awesome, I'd kill to have this kind of variety here.

        Looks awesome, I'd kill to have this kind of variety here.

        3 votes
        1. vord
          Link Parent
          Maruchan Chicken is basically just Cup Noodles without the cup. In the USA, it averages about $0.10 a package. Nongshim though is awesome. Not nearly as cheap as most packaged ramens, but by most...

          Maruchan Chicken is basically just Cup Noodles without the cup.

          In the USA, it averages about $0.10 a package.

          Nongshim though is awesome. Not nearly as cheap as most packaged ramens, but by most other standards for meals it punches above its weight for flavor/dollar.

          3 votes
        2. DrStone
          Link Parent
          I'm in SG, and the grocery store by my has an entire side of an entire long aisle just for instant noodles. Easily over a hundred different brand/flavor varieties. It's a comically large selection.

          I'm in SG, and the grocery store by my has an entire side of an entire long aisle just for instant noodles. Easily over a hundred different brand/flavor varieties. It's a comically large selection.

          3 votes
    3. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      Interesting. I'll have to try this concoction.

      Interesting. I'll have to try this concoction.

  6. [2]
    FishFingus
    Link
    Probably macaroni (or some other kind of pasta, like penne) and cheese. It's so hard to find it done just right and not watery, but when you do, it's perfection. Like Ma used to make, and such.

    Probably macaroni (or some other kind of pasta, like penne) and cheese. It's so hard to find it done just right and not watery, but when you do, it's perfection. Like Ma used to make, and such.

    6 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Have I got great news for you! Here's the best mac & cheese recipe I've ever found. Even better than the box : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWge-2jT9ZQ

      Have I got great news for you! Here's the best mac & cheese recipe I've ever found. Even better than the box : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWge-2jT9ZQ

      2 votes
  7. wervenyt
    Link
    I'm a huge fan of sardines tinned in oil, especially mixed with a soft cheese and some nondistilled vinegar. Maybe it's not amazing by itself, but throw it on some bread with hot sauce, onto a...

    I'm a huge fan of sardines tinned in oil, especially mixed with a soft cheese and some nondistilled vinegar. Maybe it's not amazing by itself, but throw it on some bread with hot sauce, onto a salad, or with pasta, and it's just delightful.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    drannex
    Link
    Nachos and Burritos. Baked tortillas, a can of beans, a can of dices tomatoes (with green chili), a block of grated cheese, and maybe if you splurge a pound of ground beef and salsa. You can...

    Nachos and Burritos.

    Baked tortillas, a can of beans, a can of dices tomatoes (with green chili), a block of grated cheese, and maybe if you splurge a pound of ground beef and salsa. You can easily make several meals out of that, filling, tasty, and you can add and remove a lot of things to it to 'spice' it up. You can easily make 10+ servings for under $10USD.

    Peanut Butter
    As mentioned in my other comment I have a near daily peanut butter sandwich with a few dabs of Tabasco on there.

    Spaghetti and Chili
    As I wrote in this comment:

    When I was younger, and after my father lost his job, we were really poor. And we would take a giant metal pot and make gallons of (authentic italian) spaghetti sauce with meatballs and throw it in the freezer, and then the next night we would make the same portions of Chili.

    We would mainly alternate between the two for a solid month or two (with some different things thrown in there from time to time, different type of rices, cheeses, etc), and then make more and repeat.

    There were moments you grow tired of it, but there are a lot of variation you can make on the daily.

    You can easily make 40+ servings of Chili for less than about $20, easy to cook (just dump it all in a pot and let it stew for a good 12 hours) and then freeze what you don't use immediately. Serve on a plate of rice to further conserve money.


    All of these foods make me quite happy for whatever reason.

    5 votes
    1. Thrabalen
      Link Parent
      Even better than spaghetti and chili is spaghetti and chili. As a single unit. Obviously, chili without beans works best for this, but beanless chili added to a pot of spaghetti (sauce and all) is...

      Even better than spaghetti and chili is spaghetti and chili. As a single unit. Obviously, chili without beans works best for this, but beanless chili added to a pot of spaghetti (sauce and all) is a wonderful complimentary pairing.

      3 votes
  9. culturedleftfoot
    Link
    Just as I'm searching for a link to post about Trader Joe's caramel cheddar popcorn mix, I find out it's recently been discontinued!?! My congressman is definitely going to hear about this.

    Just as I'm searching for a link to post about Trader Joe's edible crack caramel cheddar popcorn mix, I find out it's recently been discontinued!?! My congressman is definitely going to hear about this.

    5 votes
  10. [3]
    jcdl
    Link
    I recently moved a few doors down from a za'atar shop and probably hit them up 3 or 4 times a week. Less than 5 bucks for meat pie and a za'atar is pretty unbeatable.

    I recently moved a few doors down from a za'atar shop and probably hit them up 3 or 4 times a week. Less than 5 bucks for meat pie and a za'atar is pretty unbeatable.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      When you say "a za'atar," what exactly do you mean? I had za'atar fries a few weeks ago as my introduction to the seasoning blend, quite tasty.

      When you say "a za'atar," what exactly do you mean? I had za'atar fries a few weeks ago as my introduction to the seasoning blend, quite tasty.

      4 votes
      1. jcdl
        Link Parent
        Yes I suppose that is ambiguous. It is a baked flat bread with that seasoning.

        Yes I suppose that is ambiguous. It is a baked flat bread with that seasoning.

        3 votes
  11. [9]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Peanut butter. It doesn't even need anything else to be totally satisfying to me. I regularly just take a big spoonful of it and slowly snack on that over time. Like you also mentioned, a good...

    Peanut butter. It doesn't even need anything else to be totally satisfying to me. I regularly just take a big spoonful of it and slowly snack on that over time.

    Like you also mentioned, a good bowl of Ramen noodle soup is also up there for me as well, in terms of cheap but satisfying. And I usually riff every time I make a new bowl, using whatever stock I have handy, and throwing whatever leftovers I have in the fridge into it, so there is endless variety too. E.g. I threw some leftover egg fried rice into the last bowl I made and it was great. The only thing I usually avoid is the seasoning packets that come with them, since they're way way way too salty for me. Instead I just throw in whatever spices or sauces I think will work well with whatever ingredients I threw into it. E.g. Huy Fong chili garlic sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, tarragon, sage, garam masala, etc. Again the variety is virtually endless.

    4 votes
    1. [7]
      drannex
      Link Parent
      A near daily peanut butter sandwich has been my go to for as long as I can remember. Particularly, and people ostracize me for saying this, with a few dabs of Tabasco on there.

      A near daily peanut butter sandwich has been my go to for as long as I can remember. Particularly, and people ostracize me for saying this, with a few dabs of Tabasco on there.

      3 votes
      1. DrStone
        Link Parent
        Hell yeah. I like peanutbutter on celery with dabs of a vinegary hot sauce (tabasco/franks), "fire ants on a log" My daily evening snack is a banana with a big scoop of peanut butter, plus a...

        Hell yeah. I like peanutbutter on celery with dabs of a vinegary hot sauce (tabasco/franks), "fire ants on a log"

        My daily evening snack is a banana with a big scoop of peanut butter, plus a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey.

        3 votes
      2. neely
        Link Parent
        peanut butter, pickle, sriracha

        peanut butter, pickle, sriracha

        2 votes
      3. [4]
        jcdl
        Link Parent
        My grandmother (or maybe her mother) invented an absolutely wacky but surprisingly compatible sandwich: peanut butter and tomato. I could definitely see some sort of hot sauce working with that...

        My grandmother (or maybe her mother) invented an absolutely wacky but surprisingly compatible sandwich: peanut butter and tomato. I could definitely see some sort of hot sauce working with that combo too.

        I was forced to try it as a kid, having no other options for our picnic lunch, and happily ate the rest. My mother had the same "trauma" as a kid.

        Thinking about it now, there's nothing weird about peanut butter as a savoury meal component. That peanut-based thai dipping sauce comes to mind.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          knocklessmonster
          Link Parent
          Your grandma's sandwich makes me think of peanut butter and mayonnaise, which is apparently also a thing, and not bad after I tried it. My dad gave me a recipe for a Thai-style peanut dipping...

          Your grandma's sandwich makes me think of peanut butter and mayonnaise, which is apparently also a thing, and not bad after I tried it.

          My dad gave me a recipe for a Thai-style peanut dipping sauce (I don't know where he got it). We, and my brothers, are pretty nuts for peanut butter anyway. It's something like 1 part each of hoisin, sambal oelek (or chili/garlic paste) and sweet chili sauce, and 3 parts peanut butter, warm it up to mix it, tweak the proportions to taste, and dip whatever you want. Spring rolls work really great with it.

          Another was a peanut curry based around that sauce with the same proportions. You cook whatever veg/meat you want in your curry spice of choice (I've used Indian-style spice mixes, but a Thai paste would be more accurate), build the sauce on top/with the food in the pan, add a can of coconut milk, heat, and mix the sauce and coconut milk together, and you're done.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Akir
            Link Parent
            Oh god, you've reminded me of the trauma of my first stepmother who refused to make peanut butter sandwiches without mayonaise. I didn't like mayo as a kid, but that made me hate it for years later.

            Oh god, you've reminded me of the trauma of my first stepmother who refused to make peanut butter sandwiches without mayonaise.

            I didn't like mayo as a kid, but that made me hate it for years later.

            2 votes
            1. knocklessmonster
              Link Parent
              Oh no. I can see somebody eating that as a sandwich, but I imagine if you add too much extra, like jelly, it'll sort of just be nasty.

              Oh no. I can see somebody eating that as a sandwich, but I imagine if you add too much extra, like jelly, it'll sort of just be nasty.

              1 vote
    2. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Most days I eat some cut up fruit (apple or banana) and maybe 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of peanut butter.

      Most days I eat some cut up fruit (apple or banana) and maybe 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of peanut butter.

      2 votes
  12. autumn
    Link
    Black beans and rice. Toss in some cheese and salsa, and you’ve got yourself a meal!

    Black beans and rice. Toss in some cheese and salsa, and you’ve got yourself a meal!

    4 votes
  13. bilbodwyer
    Link
    Baked beans on toast, a British delicacy. Heat half a can per person of (preferably) Heinz baked beans on the hob Add a little black pepper, butter, and Worcestershire sauce if you're feeling...

    Baked beans on toast, a British delicacy.

    1. Heat half a can per person of (preferably) Heinz baked beans on the hob
    2. Add a little black pepper, butter, and Worcestershire sauce if you're feeling fancy
    3. Toast two slices of bread per person, butter liberally
    4. Cut one slice into triangles, and place either side of the whole slice
    5. Pour the heated beans onto the central slice
    6. Devour

    Extra toast is fine if you want to be able to mop up the sauce. If you're really willing to spend the extra Sterling, poach an egg and place that atop your bean mound. Alternatively, grate some cheddar cheese onto the beans and give it a (very) quick blast under the grill to melt the cheese sufficiently.

    4 votes
  14. Akir
    Link
    Buttered toast. It works with just about the cheapest stuff you can imagine, too. The crappy supermarket breads that are more additives than wheat will do, as does slightly stale bread, and you...

    Buttered toast.

    It works with just about the cheapest stuff you can imagine, too. The crappy supermarket breads that are more additives than wheat will do, as does slightly stale bread, and you can even replace the butter with margarine. Just keep in mind that this is American butter we're talking about, so it's the salted kind.

    If you want to be really fancy, add one more ingredient. You've got a choice, but here's my preferences:

    • Cinnamon Sugar

    • Marmalade

    • Apple Jelly

    • Sweetened Condensed Milk

    • Peanut Butter (crunchy - texture is important!)

    • Chocolate spread (i.e. Nutella)

    Each of these should have a different amount of butter on them; you just need a thin spreading for the jams, you can go without if you're using the other spreads, but you'll want to use extra for cinnamon sugar.

    Cinnamon toast is especially satisfying; you've got sweet, savory, and spice flavors alongside the fundamental satisfaction that is bread, complete with deliciously chewy gluten. It's the satisfying dessert you didn't realize you had. Peanut butter toast is also great because the heat reduces the peanut butter's viscosity, giving you superior mouth-feel. And the condensed milk version is basically a low-rent version of the popular tea snack known as brick toast.

    4 votes
  15. hungariantoast
    Link
    Toast and barbecue sauce is an easy and cheap snack. Butter optional. I really like a good "Carolina barbecue" or "South Carolina mustard" kind of sauce. Hotdog on a piece of white bread. Chicken...

    Toast and barbecue sauce is an easy and cheap snack. Butter optional. I really like a good "Carolina barbecue" or "South Carolina mustard" kind of sauce.

    Hotdog on a piece of white bread.

    Chicken tikka masala can be made cheap enough if you buy ingredients in bulk. Even better (for your wallet, not necessarily your taste buds) if you can buy spice blends in bulk and can skip buying individual spices.

    If you really want to save money, you can 86 the chicken and still get an excellent curry sauce to have with rice.

    I make "white people chicken tikka masala" just about every weekend because I am able to buy stuff in bulk at a local market.

    4 votes
  16. [6]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Marshmallows. I don't often have a sweet tooth, despite what my honey obsession would lend you to believe, but when I do a spoonful of honey or a nice big marshmallow cures it in a flash. I love...

    Marshmallows.

    I don't often have a sweet tooth, despite what my honey obsession would lend you to believe, but when I do a spoonful of honey or a nice big marshmallow cures it in a flash. I love the taste, texture, and smell of marshmallows. So far the best mass produced marshmallow I've come across is from Trader Joe's, it is sadly (as I found out earlier this year) seasonal. So when they're back to being available I'm going to stock up so that I am not going without.

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      TemulentTeatotaler
      Link Parent
      Do you have any favorite honeys? A couple years ago I gave Pitcairn Island honey as a gift (luckily ordered 8 months in advance) to someone who was a fan of explorers and it got me curious as to...

      Do you have any favorite honeys? A couple years ago I gave Pitcairn Island honey as a gift (luckily ordered 8 months in advance) to someone who was a fan of explorers and it got me curious as to what's out there.

      As a kid I remember liking slightly stale marshmallows more than fresh ones... enjoying the image of you having a marshmallow cellar and offering guests Trader Joe's with a good vintage.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        My old landlord came back from one of his Cuban vacations once with a giant jar of buckwheat honey (totally illegal, but he regularly smuggled all sorts of shit from/to Canada to/from Cuba). It...

        My old landlord came back from one of his Cuban vacations once with a giant jar of buckwheat honey (totally illegal, but he regularly smuggled all sorts of shit from/to Canada to/from Cuba). It was so dark in colour I honestly thought it was molasses or tar at first, and when he let me try some it even almost tasted like blackstrap molasses, in that it was incredibly sweet but also somewhat bitter and a tiny bit metallic tasting as well. It was also intensely floral, malty/earthy, and even "spicy" as well, as if it had had cinnamon or ground clove added to it. It was like no honey I had ever tasted before, and none of the buckwheat honeys I have tried since have ever come close to the intensity of that first Cuban one from all those years ago either. In any case I would still definitely recommend giving buckwheat honey a try if you can find it, and have never had it before. It's really unique. @AugustusFerdinand too.

        p.s. Im not honey obsessed, but I am a bit herbal/alternative tea blends obsessed (Try rooibos tea if you have never had it before, it's by far my fav!), which is what has lead me to also experimenting with various honeys over the years too. ;)

        3 votes
        1. TemulentTeatotaler
          Link Parent
          Thanks for the recommendations, I'll have to try rooibos! My username is coming from a proclivity for bad wordplay, abstention from alcohol, but also a fondness for green tea.

          Thanks for the recommendations, I'll have to try rooibos!

          My username is coming from a proclivity for bad wordplay, abstention from alcohol, but also a fondness for green tea.

          1 vote
      2. [2]
        AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        Can't say that I do as each has its own character and so suits individual moods/applications. On out-of-season fruit I generally like a light golden honey that adds the sweetness that the fruit is...

        Can't say that I do as each has its own character and so suits individual moods/applications. On out-of-season fruit I generally like a light golden honey that adds the sweetness that the fruit is missing; early season strawberries are a great option here, same with cantaloupe or any other lightly sweet melon. I have a smoked honey I'll use in cooking to add the sweet and smokiness, but it's not pleasant straight up in my opinion. Same with buckwheat honey, too sulfur-y on its own. If I'm having an unflavored cereal or oatmeal I'll use something strong that's high in berry or citrus flowers.

        My favorites tend to be those that others give me from their personal hives. I have at least half a dozen completely unlabeled personal honeys and, like good whiskey, each has layers of flavor that I don't encounter in widely available brands. Like anything mass produced it's blended to get flavors to be predictable, the small stuff doesn't have that luxury so no two jars will ever be the same.

        If I was absolutely pushed to pick a favorite, it'd just so happen to be one I have right now. Some time ago a patient gave me two jars of the honey from his farm. I have about 2/3 of a jar remaining and I treat it preciously. Pecans are a well known Texas export and he has a pecan farm/grove/orchard full of old growth trees that's been in his family for a few generations. He branched into honey to help his trees pollinate (in the right circumstances pecan trees will self pollinate, but bees, wonderful industrious bees, greatly help it along and increase success by orders of magnitude) which gave him both a much higher yield of pecans and the delicious byproduct of pecan honey without the need to cut down his old growth trees to plant young trees. It tastes like liquefied candied pecans and I don't mean of candied pecans; it tastes as if I put a still warm toasted pecan on my tongue, drizzled a moderately floral honey onto it, and instantly caramelized the honey.

        Since I'm salivating at writing that, I think I'll go have a spoonful of it now...

        3 votes
        1. TemulentTeatotaler
          Link Parent
          Thanks for the detailed response! Liquefied candied pecans sounds amazing... those are some Redwall-tier descriptions you got there.

          Thanks for the detailed response!

          Liquefied candied pecans sounds amazing... those are some Redwall-tier descriptions you got there.

          1 vote
  17. [2]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    It isn't cheap everywhere (definitely not some paces I've been to here in this country lol) but Fast Food. I also generally enjoy some loaf bread with mayo and a round thin slice of "mortadela"...

    It isn't cheap everywhere (definitely not some paces I've been to here in this country lol) but Fast Food. I also generally enjoy some loaf bread with mayo and a round thin slice of "mortadela" (bologna according to Google translate.) Where I live, there's also cheap churros that are great.

    3 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah, branded fast food like McDonald's and KFC is not really cheap in Brazil. But we do have some highly accessible street foods. Coxinha, Brazilian hot dog, churrasquinho, acarajé and abará (in...

      Yeah, branded fast food like McDonald's and KFC is not really cheap in Brazil. But we do have some highly accessible street foods. Coxinha, Brazilian hot dog, churrasquinho, acarajé and abará (in my region).

      1 vote
  18. Wolf
    Link
    Twinkies! I know it's going to nuke my health, but that sugary goodness is worth it.

    Twinkies! I know it's going to nuke my health, but that sugary goodness is worth it.

    3 votes
  19. Thrabalen
    Link
    In the vein of fast food, Burger King. I love some fries and double cheeseburger. Whopper if I'm feeling like splurging. But if I'm going really cheap, homemade macaroni and cheese kills it.

    In the vein of fast food, Burger King. I love some fries and double cheeseburger. Whopper if I'm feeling like splurging.

    But if I'm going really cheap, homemade macaroni and cheese kills it.

    3 votes
  20. Grendel
    Link
    There's a local place close to my house that sells big bowls of home made ramen for about $10. It is absolutely delicious and always makes me feel better if I'm having a rough day.

    There's a local place close to my house that sells big bowls of home made ramen for about $10. It is absolutely delicious and always makes me feel better if I'm having a rough day.

    3 votes
  21. [2]
    ras
    Link
    A grilled hotdog with coleslaw.

    A grilled hotdog with coleslaw.

    2 votes
    1. Parliament
      Link Parent
      Piping hot, freshly fried corn dog with mustard for me.

      Piping hot, freshly fried corn dog with mustard for me.

      2 votes
  22. Icarus
    Link
    Probably my GOAT: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I can't eat them very often since they have so little nutritional value but I have been making those since I was 6 years old. Down those...

    Probably my GOAT: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    I can't eat them very often since they have so little nutritional value but I have been making those since I was 6 years old. Down those with a glass of cold milk while I play video games is my definition of comfort food. I used to keep everything I needed at my work desk to make a PB&J that ended up saving me a lot of money for a period of time. In more recent years, they have gotten more "artisan" with homemade bread, peanut butter, and jam.


    Edit: I suppose I can throw in healthy foods here. But sweet potatoes are excellent and low-calorie. Put a bit of paprika, chili powder, and cumin on them when roasting and you get a nice seasoned dish. Baked potatoes are also cheap and can be made as complicated as you want. Lately, I have been roasting chickpeas tossed in ranch seasoning for a good fiber/protein kick.

    2 votes
  23. symmetry
    Link
    Brunswick - Tuna Salad with Crackers for $1 at the dollar store. No prep required and one of the few things I consider to be tasty in a can. Great for a quick lunch or something to eat while outdoors.

    Brunswick - Tuna Salad with Crackers for $1 at the dollar store. No prep required and one of the few things I consider to be tasty in a can. Great for a quick lunch or something to eat while outdoors.

    2 votes
  24. pycrust
    Link
    I love those frozed meals that are like, 10 for $5, 10 for $4, etc. They're so great for lunch! They take 5 minutes to prepare, taste decent, and actually give you something for lunch besides a...

    I love those frozed meals that are like, 10 for $5, 10 for $4, etc. They're so great for lunch! They take 5 minutes to prepare, taste decent, and actually give you something for lunch besides a sandwich.

    2 votes
  25. TemulentTeatotaler
    Link
    White cheddar macaroni, tuna, and optionally some parmesan/feta cheese on top is amazing. Stir fry is great and flexible. The sauce gives you variety and flavor, noodles or rice as a carb base...

    White cheddar macaroni, tuna, and optionally some parmesan/feta cheese on top is amazing.

    Stir fry is great and flexible. The sauce gives you variety and flavor, noodles or rice as a carb base makes it cheap, and the veggie/protein choice keeps is healthy. I made some today with some frozen veggies (corn, sugar snap peas, broccoli, red pepper, etc.). Tossed in some scrambled eggs, tofu, and two types of beans.

    The batter for spanakopita (spinach pie) is a lot easier to prepare than the full dish and it tastes great on some toast.

    2 votes
  26. krg
    Link
    rice with a bit of veggie/chicken bouillon and some butter is probably the cheapest, most satisfying dish.

    rice with a bit of veggie/chicken bouillon and some butter is probably the cheapest, most satisfying dish.

    2 votes
  27. nukeman
    Link
    Boiled peanuts and muscadine grapes. The latter is especially nice when you pick them yourself, either from a vineyard or a vine in the woods.

    Boiled peanuts and muscadine grapes. The latter is especially nice when you pick them yourself, either from a vineyard or a vine in the woods.

    2 votes
  28. aphoenix
    Link
    Fried Rice is a go-to for me. Fry up some veggies, scramble an egg, add some rice, season and add soy sauce. It's fast, it's cheap, it's delicious, it's hard to beat, it's simple.

    Fried Rice is a go-to for me. Fry up some veggies, scramble an egg, add some rice, season and add soy sauce. It's fast, it's cheap, it's delicious, it's hard to beat, it's simple.

    2 votes
  29. [12]
    PhantomBand
    Link
    I don't really remember prices much but my favorite food is fries, pizza, stuff like that, and that tends to be on the cheaper side. Honestly, fastfood is underrated taste wise. Like, most people...

    I don't really remember prices much but my favorite food is fries, pizza, stuff like that, and that tends to be on the cheaper side.

    Honestly, fastfood is underrated taste wise. Like, most people seem to write it off as garbage that they only eat because it's cheap and they're in a hurry, but I genuinely love it for what it is, and if I had to choose between whatever artsy fartsy shit they serve in a 5 star restaurant (for free) and a nice cheap pizza, I'd always go for the pizza.

    While we're on that topic, is there a more respectful term than fastfood or junkfood? Kinda annoyed that those seem to be the only terms.

    1 vote
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      I think everyone knows that the problem with fast food is not just that it is generally unhealthy, but that it is generally unhealthy while also extremely tasteful and reasonably affordable.

      While we're on that topic, is there a more respectful term than fastfood or junkfood? Kinda annoyed that those seem to be the only terms.

      I think everyone knows that the problem with fast food is not just that it is generally unhealthy, but that it is generally unhealthy while also extremely tasteful and reasonably affordable.

      4 votes
    2. [6]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Why is fast food derogatory to you? Eating a burger can often take under 5 minutes unless you actively try to slow down.

      Why is fast food derogatory to you? Eating a burger can often take under 5 minutes unless you actively try to slow down.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        TemulentTeatotaler
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Fast food got a bad reputation, in the U.S. at least. Some of that is from its history, which included things like not changing cooking oil leading to trans fats and using cheap ingredients....

        Fast food got a bad reputation, in the U.S. at least. Some of that is from its history, which included things like not changing cooking oil leading to trans fats and using cheap ingredients. That's combined with the availability heuristic: people have seen hundreds of "McDonalds does X" articles because it's served billions, regardless of the relative prevalence.

        Some classism may also be at play. Tom Burrell, the "first black man in advertising", had a semi-famous campaign about McDonald's being a positive place to eat/work for, but for the most part Fast Food jobs are used to threaten kids to study hard. Broadly you have people who have the time|education to cook for themselves or the money to eat at restaurants, and then you have those that depend on fast food or are stuck in food deserts

        To my knowledge this reputation isn't really deserved. Fast food is often much healthier for you than eating at a restaurant. Their menus are much more standardized and subject to more scrutiny. Restaurants compete for you as a returning customer by slabbing on the delicious stuff (fat, salt, sugar).

        Frozen foods may have had a similar issues. The first generation offerings may not have tasted great/overused preservatives, and were a sign that you were a kid in a single-parent home or had no partner.

        *The view that MegaCorps destroy family-owned businesses could be another factor. Or manipulation from existing food/agriculture interests... the "food pyramid" was possibly a result of that sort of manipulation.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          rosco
          Link Parent
          Even as a pretty ardent supporter of indulging in fast food i think the statement: is pretty disingenuous. Pound for pound fast food is incredibly calorie dense. Which, for those looking to get...

          Even as a pretty ardent supporter of indulging in fast food i think the statement:

          Fast food is often much healthier for you than eating at a restaurant.

          is pretty disingenuous. Pound for pound fast food is incredibly calorie dense. Which, for those looking to get calories on a budget is a great idea, but as someone who lives in a country with obesity problems I don't think that's what the majority of the US population is after. And while fast food menus are scrutinized, by some, it is because they were identified as one of the main contributing factors of widespread obesity. If we compared fast food to Applebees, Cheesecake Factory, or Olive Garden I think the statement would be correct (as those restaurants are effectively expensive/huge portion fast food); but by and large I would say eating at a one off restaurant is not going to be less healthy than fast food.

          I think you also nailed the mega-corp destruction of mom and pops as another real issue.

          Finally, I think their negative environmental impact and propensity for syphoning wealth out of communities are also big problems.

          That said, I also love to get in on a tacobell bean burrito, mcdonalds chicken sandwich, or wendy's frosty. But I do think people should know what they are consuming and understand the impacts before indulging.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            TemulentTeatotaler
            Link Parent
            It was less a defense of fast food and more a critique of restaurants. No argument here about fast food being fairly unhealthy or contributing to obesity. I just think restaurants haven't had the...

            pretty disingenuous.

            It was less a defense of fast food and more a critique of restaurants.

            while fast food menus are scrutinized, by some, it is because they were identified as one of the main contributing factors of widespread obesity

            No argument here about fast food being fairly unhealthy or contributing to obesity. I just think restaurants haven't had the same reckoning.

            Portion size in the US is wild. I almost exclusively cook for myself now, but my limited experience with the average restaurant has been opaque nutrition information, heavy use of fat/sugar, and enough food for 2-3 meals. Former housemates working in a variety of non-chain food industry jobs have corroborated that experience.

            incredibly calorie dense... as someone who lives in a country with obesity problems I don't think that's what the majority of the US population is after.

            From a different angle this supports what I think is a safe intuition: animals love calorie dense food. It tastes great and is habit forming.

            Being successful as a restaurant is already incredibly hard. Doubly for non-chains. A fairly healthy restaurant is going to be able to look at almost any dish they make and have the option to make it a little more delicious by adding a little more fat/sugar/salt to make it taste better.

            There's a perverse incentive for restaurants to act healthy while adding the same things fast food restaurants did to keep you coming back.

            Fast food has the countervailing forces of low profit margins and public scrutiny to keep them at least a little honest. You know a Big Mac is roughly 550 calories. It's not the healthiest but it's a full meal if you want it to be. McD grilled chicken I think you can call reasonably healthy, other problems you mentioned aside.

            I'm definitely open to being wrong, but I'm trying to think what a good test/comparison would be. Diet is a complicated.

            1 vote
            1. rosco
              Link Parent
              Ah, mistook your argument. I totally agree with all your points. We have evolved to seek out calorie dense food. Restaurant are also guilty of ridiculous portion sizes. I think it would be...

              Ah, mistook your argument. I totally agree with all your points. We have evolved to seek out calorie dense food. Restaurant are also guilty of ridiculous portion sizes.

              I think it would be interesting to compare calorie consumption and meal size across types of restaurants. Fast food is an easy category, I think others would be harder to discern. From poking around on google scholar it looks like strip mall chains like Applebees fall into the no man lands of fast casual (and as per your assertion they are more caloric than fast food). I find these places to be the biggest drivers of absurd portion sizes and calorie dense meals. It feels like the logic is "who cares if your lasagna is terrible when you have a bucket of it." From there possibly entering the realm of mom and pops that haven't optimized their menu for the biggest return per customer. Three tiers? This paper actually looks into it and sides with your main point. But I would love to see calories of the average eater rather than the menu item.

              I think one of the factors overlooked in fast food calorie consumption of fast foods is how often someone actually orders "X" item as a meal. For reference, when I would go to say McDonalds or Wendy's, I wouldn't just get a chicken sandwich. The menus are made to be mix and match. Anecdotally, my usual Wendy's order was 2 spicy chicken sandwiches (510 cals each), fries (med fry, 420 cals), and a frosty (medium, 460 cals). That is a total of 1900 calories. That is dangerously close to the ideal average daily intake of 2000 for women and 2500 for men to pack into one meal. Sometimes I might even throw in an order of chicken nuggets or two. It's pretty easy for calories to add up with fast food.

              The same can be said for restaurants, but it feels more like a linear experience of appetizer, entree, possible dessert vs the free for all of fast food. That said, the calorie density of restaurant portions is likely higher. I think it might matter more if you are in an 'optimized' (read, franchise) eating experience vs a one off restaurant. I think this all leaves me to agree with your conclusion, diet is complicated. But I'd love to think through a tangible way of comparing across the spectrum and it would be great to hear what you think.

              2 votes
      2. PhantomBand
        Link Parent
        With fastfood it sounds like the emphasis is on the "fast" part, which to me implies that it's only purpose is to be scoffed down as quickly as possible. With junkfood it speaks for itself.

        With fastfood it sounds like the emphasis is on the "fast" part, which to me implies that it's only purpose is to be scoffed down as quickly as possible.

        With junkfood it speaks for itself.

        1 vote
    3. [4]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      This seems like a decidedly... anti-intellectual? approach to food, with a lot of assumptions to unpack. I wonder how much this mentality exists beyond the US, which doesn't really have the...

      This seems like a decidedly... anti-intellectual? approach to food, with a lot of assumptions to unpack. I wonder how much this mentality exists beyond the US, which doesn't really have the greatest relationship to its food anymore. There are way too many people who can't cook for themselves and haven't experienced much beyond the mass-produced, over-processed, cumulatively-toxic fare that is made primarily for profit and not for health.

      Even for fast food, if you want to do it really well you can use all sorts of craft and technique to make the perfect burger, or pizza, or French fries. That may make it not-so-fast food, but does that make it artsy fartsy? Or is it the five star setting? Or what, exactly?

      2 votes
      1. PhantomBand
        Link Parent
        ...what? What's intellectual about food in the first place? It's not postmodern literature. I'm European, FYI. Well, if I'm being anti-intellectual, then you're being condescending and elitist. To...

        This seems like a decidedly... anti-intellectual? approach to food, with a lot of assumptions to unpack.

        ...what? What's intellectual about food in the first place? It's not postmodern literature.

        I wonder how much this mentality exists beyond the US

        I'm European, FYI.

        There are way too many people who can't cook for themselves and haven't experienced much beyond the mass-produced, over-processed, cumulatively-toxic fare that is made primarily for profit and not for health.

        Well, if I'm being anti-intellectual, then you're being condescending and elitist. To put it lightly.

        Even for fast food, if you want to do it really well you can use all sorts of craft and technique to make the perfect burger, or pizza, or French fries.

        Honestly I like all sorts of fries, pizza, burger. I can appreciate something from McDonald's, I can appreciate something home made, I can appreciate Domino's pizzas, I can appreciate pizza from the pizzeria, etc. Everything has it's own distinct experience which I enjoy.

        That may make it not-so-fast food, but does that make it artsy fartsy? Or is it the five star setting? Or what, exactly?

        I have no idea what you're trying to get at here.

        3 votes
      2. [2]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        As an outsider, I get the impression that when people criticize fast food in America they mostly mean large chains. A cool locally owned taco truck is probably thought as "authentic" so it gets a...

        As an outsider, I get the impression that when people criticize fast food in America they mostly mean large chains. A cool locally owned taco truck is probably thought as "authentic" so it gets a pass, even though it is both fast and food. No?

        As a comparison no one uses the word "authentic" here because almost everything you eat on the street is more or less "authentic" by default. And multinational fast food chains are highly valued as the not cheap at all occasional treats they are.

        2 votes
        1. culturedleftfoot
          Link Parent
          AFAIK, tacos wouldn't be considered fast food unless they're from such a chain, like Taco Bell. To me, the whole point of fast food is the systematization. It's geared toward mass...

          AFAIK, tacos wouldn't be considered fast food unless they're from such a chain, like Taco Bell. To me, the whole point of fast food is the systematization. It's geared toward mass production/consumption and (ostensibly) quick service, but also comes with an implicit compromise on quality. Street food/vendors shouldn't be included there, IMO. "Fast casual" is the middle-ground between fast food and sit-down restaurants that has grown quite popular in the past 15 years, with street food or adjacent concepts in some notable cases.

          4 votes
  30. knocklessmonster
    Link
    The absolute cheapest? Popcorn. Plain from a jar or bottle, loose grains. Chuck it in a paper lunchbag, fold the top twice, then fold the the folded bundle at the top in half again to seal it up,...

    The absolute cheapest? Popcorn. Plain from a jar or bottle, loose grains. Chuck it in a paper lunchbag, fold the top twice, then fold the the folded bundle at the top in half again to seal it up, nuke it 'til it's popping every few seconds (don't trust your Popcorn button, put it on for 5 minutes and watch/listen like a hawk). Cut the bag off just above the top of the popcorn and you've got a nifty little bowl. It's cheaper than that "buttered" stuff you'll find in stores, and you can even just make your own butter and/or flavoring if you simply can't do plain popcorn with a spray bottle of some sort if you must flavor it.

    I don't know why, there's just something great about plain, fresh popcorn that hits the spot for me. It was curious about it one day, and it's just good. Doing it this way is dirt cheap, but it can take a while to get right without burning any of it, but there's also next to no cleanup except for the bag when you're done, and any kernels you drop.

    1 vote
  31. HotPants
    Link
    Fish and Chips. From CANZUK.

    Fish and Chips. From CANZUK.

    1 vote
  32. Thra11
    (edited )
    Link
    Potato salad. It's just potatoes, boiled until cooked but still firm, cooled back down, chopped into small cubes and coated with finely chopped fresh mint and mayonnaise. Potatoes are cheap, and...

    Potato salad. It's just potatoes, boiled until cooked but still firm, cooled back down, chopped into small cubes and coated with finely chopped fresh mint and mayonnaise.

    Potatoes are cheap, and while new potatoes are better for a gourmet potato salad, any potato should make a delicious one. Mayonnaise is also cheap, and fresh mint is free from the garden.

    1 vote