When I first started cooking for myself, I was not as creative as I am now. I ate the same thing every day (ok, I still do that now), but I stuck with what I had grown up with. More-with-Less classics, and a few additions, like spaghetti sauce, lasagna and tuna casserole. I could still go for some hamburger stew from MWL actually. Or maybe some tuna turnovers. Or Pakistani Kima. Mmmm. Come to think of it, the lentil curry I eat all the time is from MWL as well. Suffice it to say, when I began cooking for myself I stuck to foods that are based on ground beef, canned tomatoes, and other canned meats. I have moved beyond this in many ways, but what I have kept with me from those days is the desire to cook good food from scratch. Except now scratch goes one level further. I blame the salad greens.
Salad greens were my gateway into being more selective with regards to my food. I used to buy regular lettuce, then I graduated to baby spinach, then I graduated to the leaves in a box. As I moved further away from a completely nutritious food that serves as the basis for salad to a slightly more nutritious alternative, to one that just takes good, my food changed as well. I moved from MWL to Plenty, and now into the great wide world beyond of expensive cheese, corn tortillas from Mexican tortillerías, and natural peanut butter.
Salad greens represent what I wish my life were, sometimes. With a grad student stipend, they were where these desires ended.