Serious Eats: Talk
College Student living with reticent eaters? Help!
I recently moved into an apartment with 3 close friends. We get along great, except that my friends are of the microwave-frozen-food or mac-and-cheese-for-dinner-3-nights-a-week school of thought, whereas I would like to do some cooking, and do it with real ingredients.
We're doing "community food" so we're splitting food costs 4-ways, but I don't want to take too much advantage of them and load our cart up with items only I will eat. As always, money is an issue so we generally purchase things like Walmart brand pasta sauce, which while perfectly mediocre, is best eaten with additional seasonings. I've been supplementing pasta with things I can find in our fridge, ie sauteed garlic, crisped salami, cracked pepper, diced tomatoes, and provolone and Parmesan cheese and other things to keep it interesting. But I'm running out of ideas for our current setup, so I turn to the brilliance of the SE community.
What can I put in our cart that will go a long way towards making uninteresting food more interesting? It would also be a plus for it to not cost a lot of money (ie a nice block of cheese instead of "fiesta style" shredded jack & cheddar might be a problem, but I could maybe make sure pesto finds its way home with us. To give you another example, the garlic I mentioned earlier was roundly met with reluctance.) As an unfortunate caveat, I can think of about a million things to do with eggs, but, shamefully, haven't acquired a taste for them.
Finally, I will say that I recently sat down and spoke with them about wanting to cook, and they're somewhere between indifferent and sympathetic, so I've got a bit of leeway. Also, any advice on what to do in this situation, or from people who have lived it would be greatly appreciated!