First, I haven't played Stardew Valley even though I got it in a bundle. It's not my usual sort of game, and Paul's article doesn't really make me want to play it. It sounds too much like work.
Second, this article resonated with me recently because my coworkers and I had a brief exchange recently about how, when we go out to lunch, they often leave part of their meal while I finish everything, every time. Heck, when I first arrived at the company, there was a tub of stale cat cookies (think animal crackers, but all cats) that no one touched anymore, so I finished it over a period of weeks so they didn't go to waste.
Unlike Paul, I grew up middle class in a big city. My first real job was at an R&D lab. However, when the great recession hit while I was still in grad school, my fellowship dried up. There were months where dinner was frequently spaghetti because that's all I had the time/energy/money for. And even then my situation was not as tight as what Paul describes. (The money constraint was self-imposed because I didn't want to dip into my savings even though saving are for situations like this.)
But my parents, when they immigrated, did live like that. My father tells a story of how one summer he had to bum a ride from Texas to New Jersey to work in the kitchen of a friend's uncle. He got treated like crap (he claims one guy, to get his my father's job, tried to get my father to quit by arranging an accident where his hands got cut up) and the pay was crap, but he took it because the family needed money to get through school. Eventually they graduated, got jobs, and could finally afford to bring my brother over.
Right now, I can afford to waste food. It might even be healthier to; if I eat a big lunch, I just skip dinner, so my blood sugar is all over the place. Or maybe just take the leftover home. But I was raised to eat everything on my plate, and grad school pounded it into me, and I'm not about to change.
Anyway, Paul's article. Reading it made me see a bit of me in him and in the game, and I'm glad he managed to make writing a profession.