The simmering of tomato sauce combining with the olive oil, the garlic, onions, rosemary and oregano: it’s brilliant. The smell wafting up from the sauce fills your lungs, followed by an immediate dopamine rush. The taste of the sauce on the spaghetti, combined with fresh parmigiana cheese and sprinkled oregano, is heavenly. However, the best thing about this sauce, is its affordability.
There are many supermarkets in Seville (and Spain as a whole), where I currently reside. Whichever is closest to you, it is important to make sure that the ingredients you buy for any given dish are inexpensive, but also maintain a certain quality. This is most applicable to meat and poultry, and other items like eggs. However, with vegetables and herbs, sometimes the uglier the vegetable, the more flavour is packed in to it (thanks for the tip Gordon Ramsay). Certain supermarkets will have different items that are more or less expensive than others around them, so proper research is necessary to get the best deal on whatever one is looking for.
The most important piece of advice I would give anyone looking to save money, but also cook extraordinary meals, is to be creative and challenge your previous comfort zone. Try to research different combinations of flavours and spices which are either seasonal or go well together, and attempt to make something beautiful with that. There are plenty of guides and recipes online from world class chefs who know what they are doing.
Remember that with limits, sometimes creativity can flourish, and as students this is exactly what we must keep in mind. If you are like me, and are tired of the constant stream of microwavable noodles and hot pockets, then follow the above advice, and become the head chef of your own mini restaurant, your customers being flatmates!