When most of us think about the Great Depression, the last thing that we stop to consider is the food. In fact, if the older generation in my family is anything like yours, then that means they both love to go on about how food was so scarce at the time. Nonetheless, some truly creative concoctions came out of this period. Here are some of our favorites!

  1. Creamed Peas on Toast (about $0.90/serving)

    creamed peas on toastJeffrey W | Flickr

    This oddly satisfying combination is one of the heartier choices on our list. Come with an open mind, and leave with a full belly!

    Melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, then add in two tablespoons of flour. Stir the mixture for about two minutes, making sure to remove any bubbles that may pop up in the heating process. Next, blend in one cup of hot milk at a high heat and whisk until the sauce thickens. Shake in some salt and pepper.

    Lower the heat and pour in two cups of fresh peas. Smooth the pea mixture onto the top of toasted bread, and enjoy!

  2. Egg Drop Soup (about $0.50/serving)

    egg drop soupStu Spivak

    This is basically a simplified version of the Chinese favorite. The egg serves as a great source of protein, especially when budgets do not allow for meat.

    To make four servings of this dish, you will need to add two 16-ounce cans of chicken broth to a saucepan. While bringing the broth to a boil, crack 4 to 5 large eggs into a small bowl and whisk them as if you were making an omelet. Once the broth is at a rolling boil, stir in the egg mixture. The eggs should harden quickly.

    Turn off the heat and give the broth a good beat to separate the scrambled pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Prune Pudding (about $1/serving)

    prune puddingLisa Nicklin | The New York Times

    Curiously enough, this thrifty treat was a favorite of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The man had a notoriously distinctive palate, so you know that there is something to this fiber-filled delight.

    Start with about half a pound of pitted prunes in a medium-sized saucepan, then add in about two cups of hot water and let stand for one hour. Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Next, reduce the heat and drain the prunes. Chop all until the fruit is diced finely.

    Add water to the saucepan so that it equals out to two cups. Add half a cup of sugar, a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a one-inch cinnamon stick. In a separate saucepan, mix three tablespoons of corn starch with two tablespoons of cold water. Introduce it to the prune mixture and set at a low heat for five minutes. Lastly, remove the cinnamon stick and stick in the fridge to cool!

  4. Potato Pancakes ($0.45/serving)

    potato pancakesDaniel Spils

    This is an awesome dish to serve if you happen to have a ton of leftover mashed potatoes after the holidays.

    Mix two cups of the leftover mashed potatoes, one large egg, and a quarter of a cup of all-purpose flour in a bowl. Heat two to three tablespoons of grease (bacon’s the tastiest) or your oil of choice in a pan. Once the pan is warm, spoon in the potato mixture and shape as if you were making standard pancakes, until each one is brown on both sides. Top with syrup, apple sauce, or fruit.

  5. The Poorman’s Meal

    poormans mealCharlene | Instagram

    Don’t get too turned off by the title of this dish—the stew packs a serious punch of flavor! It’s also great to serve on a cold fall day.

    Simmer three chopped potatoes along with one chopped onion in three tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add in four tablespoons of tomato sauce and allow to warm. Next, throw in four sliced hot dogs and a half a cup of water. Cook until the potatoes are nice and soft.

Do you have any Depression era recipes that you love? What’s your favorite money-saving food item? Tell us all about your trustiest food hacks in the comments section below!