Struggle Meals 100 episodes are a cumulation of years’ worth of tips, tricks, and a few laughs along the way. Frankie Celenza continues to keep the concepts and recipes on his Tastemade show fresh and engaging. Even as the show has adapted its approach over the years, one concept ties all those episodes together. Getting people to step into the kitchen is and will continue to be the ultimate goal.
Any and every conversation with Frankie Celenza is a thoughtful discussion not only on food and cooking techniques, but it is also a look at where food and culture are going. Few food television shows have hit the 100 episode mark. It is a significant number and shows that people are engaged with the topics he presents.
Looking back at some of the concepts presented over the Struggle Meals 100 episodes, the simple ideas have become part of their routine. Sure, some people might not necessarily have a packet drawer, but it is a bigger concept that helps to avoid food waste.
As Celenza explained, the concept was never about accumulating little containers of single use plastic. It was about lowering people’s barrier to entry. Seeing that sauce from last night’s fried rice used to season tomorrow’s chicken makes sense. It does not require a lot of extra steps. The home cook sees how flavors work together and can build on each experience.
Reducing that barrier to entry is part of many tips that Celenza shares throughout Struggle Meals. He might have used funny labels for forks, like the struggle 7000, or it took a while for him to finally showcase a Microplane in recipes. Those moments add the approachability factor which makes people come back to the show time and again.
Even though short form video might have people scrolling time and again, the reality is that these long form videos have an opportunity to have a bigger conversation. The Struggle Meals has evolved over the years.
While the beginning episodes might have shown how to repurpose ingredients to avoid food waste, more recent episodes focus on plant-based recipes. No matter the topic, the ideas are inclusive. From the person who has never picked up the pan to the cook who has mastered a myriad of cooking techniques, the reality is that this show serves as a resource time and again.
With more highs than lows, Celenza does remember a few missteps along the way. A pizza episode might have had a few risks that did not play out well. At the same time, viewers have had gracious along the way. A flag might have been displayed incorrectly, but the respect to the food culture came through the episode. The bigger picture has always been appreciated.
Although Celenza has expanded his shows to include food and travel and a competition-style offering, Struggle Meals is and continues to be his flagship. The interaction with fans is clear and he listens to them.
As seen in the 100th episode, the fans express how the show has impacted the appreciation for food and their willingness to cook. The highly active Facebook page has and will continue to be a place where people can and will share their food stories. Some of which might influence episodes 150 and beyond.
What can Tastemade viewers expect from the next round of Struggle Meals? Wherever there may be someone struggling in the kitchen, Frankie Celenza is ready to find a simpler solution. With a dash of laughter, a sprinkle of creativity, and a handful of ingredients, everyone can gain some cooking confidence.
Struggle Meals can be streamed on Tastemade. The 100th episode airs on November 30, 2023.