Cooking Solo: A Lesson in Respect
Cooking can be so many things – sensual, productive, creative or sometimes just plain necessary. “I’m hungry, so put food together and FEED ME.” I get it. When you’re left alone, however, how do you eat? Do you sneak that last packet of Oreos or TimTams because you know you can? Are you more parts liquid than solid because no one is around to judge? Do you eat breakfast for dinner and vice versa? I think cooking for oneself is really the ultimate lesson in respect.
My current reading materials are, among many things, several cookbooks. And, unlike cookbooks of the past (Galloping Gourmet, Julia Child, all things Southern cooking), these cookbooks actually address the issue of eating alone. AND they provide recipes for just such an occasion. I used to be a fan of, “If it’s close enough, and microwaveable, eat it.” Nowadays, I’m a bit different. When left to my own devices, sure I’ll think about butter and sugar first (I love to bake), but now I focus more on what item would be really good for me and good to try.
I’ve roasted vegetables. I’ve poached salmon in wine and lemon. I’ve cooked more ground turkey (turkey mince) with amazing taco seasonings than I care to admit. I’ve dabbled in eggless cookie dough – yes, made only for eating, not for cooking. I’ve poached eggs for use over ramen and spinach (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it). I’ve browned butter, just for cookies. I’ve experimented with 600 ways to cook a chicken breast…and still counting! I’ve treated myself to steak my way, butter and frying in a pan to a beautiful medium rare, salt and pepper its only accompaniments.
Cooking solo isn’t my favorite thing, admittedly – hell, my German and Norwegian genetics both scream at me to make enough for the whole city. And my partner is a brilliant cook, which makes me a lucky girl when we’re together. But at some point you have to come to the conclusion that you are worth good food, no matter where or who you’re with. You don’t have to settle for takeout or leftovers, just because you’re home alone. You can concoct whatever you want, with whatever you want…and you’re the only food critic there.
Food doesn’t have to be just about necessity when eating alone. It can be pleasurable, fun and a way of thanking yourself for the awesome being you are.
What’s your favorite “alone” meal?
This was mine this evening, courtesy of Epicurious: