The last time I had to buy my own food was down in the city, my dinky little apartment in south Philly. I had an all-you-can-eat meal plan at Temple's cafeteria. The food was lousy, but i could eat as much of it as I could possibly cram into my face.
Dinners in my apartment were a miracle of frugal spending. Raman noodles, cans of Hormel chili, and all sorts of other little freeze-dried meals. Most dinners were less then 1$, except I would go up to about 3$ to 5$ when I had something to celebrate. I would splurge on donuts and other sweets sometimes to snack on, but I kept my food budget very low.
Now I'm out in the real world and buying my own food again, but things have changed a little. The food I'm buying is a little more expensive, but better and overwhelmingly better for me. I'm learning things too about my palate that I've never known before. For instance, I don't like rice milk (really really don't like it), and I don't like Guava yogurt. I do however love Vitasoy chocolate soy milk. I'm also liking organic food, but it's only a mild preference. I'll only buy organic stuff if it's just as good and not overwhelmingly more expensive.
It's also more difficult to get dinner on the table every night then I had given credit for. It's maybe not as tough as I've heard people bitch and moan about over the years, but staying creative and not falling into a rut is a little difficult. It's so tempting to just declare every thursday to be porkchop night and not have to think about what I'm going to cook while I'm staring into the freezer blankly.
We do have more food shopping options then my parents do. My mother, for years, has been trapped with only a sub-par Giant near enough. In less then the same space, I have three supermarkets to choose from. This means I have more options, and can try new things. Being able to try something new means the creativity comes more easily: Doing something new with chicken and apple sausages is easier then doing something new with chicken breasts.
I'm off to cook some dinner now, hopefully it turns out alright.