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We Used To Hate These 9 Struggle Foods As Kids, but Now We Can’t Get Enough of Them

As much as we hate to admit it now, there are some struggle foods we had growing up that are actually weirdly delicious. Sure, we would make faces when our moms would make a flimsy little tortilla and serve it up with an egg, or even just butter or a bit of cheese — especially when eating the same thing noche tras noche. And that little truco of putting salsa Valentina or Cholula on everything so it tasted better? That got old, quick.

But nowadays, we don’t know if nostalgia is getting the best of us, or maybe we just really want to escape adulthood and go back to our niñez stat. Yeah, our middle school days with afternoon Playstation hangs sound pretty amazing now — even with that side of hot dogs with white bread.

As of late, Twitter users have taken to sharing the struggle food that made their childhood unique, and each one is as memorable as the last. One user shared their favorite struggle dinner of Tostitos, salsa, and a full liter of Canada Dry, while another brought forth the classic combo of beans and cut-up hot dogs, plus a side of noodles. While we have to say that this plate of Hot Cheetos, meat, and melted cheese actually looks pretty good, this user speaks for all of us when posting a can of Armour Vienna Sausages with the caption “I’m not gone lie it’s not that bad.” Crazily enough, it really isn’t: here are all the struggle foods we had growing up that we’re seeing in a whole new light.

1. Arroz con Salchichas (Had to Be Vienna Sausages)

Our first struggle food is a classic that deserves to be hung up in a museum. White rice with cut up salchichas in it, right from a can of Armour or GOYA Vienna Sausages. Extra points for some ketchup on top. We still remember low-key getting excited when our mom would start opening the can, knowing it was going down, but then getting sick of it after eating it five nights in a row. Today, we love un arroz con salchichas Boricua-style, flavored with sofrito, salsa de tomate, olives, peppers… or just plain and simple to relive old times. 

2. Cup O Noodles (With Maybe Some Valentina Sauce)

Another food that we remember eating so many afternoons when we got back from school, waiting with anticipation as it simmered in the microwave? A hearty Cup O Noodles, steaming in all its cheap, delicious glory. Yeah, noodles didn’t seem so great back then, especially when abuela tried to jazz it up with some Valentina sauce on top, or an egg on the side. But we’ll always have a soft spot for instant ramen, and still keep some in our cabinet for comfort on días de lluvia.

3. Arroz con Mayonesa

As you can expect, rice makes its way into almost all the struggle foods: at less than $1 a pound, it’s easy to see why. We remember spooning up some arroz blanco from the huge container we always had in the fridge, squeezing a bunch of mayonnaise on top. Sometimes we’d chop a hard-boiled egg in, sometimes some corn would go in, too. Weird? Maybe. But also strangely delicious.

4. Arepas with Butter

A Venezuelan and Colombian classic (let’s not get started on who invented it), arepas are the sandwiches of these countries, and they’re so good. The epitome of a mouthwatering struggle food, arepas are simply a mix of water and harina pan, which costs less than $3 per two pounds at your local grocery store. Seeing that a bag of cornmeal makes a near-infinite amount of arepas, it’s easy to see why nuestros papás would make them so often growing up. We remember eating these alone with some butter, which didn’t feel so cool back then. Now? Absolutamente delicioso. Add a bit of cheese if you want to go the extra mile!

5. Arroz con Huevo Frito y Ketchup (And Some Platanitos If Feeling Fancy)

Another food that gets a bad rep as a struggle food but is actually one of the most craveable dishes ever? Rice with a fried egg and ketchup. Yeah, there was a lot of that when we were kids, served up in a plastic bowl and cut up into a mushy combo. While the mix sounds weird, it is actually lo más rico del mundo. Our mom’s white rice (arroz pegao’ if we were lucky), a hot fried egg, a bit of ketchup for sweet acidity, and if we had leftover platanitos or maduros? Yeah, that was going in there, too. I think we just solved dinner for tonight! 

6. Galletas de Soda with Cheez Whiz

Another one we remember mami making for us after school? One of the top struggle foods of all time, may we present you galletas de soda (why did the tin can always have the words “Export Sodas” on it?) and Cheez Whiz on top. As probably one of the least nutritious yet most delicious lunches imaginable, we still remember grabbing that can of Cheez Whizz and spreading it on probably hundreds of crackers while watching Full House. 

7. Hot Dogs or SPAM with White Bread

White bread is a top struggle food for a reason: it’s cheap, lasts a pretty long time, and it’s so filling, too. Back then, we wouldn’t get too excited about a classic plate: bread with SPAM spread on top, or with a hot dog on it. While salty canned pork wasn’t exactly our plato favorito, and we wished we had some fluffy hot dog buns for our salchichas, it’s truly not bad at all. Bring on all the white bread with SPAM and sausages — and add some mustard, mayonesa, and ketchup, too!

8. Tortillas with Butter, Cheese or an Egg

Ah, classic, dependable, wallet-friendly tortillas: a struggle food favorite. Who else can remember eating warm, rolled-up tortillas for dinner with just some butter? Sometimes, we’d also get some shredded cheese inside (delicious), or a fried egg to dip the tortilla in. Either way, we have to say that this struggle food still holds up today, and it’s an easy snack we’ll never let go of. Long live tortillas forever.

9. Maizena for Dinner

Lastly, a Puerto Rican family favorite, classic maizena. While not the most obvious struggle food, we remember mami or abuela making this tradition at night, simply mixing cornstarch, eggs, some milk, and sugar. Cooked in a saucepan, a thick custard forms, and somehow it  works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Dusted with some canela on top, this is a dish we still crave to this day, especially when missing our familia.

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