When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I thought life would be a glamorous romp of independence. Indeed, living alone meant lots of new, thrilling sensations: I began a love affair with fancy food ingredients and not-so-winsome wastefulness. No longer held back by my mother’s grocery rules (“Name-brand cereal is for rich people and television stars!”), I learned to cook.
The only problem—aside from the occasional small kitchen fire—was that cooking adventurously for one inadvertently led to a lot of abandoned leftovers and forgotten ingredients in the trash. Which led to spending way more than I should have on groceries—until I learned how long foods can last and still be both safe to eat and tasty.