I am sitting at a rickety table in the kitchen surrounded by my rambunctious housemates. We are swapping tales of our past teenage stupidity. I am eating my usual meal of spaghetti and red sauce. One of my housemates is a short-order cook and he stops mid-story and mentions that there are other pastas besides spaghetti.
I am mortified that he is calling me out about my daily pasta meal.
A few days later, while grocery shopping I head down the pasta aisle. Instinctively, I reach for the spaghetti and then recall my housemate’s admonishment from the previous evening.
I opt to look around at my other pasta choices. Pasta shells are 70 cents less than my regular spaghetti fare and you get a lot more. Buying the pasta shells means that I can buy a 2 liter bottle of brand name soda instead of the generic kind.
Next, I head down the frozen food aisle and grab a small bag of house brand mixed vegetables.
I find a small bag of already shredded Swiss cheese which happens to be on sale. Then, I go to the produce aisle to review my dessert options. I grab a couple of oranges and head to the checkout.
Later that evening, I take extra care to prepare my three course meal.
Pasta shells sautéed in red sauce with mixed veggies sprinkled with shredded Swiss cheese. Apple wedges are served for desert and I wash it down with brand name diet soda.
My housemates compliment me on my meal makin’ ingenuity.
I smile because I know that this is the turning point in my journey in eating well on a tight budget.