Cooking for One, With Humor

| February 23, 2011 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments

solo breakfast
Recipes are adapted for single cooks. Entire books are written to inspire solo chefs to get into the kitchen. Heck, blogs are even devoted to maintaining a full culinary life while living alone. Despite how many of these recipes you’ve clipped or how many inspiring books you may own, at the end of the day — you’re still dining alone. And in my experience, you can take the ‘ho hum’ approach or you can chuckle at it all. This post is much more about chuckles than sighs. Because hey, life is short.

Spilled Milk Podcast:
Writer and food blogger Molly Wizenburg pairs with food writer Matthew Amster-Burton in a podcast they created last year called Spilled Milk. The gist of the podcast? The charming duo takes on heady topics such as Hot Dogs or Fudge with witty conversation and banter. Last week, they discussed Spouseless Eating and their revelations will make you smile. Both Wizenburg and Amster-Burton have partners at home, but they dish about what their partners think that they’re eating and what they actually eat when at home alone for a chunk of time. No area is left untouched: from peanut butter to Stouffer’s French Bread pizzas, you’ll feel a little better about the odd meals we all piece together on occasion while standing over the sink.

Cooking For One: Web Series
Writer Jiji Lee has just put out Cooking For One, a new web series that pokes fun at cooking shows in general and the single life in particular. Host Ada Gordon (played by Jenn Schatz) was supposed to be starring in a newlywed cooking show with her fiance, Neil. Well Neil broke it off. So Ada’s left to bat solo. And it’s pretty darn funny. In the most recent Valentine’s Day episode, Ada begins with, “Hey, solo chefs! Turn off that Fiona Apple and put down your copy of the Bell Jar…” as she prepares baked brie in athletic pants and a yellow cardigan. It’s likeable and laughable and brings a little levity to a topic that’s so often treated as more serious than it needs to be.

Table For One
Table for One is a website that collects photos of people eating out alone. Some are reading, some day-dreaming, some appear to be downright nodding off. But the website captures something we all must do throughout the day and something so many of us enjoy. You can’t eat with a rousing crowd at every meal. Table for One celebrates that.

A Week of Cooking and Eating Solo
Mark Bittman’s piece, A Week of Cooking and Eating Solo didn’t set out to be blatantly funny. Bittman was exploring what he prepared and enjoyed eating while alone at his place on Cape Cod. But his blatant honesty and detailed explanations of what he ate throughout the day make for an enjoyable, light-hearted read. After a particularly large meal out that included steak, fresh tomatoes, potato and quinoa salad, Bittman proclaims: “Well it was practically Rosh Hashana.” Later he discusses a morning meal with admirable brevity: “Breakfast: Watermelon. A lot of it.” At the end of the week, Bittman does draw a few conclusions which I find to be true of myself. Single cooks often over shop, and they really must be comfortable with leftovers or reincarnations of meals. If you’re a Bittman fan or are curious how others are navigating the solo dining realm in great detail, this one’s worth revisiting.

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About the Author ()

Megan Gordon is originally from Eureka, CA although she's lived in numerous college towns around the country (another story altogether). A freelance food and travel writer, Megan has written for publications like Ready Made Magazine, The San Francisco Examiner, Edible SF and Edible Marin & Wine Country, Olive Oil Times and The San Francisco Bay Guardian. She writes regularly for Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn and maintains her own local food blog, A Sweet Spoonful. Yes, Megan even tweets @meganjanesf. In addition to writing and photographing food, Megan is the founder (and head baker) of Marge, a Bay Area baking company specializing in classic American pies and nostalgic desserts.
  • http://cookingforoneinparis.com Ashley Fahr

    I would like to thank you for two reasons, firstly because I didn’t know of these other writers/journalists/cooks who chronicle their solo eating adventures, and it is certainly refreshing to know that there are others like me.

    I would also like to thank you for treating the subject so well! Even though I know I shouldn’t feel embarassed when I write recipes for one, because I enjoy it and because I would be making these recipes even if I didn’t post them online, I do often think about the stigma around being alone and cooking for oneself. Whether we like it or not, the idea of cooking for one is not well-received in the public eye. I disagree with those who regard cooking for yourself as a sad condition, that we are likely forced into. In reality, almost all of us are alone at one point in our lives, so why not make it as fun as possible?

    Like you said Megan, life is short!

  • http://lunaskitchenmagic.blogspot.com Luna

    There is also my friend Laurie over at Lonely Gourmet http://lonelygourmet.com/ (@lonleygourmet) who is trying help people make healthy delicious food for one, a recipe at a time!