By which I mean, all for me! I have been single and living on my own for a year now, and people are often surprised (and disbelieving) at how much I enjoy it. And today, while doing my weekly trawl through the Sunday secrets on postsecret.com, I found the following secret and I absolutely concur:
Those poor souls who have to cook vast quantities of food with other people’s preferences in mind (ha!) are often curious as to what I eat. It’s an easy one to answer – whatever I like, really. I absolutely despise those articles written by well-meaning i.e. patronising individuals on how single people can also eat well… as if we are all sitting in the dark, sad and lonely, eating cold soup from a can, and they are now giving us permission to enjoy a meal for a change.
I have only one response to that and it kind of sounds like this: Blueurghhhhhhieugh! (you have to pull a scary face and stick your tongue out, to achieve the right effect).
In the real world, more and more of us are eating alone and not because we are a bunch of miserable individuals with no friends… read this article on the subject, it’s all kind of inevitable. It is not coincidence that almost every food product comes in single-serve portions these days.
It’s easy and fun to cook for one, and if an idea bombs out no-one ever has to know about it. You can go mad in supermarkets and buy strange things like squid ink in little sachets. You can be as decadent or disciplined as you like (am I sounding a bit Shazzer of Bridget Jones over here?) (I love her rant, if I can dig out my copy of the book I will put it in a postscript). There are, however, 3 points of concern that I have when it comes to cooking for one:
1. The clean-up operation – I don’t mind slicing, dicing and gently poaching under the light of a full-moon a long list of ingredients for a single plate of good food, but somehow the amount of dishes always seems disproportionately high, just at the moment that I’m feeling very full and in need of a nap.
2. I don’t like to fire up the oven if it’s not for a large quantity of food (this is in line with Shazzer’s statement about the sandal-wearing beardy-weirdies). All that electricity for one meal is not ok.
3. Yes it is possible to cook a large quantity and store leftovers etc. But this is just not true for something like an entire cheesecake. You know perfectly well that even before the first spoonful of cream-cheese is out the tub that you are going to eat it in it’s entirety and then feel at first elated, followed shortly by billiously unwell.
All of this plus a well-timed email from Caribou has led to an exploration into single-serve cooking in the microwave – there are thousands of recipes and techniques on the Net but very few with edible results. I valiantly worked my way through them and will be posting the successful recipes over the next week or so… I wouldn’t replace all my cooking with nuking stuff in mugs, but it’s an easy way to make something yummy with minimal effort and time (as long as you aren’t expecting to have an identical end-product when using the microwave, of course).
PS: Here’s someone who is totally singing to the same tune.
PS: About that promised excerpt from Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding – it’s all too rude, Shazzer has quite a mouth on her. You will have to read the book, the movie doesn’t count.