Moving home, for many people, carries the same flavor as that three-day-old takeout in the back of your fridge that you thought would still be kinda-sorta edible but actually tastes like misery and sourness. It is a defeat, a surrender, akin to an attempt at making a perfect soufflé–only to open the oven to sunken sadness.

In short, the taste of home is a fate worse than death.

I too had this idea before moving home for junior year of college. After two years of dorming in the East Village, I was not in the mood to trade the flavors of 3AM diner runs and lazily ordering Seamless for those of a curfew and invaded privacy.

I didn’t want to leave my friends, my adopted neighborhood, or the Trader Joe’s within walking distance. I fought with my parents, ignored the rationale of the move, and on one occasion, threw a fit similar to that of a three-year-old denied ice cream. But eventually I had to swallow the truth: moving home made sense.

Post-grad, I have my heart set on an Ivy League Law School; unfortunately, my savings account has more of a budget for dollar pizza than for caviar. Foregoing the price of the dorm, plus having a stocked fridge and an Uber driver called ‘Dad,’ has been sweet for my post-college fund.

That said, this logic was choked in the spice of denial in the first few weeks. I didn’t care about financial stability; all I cared about was the fact that I was missing wine nights and spontaneous trips to get tacos and Insomnia Cookies at 2AM.

But just as palettes change as we age, I soon learned to be open-minded–or to continue this food analogy, open-mouthed.

Living at home has opened the door to other opportunities that I wouldn’t trade for all the free food in the world: not paying for the dorm has allowed me to go to a music festival, take a weekend trip to Amsterdam, and buy clothing other than that of the thrift store variety. But more than that, it has helped me learn a little bit more about the recipe to a good life.

While bar hopping and pulling all-nighters was once my go-to order, I have realized I’m more into the flavors of family and home-cooked meals. I would rather relax at home with my dogs than grab a late-night hot dog. I’m eating something other than scrambled eggs, which became my only culinary feat (read: only thing I cooked) in sophomore year. My mental health is feeling more stable than ever, as stiff as the surface of a creme brûlée.

While I don’t see friends as often, I have learned what the American diet can’t seem to grasp: it’s quality over quantity. What’s best is hanging out with quality friends, laughing at the minuscule portions of fancy restaurants, and instead going for the greasy, low-quality joy of cheeseburgers and beer.

My tastes have changed, but there will always be room in my heart (and stomach) for good experiences, great friends, and the warm-cookies-fresh-out-of-the-oven feeling of home.