Cooking (and Cookies!) for One
By Karen Ballum on September 27, 2011
One of the things that Dominique Browning admitted struggling with in her memoir, Slow Love is cooking for one. It's something I've struggled with and continue to struggle with when my husband goes off on business trips and I'm the only one home. The difference between me and Dominique? I actually enjoy cooking.
What I enjoyed about Dominique's cooking journey is that it really is a journey. We see her start with meals of peanut butter and red wine. While I've never had quite that particularly combo I've had similar meals. She branches out into cookies and muffins. We see her comb the web for recipes. She does, eventually, embrace the slow cooker.
I lived alone for a long time and I sympathize with her because cooking for one person is hard. Really hard. Well, kind of. The things is when you are cooking for yourself it become a very personal exercise. It makes some people more daring about what recipes they'll try. It made me less so. I knew I'd be stuck with whatever creation I concocted and well, I have issues throwing out food unless it's really, really bad.
In my experience, there aren't a lot of good cookbooks out there for singles. Again, I think it ties back to the very personal nature of cooking only for ourselves. We may have different tastes for what we'll eat when we're alone. I'd get cookbooks from the library by the truckload and if I was lucky I'd find one or two recipes I'd actually want to try. Most often I didn't. I never did find a cooking for one cookbook that I'd buy. I did, eventually, find a cooking for two cookbook that I quite like, which is an improvement over the six or more servings in many standard cookbooks.
Unlike Dominique, I not willing to eat the same thing over and over again. I don't have a sweet tooth either. Her muffin and cookie baking marathons would have just resulted in the baked goods sitting in my freezer for far longer than was good for them. For those odd times when I did get a sweet craving I'd usually treat myself to something scrumptious at a bakery.
I do understand her desire to automate dinner. Being the person responsible for everything is exhausting.
By the time I've gotten through all the preparations for cooking -- the scrubbing, the scraping and grating and chopping and rubbing and coating and whatever else is required -- I feel like I've been playing with my food for an hour. I'm tired of it. I've lost my appetite. p. 182
Dominique confesses that she simply does not enjoy cooking. There are certainly days where the last thing I want to do is haul myself into the kitchen, but more often than not I do it. Sure, I do grab take out sometimes but we keep a stash of fast(ish) foods in our freezer. We throw frozen soup or homemade pasta sauce in a pot and let it defrost and simmer. We can usually unearth some veggies in the freezer. Food, for my family, is often how we show our love -- not in quantities but in the preparation of that special dish that is bound to make someone smile. What we tend to forget, is that those people we want to make smile? They can be ourselves.
Have you ever struggled with cooking just for yourself? And confess -- have you ever made a meal out of cookies?
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