"Strictly from hunger" is old American slang denoting desperation, low quality, or whatever. William S. Burroughs probably uses it, though I can't recall a particular instance offhand. Burroughs was a great fan of American common speech of the 1940s and earlier.

It's also the title of an S.J. Perelman anthology. Perelman was another idiom collector, and one of the most paralyzingly funny writers who ever lived.

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