I believe I can answer this despite living on a tuna budget.
When you can only afford basic foods, it’s challenging to even fulfill your tastes.
When you can’t afford the one or two new items needed to produce anything different, it’s tough to prepare more than a handful of the same old monotonous recipes again and over.
You must also be mindful of wasting items that you may need to combine with other dishes to stay inside your budget.
As an extreme example, I can cook rice in water containing beef buillion powder and then top it with cream of mushroom soup.
It would be great with ground beef, but I can’t make sloppy joes with ground meat and a can of tomato sauce if I cook the ground beef.
If I utilize the ground beef, I’m left with a package of buns and a can of tomato sauce that I can’t use.
On a tuna fish budget, these types of “rob Peter to pay Paul” decisions are made all the time.
As a result, satisfying a need for anything different or uncommon is extremely rare, and maintaining a diversified diet is nearly difficult.
Simply because difficult decisions must be taken on a regular basis.
Usually, it isn’t nearly as extreme as my scenario, but it is a valid illustration of the kind of decisions that may need to be made as the month progresses and the cupboard becomes depleted.
Aside from that, there’s the issue of comfort and familiarity.
I don’t know enough about caviar, for example, to determine which sort I may favor.
I’ve been to locations where it’s served, so I gave it a try—and was underwhelmed. I’ve had a huge orange variety, a little black version, and a larger black one.
They were all far too salty for my liking, with no flavor other from the salt.
Instead, I’ll take dried salmon any day.
(With anchovies, I have the same problem: no salty dead fishies for me.)
So, when I have the money to indulge my preferences, I buy organic gold beets, fresh herbs, and better cuts of meat.
A smidgeon of duck, lamb, or buffalo on occasion. Venison.
However, buying frozen veggies rather than canned vegetables might feel like overspending at times.
Fortunately, basic foods like root vegetable stew, cornbread dressing, meatloaf, and tuna salad sandwiches appeal to my palate.
I frequently duplicate “high-end” dishes with less expensive items.
Cooking successfully with a few simple ingredients to create satisfying and tasty meals is a skill that will take you far in life.
They lack mental self-discipline in part due of this. And it’s partially because they’ve been socialized to want particular things.
People are often hesitant to change their diets, especially when it comes to food. As a wine writer, it was my responsibility to persuade them to try something new and unusual. There was some success, but not quite as much as you’d think.
And, of course, the idea of buying a recipe book, following instructions, and learning to cook is just too difficult to comprehend. You’ll constantly want for better cuisine if you only have a limited capacity to make…