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So you cooked.. but can you eat 'n' enjoy it alone?

BamiaWruz Apr 27, 2009 03:26 PM

I love buying fresh ingredients, trying new recipes and I'm pretty much ALWAYS in the kitchen doing something. When it comes to eating whatever I cooked and put my time and effort into I just don't feel happy eating it alone.
Does anyone else feel this way? And do you find you cook less or stick to simple and quick things instead of time consuming recipes that just don't seem worth it?

Anyone can share thoughts, vent a little or anything.

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  1. s
    small h Apr 27, 2009 03:33 PM

    I like to cook for myself alone, and I don't mind eating alone either. I enjoy the process of cooking as much as the result. I feel freer to experiment and no pressure to finish at a certain time.

    1. c
      Cebca Apr 27, 2009 03:38 PM

      I definitely cook a little simpler when I am alone but I enjoy it no less and do it all the time. I often enjoy cooking things for myself because I can tailor it to my own tastes and feel less pressure to make it "meal-y" (never mealy) - when I am cooking for other people I feel more pressure to have protein, starch, veggie in appropriate proportions whereas if I am by myself I can have a giant plate of brussel sprouts accented by a small baked sweet potato (as i am planning for tonight . . . dipped in a curried yogurt sauce) or whatever I want. Also, I can let the simpler flavors shine through whereas when cooking for others I feel more need to show off.

      One thing though is I rarely accompany wine with my dinner alone. I feel like a good glass of wine with dinner is best shared.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cebca
        BamiaWruz Apr 27, 2009 04:08 PM

        You're all absolutely right, I also love cooking alone in the kitchen, experimenting and not having to worry about presenting a perfect meal with all the courses, however it's really just the eating part I guess that gets to me, it's just a shame my appetite decreases tremendously when it comes time to eat alone, where as if I were with others I could really eat and enjoy my food.
        So far the only thing that really encourages me to put effort into cooking nice meals and work on plating is to at least get a good shot for my foodie photography hobby because it feels like I managed to keep a piece of it, and it's all not worth while, and if others actually sat down and enjoyed a meal I prepared with me then it just would feel "worth it"

        I certainly won't stop cooking either way..

        1. re: Cebca
          kubasd May 1, 2009 04:55 PM

          I do the huge plate of veggies by myself when alone too! Also, when i'm eating alone, I can truly take my time eating.... i.e. eating the seared brussel sprouts leaf by leaf....

          1. re: kubasd
            flourgirl Aug 15, 2009 03:30 PM

            I love what Cebca said about not feeling pressure to make a full "meal" when cooking for yourself. I'm usually cooking for myself, my DH and our son - and I love cooking for them. But I totally DO feel pressure to make something that qualifies as a meal in their eyes - whereas if I'm cooking for myself I feel completely free to make whatever the heck I feel like. I will say that I have been on a slow but steady campaign to get them to think outside the box on this issue just because it makes cooking much more enjopyable for me if I don't feel so hemmed in.

        2. c
          Cebca Apr 27, 2009 03:39 PM

          Good timing on this post, however, since my boyfriend just moved out yesterday and I'm getting used to the idea of doing a lot of cooking alone (and planning dinner parties).

          1. alwayscooking Apr 27, 2009 03:42 PM

            You can find me in the kitchen - when I'm not out dining. I'll cook a full meal and enjoy it alone. And, when I'm alone, I can tweak the dinner to be exactly the way I want it - hot, spicy, often with a coo or tangy balance - and not for someone's palate. But I'll always welcome unexpected (or planned) guests to share in my creations.

            It's a Buddhist-like hobby - the focus, process and impermanence of making a meal. Ommm

            1. Sam Fujisaka Apr 27, 2009 03:48 PM

              For the last year and a half, I'm with my 5 1/2 year old daughter half the time and alone the other half. Not counting entertaining, I cook more involved dishes when my daughter is with me. Its fun introducing her to new foods. I eat pretty well by myself as well, however.

              1. im_nomad Apr 27, 2009 04:07 PM

                Workday recipes and some of the weekend stuff is often simpler, but I also do the higher effort meals for one from time to time and I really enjoy it. I enjoy the whole process, from the finding of some new or wonderful ingredient, to cooking it and having it turn out well. When I do the "higher effort for one" meals like this, I try to make it a little special with a nicer glass of wine etc, so it feels like a treat.

                Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love cooking for other people and sharing meals, but you know, there's also something to be said about being content in your own company for sure.

                But you're never eating alone, because we always get to come in here afterwards and share what we've cooked ;)

                1. m
                  mordacity Apr 27, 2009 04:17 PM

                  When I'm cooking alone my plan is to cook something that will keep in the fridge for a few days so I don't have to do it every night. That said, it's often fairly involved and usually pretty good. I do enjoy food more when I can eat it with people instead of the TV, but I'm not going to live on cornflakes just because I don't have a dining partner.

                  1. h
                    HillJ Apr 27, 2009 04:18 PM

                    It took me all of two seconds to say, YES! Meals my family won't typically enjoy or while my husband is out of town, I'll go market shopping just for myself knowing I can indulge on more experimental pairing than if I was cooking for my "gang." Of course a nice glass of wine, a film I've been wanting to see or a piece of music I really want to HEAR :) with dinner for one, makes me equally happy. Bliss.

                    1. s
                      SeoulQueen Apr 28, 2009 10:00 AM

                      I actually look forward to those nights when my husband is out of town on business and I can cook and eat alone. It allows me to cook with ingredients that my husband doesn't like. Dishes tend to be comfort food/easy prep dishes that I can quickly throw together as it allows me to spend the rest of the evening watching TV (no fighting for that remote control!)

                      However, if I am alone and plan a baking session, then I tend to do more elaborate recipes rather than a batch of cookies. I know I can use all the counter space so will haul out everything, Kitchenaid mixer, food processor, etc.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: SeoulQueen
                        c
                        Cebca Apr 28, 2009 11:10 AM

                        SeoulQueen, I totally agree with you on the first bit, but have to disagree with you on your second paragraph - if I am alone I am less likely to hall out all of the equipment because I know there is no chance of getting any help in the clean-up!

                        1. re: Cebca
                          s
                          SeoulQueen Apr 28, 2009 08:46 PM

                          hey cebca
                          well I tend to clean up as I cook or bake. By the end, there's not too much cleaning up to do - it's a trait that I learned from my 7th grade home economics teacher. She was a very nice, sweet little old lady but a bit of a drill sargeant when it came to cleanliness in the kitchen!

                          1. re: SeoulQueen
                            c
                            Cebca Apr 29, 2009 09:25 AM

                            Yeah, I guess I tend to try to do that too when I am baking. When cooking I try to pre-wash as much as possible but when it comes to crunch time and everything is being finished at once I'm too busy tending things to worry about the dishes . . . baking this isn't as much of a problem. But pre-wash or not, I always seem to get complaints about using every dish in the house . . ..

                            1. re: Cebca
                              alwayscooking May 1, 2009 07:49 AM

                              Even cooking for one, I can fill a dishwasher in a day! The dirty pans and plates and dishes in the sink are all mating and reproducing faster than I can put them in the dishwasher.

                              But the process is still fun and, now that I'm older, I've learned to 'pick-up my toys' when I'm done playing.

                              1. re: alwayscooking
                                c
                                Cebca May 1, 2009 09:44 AM

                                Sigh . . . dishwasher . . . if only.

                                1. re: Cebca
                                  d
                                  DishDelish Aug 16, 2009 02:02 AM

                                  I agree, if only! Someday...

                        2. re: SeoulQueen
                          Will Owen Apr 29, 2009 04:47 PM

                          And I alleviate my loneliness when Mrs. O is absent with all the things she doesn't like, such as eggplant or turnip greens, or conduct experiments with odd lots of leftovers to make messes I'd never feed to anyone else. Since I don't play an instrument or get a big kick out of crossword puzzles, cooking is what I do to exercise my imagination and keep my elderly bod occupied. Oh, and then there's the fact that I usually lunch alone on weekdays, so I get lots of opportunities to experiment on a daily basis.

                          1. re: Will Owen
                            c
                            Cebca Apr 29, 2009 04:54 PM

                            ditto - although I do love me some crossword puzzles

                        3. BobB Apr 28, 2009 01:41 PM

                          I lived alone for 23 years. I did a lot of entertaining during that time (still do now that I'm married), but I also cooked and enjoyed many hundreds, if not thousands, of solo meals - not usually as elaborate as those I would cook for company, but typically some sort of meat/veg/starch combo, properly plated and thoroughly enjoyed with a glass or three of wine.

                          1. ktmoomau Apr 28, 2009 01:47 PM

                            This really hits home as Fiance has been away for about a week. I am so tired from work that if it is just me cooking and not just assembling is major. I do a lot of using up the leftovers. I detailed in my blog how I used a leftover peruvian chicken for four different meals. If it is under 15 minutes I will do it even when alone. And some nights are better than others, but I generally cook more involved things when Fiance is around.

                            I also tend to eat faster alone, so maybe I don't enjoy it quite as much because I don't savor it. But I tend to like food just as much, I just don't cook quite so much.

                            When I lived alone and was a first year law student I survived on carrots, hummus, pita, cereal, yogurt and a piece of fruit or lean cuisine. Not a healthy diet, but I don't think your first year of law school can be considered healthy.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: ktmoomau
                              BamiaWruz Apr 28, 2009 07:22 PM

                              Same here with eating really fast, I think this is another reason I would rather eat with someone and enjoy a nice conversation during the meal as to savor what I'm eating.

                              1. re: BamiaWruz
                                kubasd May 1, 2009 04:58 PM

                                weird, cuz i'm the exact opposite... I eat way slower alone, lol

                                1. re: kubasd
                                  hyacinthgirl Aug 14, 2009 12:07 PM

                                  me too! When left completely to my own devices, I can honestly make 1 slice of pizza last 45 minutes.

                              2. re: ktmoomau
                                NYchowcook Apr 30, 2009 08:00 AM

                                when I was in law school, I loved cooking and baking -- sort of a creative outlet to offset the grind of the law books.
                                In fact, I would get up early and bake muffins and haul em on my bike to school for my classmates!

                              3. s
                                Sal Vanilla Apr 28, 2009 08:29 PM

                                I eat odd things when alone and do dangerous grazing because I feel like I have never had a proper meal.

                                I will eat a piece of bread with peanut butter. Then a whole head of roasted cauliflower. Then an ear of corn. Then I will nibble in tiny rabbit bites 10 or so crunch master rice crackers. Then eat an orange and make orange smiles at myself in the mirror. Then suck on a piece of crystalized ginger with a chocolate chip hidden between the roof of my mouth and the ginger.

                                Basically, I am hopeless and somewhat scary odd when left alone.

                                And then I get on Chow and talk about it.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                  c
                                  Cebca Apr 29, 2009 09:28 AM

                                  I also do a lot of weird grazing when I am alone! I will try to put something together that qualifies as a "meal", but I actually almost always try to make it pretty healthy and low-calorie because I KNOW that no matter how much I eat at the "meal" I will get bored and then graze a bunch. My new favorite thing is frozen cherries - put them in a cup and let them sit until they siften a little bit but are still cold and icy . . . mmmmm . . . also I will make little cups of oatmeal with weird combinations of mix-ins. And I have also been addicted to rice crackers as of late.

                                  1. re: Cebca
                                    s
                                    Sal Vanilla Apr 29, 2009 10:09 AM

                                    MMMM frozen cherries! Why has this never occured to me? I freeze grapes. I have three giant cherry trees right outside my back door... never once froze one. Thank you Cebca.

                                  2. re: Sal Vanilla
                                    k
                                    Kagey May 3, 2009 12:18 PM

                                    I think we might be separated at birth. This afternoon/evening saw me eat a piece of toast with butter and Marmite, then about 10 pork rinds. Then about half of a nearly-thawed hot cross bun. And a bunch of grapes. One Ryvita (like Wasa crispbread) with goat cheese and tomato chutney. Then I finally got around to cooking: gai lan stir fried with garlic and chili over jasmine rice. I'll probably finish the hot cross bun before I call it a day. I'm dangerous when left alone.

                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                      d
                                      DishDelish Aug 16, 2009 02:07 AM

                                      I think I used to do this more pre-marriage. lol, your bit about the orange smiles in the mirror made me laugh! =)

                                      Maybe when the kids have grown and left home I will do the weird grazing thing again...

                                    2. purple goddess Apr 28, 2009 08:39 PM

                                      I am very rarely alone, but on the rare occasions I am, it feels weird to eat by myself.

                                      What I usually do is make a less labour-intensive meal and eat it while Twittering.

                                      Makes me feel less isolated.

                                      Odd, I know.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: purple goddess
                                        j
                                        jesoda Apr 29, 2009 11:13 AM

                                        A few years back I was separated from my husband and I remember making some chicken dish for the first itme. It came out so good it really took great effort on my part not to pull someone in off the street to try it. I still remember that like it was yesterday.

                                      2. LindaWhit Apr 29, 2009 11:18 AM

                                        I love cooking for myself and enjoying it. I feel I'm totally worth it!

                                        I do tend to cook *less* when it's hot and sticky out, but come winter, I'm more than happy puttering in the kitchen all weekend long. I love the process of cooking - the preparation, the peeling, chopping, setting up the mise, the combining of flavors, the stirring, the peeking at the simmering bubbly whatever-I'm-making, the taste-testing, the tweaking to get it to *my* taste, the smell of whatever's been cooking all day and finally, sitting down to something I've made.

                                        Weeknights tend to be leftovers from what I've been making on the weekends, but sometimes I've preplanned and will make something relatively easy and quick for dinner (that will then be enough for a few work lunches as well).

                                        I might not have a salad with my spaghetti & meat sauce or will just make mac & ham & cheese and that's IT for dinner (so no green veggie) but if it's just for me, who cares?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          free sample addict aka Tracy L Apr 29, 2009 08:23 PM

                                          "I love cooking for myself and enjoying it. I feel I'm totally worth it!"

                                          Right on! Your approach is a lot like mine. IMHO, it is very liberating to enjoy a meal I cooked only for myself.

                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                                            LindaWhit Apr 30, 2009 09:01 AM

                                            Especially if you feel like experimenting - you can mix flavors or try something new without anyone saying "Ewwwww! I'm not gonna eat THAT!"

                                        2. g
                                          gordeaux Apr 29, 2009 12:29 PM

                                          You kiding me?
                                          Family away for the night?
                                          Ribeye and a salad with bleu cheese dressing in front of the tv with a baseball game. Great night. Only thing better would be a football game. Or a war movie with the surround cranked up.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: gordeaux
                                            LindaWhit Apr 29, 2009 12:50 PM

                                            Hey, gordeaux - you forgot to say this is all done while just in your skivvies while farting. ;-)

                                            (I broke up laughing reading your post!)

                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                              s
                                              small h Apr 29, 2009 03:22 PM

                                              And I am now reminded of the Seinfeld episode in which George, newly single, glories in sitting on his couch eating a piece of cheese "the size of a car battery."

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                s
                                                Sal Vanilla Apr 29, 2009 04:23 PM

                                                True story... After a late knit night I came home to find my husband laying on the rug in his skivvies snoring with a half eaten biscuit on his belly and an empty wine glass still clenched tightly in his hand, the football game blaring and the dog was next to him gnawing a steak bone.

                                                Men seem more likely to not compromise on their meals when their SO is not around.

                                                Some go over the edge...

                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                  c
                                                  Cebca Apr 29, 2009 04:39 PM

                                                  Impressive. I usually spill the wine when I fall asleep with the glass in my hand.

                                                  1. re: Cebca
                                                    s
                                                    Sal Vanilla Apr 30, 2009 12:16 AM

                                                    His is a practiced hand. The glass was empty though, but he has fallen asleep on the couch with a glass of red perched on his chest many nights. Lordy. When we were first married he dove into the water chasing a fishing pole (a fish chomped and ran with his bait)... He had a Becks in his hand. He dove in with the becks staying above the water, grabbed the pole and got himself back up on the dock.

                                                    Other women are impressed with machismo, big muscles or a big wallet. Me... drink salvaging under the most dire and trying circumstance.

                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                      LindaWhit Apr 30, 2009 09:00 AM

                                                      OK, now THAT takes talent! LOL!!! No wonder you married him. ;-)

                                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                        mtngirlnv Aug 14, 2009 04:32 PM

                                                        Oh my, yes! My favorite was coming home to find SE snoring in his boxers, dogs cleaning off the plates, scotch glass still upright in one hand and the remote in the other.....I woke him up with my laughing until tears were coming down my face.

                                                    2. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                      im_nomad Apr 29, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                      hahaha, thanks for that mental image Sal ! hilarious. Double kudos to the dog for not snagging that biscuit.

                                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                        LindaWhit Apr 29, 2009 05:57 PM

                                                        Oh, you DO have a picture of this, I hope? This is one for the grandkids. :-)

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                          s
                                                          Sal Vanilla Apr 30, 2009 12:12 AM

                                                          Indeed I do! So many embarrassing pictures... so little time.

                                                          I got one of him in a particularly scandalous pose blown up and framed for our anniversary. I hung it at the bottom of the basement stairs. It keeps him from doing a house tour to new people. I hate house tours.

                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                            LindaWhit Apr 30, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                            Oh, you're GOOD.

                                                        2. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                          al b. darned Aug 15, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                          One cold, wintery evening DW came home from work with two hot gourmet coffee beverages. Walking toward the front door with one of said beverages in each hand, she slipped on the icy driveway, and landed on her butt with the two coffee beverages upright and intact.

                                                          1. re: al b. darned
                                                            BobB Aug 17, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                            Impressive! But ouch 8-(

                                                    3. im_nomad Apr 29, 2009 03:15 PM

                                                      you can also think of it this way, cooking for yourself means you can buy more expensive ingredients for one

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: im_nomad
                                                        c
                                                        Cebca Apr 29, 2009 03:29 PM

                                                        See, I tend to think of it the opposite way, because many ingredients don't come in single-sized servings so I feel like it's not worth it to spend the money if it is only for me (not that I am not worth it . . . just that I am only one person). This is especially true with perishable items.

                                                        1. re: Cebca
                                                          im_nomad Apr 29, 2009 03:48 PM

                                                          that sort of confuses me a little...are you buying your ingredients in the bulk section? Or are you talking like legs of lamb or whole turkeys?

                                                          most things can be purchased in small quantities, pinches of this or that, ounces of this or that etc. Even wine comes in half bottles....

                                                          1. re: im_nomad
                                                            c
                                                            Cebca Apr 29, 2009 03:58 PM

                                                            Yeah but I'm talking about things like sauces in bottles, oils and vinegars and their kin, fresh herbs in packages, etc. Yes, I know the first few things I could keep and use for meals and guests in the future, but if its for a labor intensive recipe requiring expensive ingredients that I am experimenting with by myself what are the odds of that actually happening? I like to try new things all the time so I rarely end up duplicating even the most delicious recipes unless they are requested.

                                                            1. re: Cebca
                                                              s
                                                              Sal Vanilla Apr 29, 2009 04:27 PM

                                                              Cebca - buy some really good tupperware, make your normal batch of dinner goodies and then freeze the leftovers in manageable portions. That way you get to treat yourself well, only have to do the work once and don't spend your nights grazing on oatmeal concoctions you probably do not want. If I graze too many nights in a row I get depressed.

                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                                c
                                                                Cebca Apr 29, 2009 04:42 PM

                                                                Good advice . . . of course I am also moving soon and decided a few months ago (during the winter when hot cereal sounded joyful) to buy a large amount of bulk oatmeal - its so cheap! So now I have this huge mass of oats that I'm trying to get through before the move PLUS I don't want to load up my freezer because that's even less portable than a giant jar of oatmeal . . . sigh. But, you know . . . it isn't REALLY about the oatmeal . . ..

                                                                1. re: Cebca
                                                                  m
                                                                  mordacity May 1, 2009 05:35 PM

                                                                  Make granola!

                                                                  1. re: mordacity
                                                                    c
                                                                    Cebca May 4, 2009 02:08 PM

                                                                    I know, I know. I was actually on a huge homemade granola kick last summer/fall . . . looks like its time to bring it back.

                                                              2. re: Cebca
                                                                im_nomad Apr 29, 2009 05:50 PM

                                                                needless to say, i do freeze a lot of things like soups and such, or what I end up making from excess ingredients. I also have 3/4 of my kitchen it seems, stuffed with various condiments and such, sometimes there's no actual food around.

                                                                plus sometimes it just takes a little extra planning meal wise. if i have fresh cilantro, some will go into a salad the next day after cooking etc. I admit I don't keep a lot of fresh herbs around.

                                                          2. re: im_nomad
                                                            a
                                                            Ali May 1, 2009 02:11 PM

                                                            Oh yes! I've fed myself lobster, high-grade tuna, Alaskan salmon, etc. and never bat an eye because cooking for one means not buying as much. I went through phase last summer where all my dinners were salmon fillets with a white wine shallot sauce (sheer laziness). Completely doable when it's just cooking for one - 1/3 lb salmon fillet with some veggies means a lovely dinner costing less than $10. The joys of living alone. :)

                                                          3. h
                                                            Harters Apr 30, 2009 02:47 AM

                                                            There are things my partner doesnt like to eat and I do. So, when I'm alone for a few days, there's an opportunity to cook and enjoy those foods.

                                                            1. Paula76 Apr 30, 2009 06:35 AM

                                                              I definetely need an audience to get inspired! I don't see the point in spending time and effort in the kitchen just for myself so whenever I'm alone, I also resort to grazing on different nibbles unless I've got any leftovers I can reheat. To me, cooking is like and art and without any sort of praise or review at the end, I feel empty!

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Paula76
                                                                LindaWhit Apr 30, 2009 09:02 AM

                                                                Not even the satisfaction that you just made yourself a really phenomenal meal? You can get praise if you post the recipe of what you made on the Recipes board! :-)

                                                                1. re: Paula76
                                                                  alwayscooking May 1, 2009 07:53 AM

                                                                  Art doesn't need an audience only an artist's self satisfaction.

                                                                  1. re: alwayscooking
                                                                    Paula76 May 1, 2009 05:52 PM

                                                                    In an ideal world, maybe, but I admit I am a flawed human being and need reassurance when I put a lot of effort in! It doesn't mean I'd never cook for myself because I do but in order to make something truly special, I need the inspiration of somebody to do it for.

                                                                    1. re: Paula76
                                                                      alwayscooking May 1, 2009 05:53 PM

                                                                      You sound like a very generous and giving person - far from a flaw!

                                                                2. folprivate May 1, 2009 11:42 AM

                                                                  I either cook comfort food (soup or pasta) or Tuna or some other seafood the family won't eat. The joke in our neighborhood was the first time after we moved in that my wife and daughters were gone, one of the neighbors took pity on me and invited me to dinner. I declined telling him I had a piece of wasabi crusted ahi tuna, a bottle of sauvignon blanc chilling, and I was going to light a fire in the chimenea and have some 15 year old bourbon and a cigar for desert. He asked if he could come to my house.

                                                                  1. sebetti May 1, 2009 04:17 PM

                                                                    Like many of the other posters, I don't worry about courses or proper servings of meat vs. starch vs. veggies when eating alone. I'm more likely to choose one item and eat only that.
                                                                    In the summer I often just have tomatoes and avocado for dinner seasoned only with pepper. Or just a bundle of asparagus ...or most shockingly decadent to me: TWO steamed artichokes just for me!

                                                                    1. David A. Goldfarb May 2, 2009 08:37 PM

                                                                      Like some of the others have mentioned, I like the chance to make something for myself that maybe my wife doesn't particularly care for, or to use some ingredient that I have stashed away that would be just enough for one serving and not enough for two, like a porterhouse from the small end that I got once in my coop beef purchase.

                                                                      1. j
                                                                        Jack_ May 3, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                                        I'm with you

                                                                        1. cuccubear Aug 14, 2009 11:43 AM

                                                                          When I’m alone, I have no problem cooking a nice meal for myself. I pretend I’m on a cooking show with dog Trixie as the audience, and just blah, blah, blah my way through. If it’s good, then I’ll make it again for both of us, or he can have leftovers later.

                                                                          I like it because I’m my own worst critic and if the meal is a flop I don’t have the added angst of flopping publicly. And, like others have said above, if I don’t feel like having a starch or vegetable, so what...

                                                                          1. hyacinthgirl Aug 14, 2009 12:14 PM

                                                                            I'm with you Bamia, I really don't enjoy putting in all the effort and then eating a meal alone. I guess I just like to discuss things, get alternate opinions. It's probably the same reason I don't like going to the movies alone. I want to know other people's thoughts!
                                                                            But when I am alone, I do like getting take out or even going to a restaurant, preferably one I love but rarely get to.
                                                                            Or I like eating something kind of awful and decadent that I wouldn't feel so great about eating in front of other people. I get this from my mom, I think. Anytime my dad went out of town on business, she would have at least one night of eating a dairy queen blizzard for dinner. Not a bad tradition at all.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                              BobB Aug 14, 2009 12:18 PM

                                                                              Ditto on that - nowadays when the spouse is away is the only time I'll indulge in a major plate of mac 'n cheese. (Though that's partly 'cause she doesn't like anything with melted cheese so I can't make it for her).

                                                                            2. Will Owen Aug 14, 2009 03:46 PM

                                                                              Someone was mentioning problems with buying just enough for one... and I was reminded that on several occasions when I've been alone for a few days I've been able to score a perfect-for-one Choice steak from the "Used Meat" bin, probably because most guys who pig out on a steak alone want a gigantic one and mine run a bit over 3/4 lb - more than enough, thanks! And usually marked down a good bit, too.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                s
                                                                                small h Aug 14, 2009 03:55 PM

                                                                                "Used Meat"? The mind reels. Used for...what, exactly? I guess "Pre-Owned Meat" sounds too frou-frou.

                                                                                1. re: small h
                                                                                  BeaN Aug 15, 2009 02:09 PM

                                                                                  It's meat that is marked down because it's near or at the sell-by date. I thought we were the only ones who used that term, though!

                                                                                  1. re: BeaN
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    small h Aug 15, 2009 06:36 PM

                                                                                    Then the term "used meat" is not accurate (and thank heaven for that). Can't anyone come up with a more accurate - and appetizing - description? Deadline meat? Countdown meat? Older but wiser meat?

                                                                                    1. re: small h
                                                                                      BeaN Aug 16, 2009 06:30 AM

                                                                                      Those are more accurate, but not at all funny. What's the point in that?

                                                                                      1. re: BeaN
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        small h Aug 16, 2009 06:43 AM

                                                                                        You don't think "older but wiser meat" is funny? Oh, well.

                                                                                        1. re: small h
                                                                                          d
                                                                                          DishDelish Aug 17, 2009 01:08 AM

                                                                                          I laughed!! lol! =~D

                                                                              2. d
                                                                                DishDelish Aug 16, 2009 01:50 AM

                                                                                I will occasionally cook something special for myself, but I usually prefer to cook for someone else (usually my hubby). Right now I am feeling very sad cause he is in Hawaii until next week Saturday and I am home with my 2 yr. old and 6 mo. old and I don't really have any reason to cook anything great. I bought a bunch of bag salads, some frozen food, etc... just so I remember to eat. I don't really feel like eating (or remember to eat) when he is gone but I really need to cause I am nursing my baby.

                                                                                I used to cook a lot more for myself before marriage though, I guess I am just so used to cooking and enjoying the finished product with another adult now that I don't really care when I'm by myself. I love good food, but it just doesn't taste the same without someone to experience it with (at least for me). Today I have been catering to my 2 yr. old ... but it just isn't quite the same. Then again, maybe my business with the kids makes me forget about extravagent cooking.

                                                                                1. hill food Aug 16, 2009 02:10 AM

                                                                                  the SO is the better cook, so usu. I don't do much beyond prep. on my own I've tried things like Calamari steak parmesan - pounded giant calamari cutlet, breaded in egg and panko, home made tomato and roasted red pepper sauce with Asiago on a bed of mesclun and a little bit of capellini. I liked it.

                                                                                  but the reaction to the name is always the same.

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    Jacey Aug 17, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                                                    I love eating alone and cooking for myself. I actually get more joy cooking for myself than others. You can put whatever you want in it, eat the meal in any order, lick you plate, use your hands, etc.

                                                                                    Granted, it's nice to share meals with others, but there's something very satisfying cooking and eating for one.

                                                                                    1. h
                                                                                      HillJ Aug 17, 2009 10:48 AM

                                                                                      http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/08/co...

                                                                                      Interesting book that asks this very question!

                                                                                      1. nomadchowwoman Aug 17, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                                                        I lived alone for about 10 years before marrying. During that time, I learned to cook--and learned to cook very well, with a repertoire much larger than my mom's.
                                                                                        My mom was--is--an excellent cook, so I was used to delicious meals, but she never allowed me to help with the cooking (only, drat, w/cleaning up). I just wasn't going to eat fast or frozen food or packets of ramen noodles, so I "borrowed" a couple of Mom's cookbooks (Betty Crocker and the (oh so cosmopolitan!) BC International Cookbook. I made beef stroganoff and spanokopita and lemon chicken and french onion soup among many other dishes in those books. I often ate alone and enjoyed every morsel (though I became known among my friends, who were happy to come over for dinner, as quite the gourmet). When The Silver Palate Cookbook came out, I discovered a whole other world of dishes and flavors. And then I bought Martha Stewart's Quick Cook, then a big pretty Mexican (Mom hated Mexican food so we never had it) cookbook better suited for the coffee-table than the kitchen, though I cooked from it nevertheless, then Paul Prudhomme's book, etc., etc., and I'm still buying cookbooks. I often tried out a recipe and ate it solo (usually multiple times) before serving it to others.
                                                                                        I still enjoy the occasions when I'm eating alone, even if a hodgepodge of what's in the fridge. (I just finished a solo lunch of leftover linguini and clam sauce, with a hunk of slightly stale ciabatta for dunking, and a half of avocado that needed to be eaten and a single leftover coffe-bbq-sauced baby back rib.) I don't know what it is, but eating well--for me, that means a variety of delicious, relatively healthful, well-prepared foods--is a key to my humanity. I love sharing my food with others, but if I could not for any reason, I still believe I deserve to enjoy the fruits of my favorite labor.
                                                                                        Frequent travel alone cured me of my fear of dining out alone, too, and sometimes if I'm buzzing about my own city, to an appointment or what not, I'll stop at a restaurant I want to try and have lunch alone. (I do understand folks who just won't do that, however, as it was hard for me for quite a while; some places just aren't very hospitable to solo diners.)
                                                                                        All that said, I have to ask--and this may be neither practical nor up your alley--if you have ever considered joining, or starting, a dinner club? Or perhaps offering casual cooking lessons in your home?

                                                                                        1. k
                                                                                          KristieB Aug 19, 2009 05:44 PM

                                                                                          It took me a long time to cook for myself and get used to eating alone when I was newly single. But I decided that I was going to feed myself well and did so. I would freeze soups in small containers and I learned how to scale some recipes down to managable amounts. Not as much fun as cooking for someone, but still a good treat for yourself.

                                                                                          1. janetofreno Aug 19, 2009 11:55 PM

                                                                                            DH is gone on business a lot during the week, and I use it as an excuse to make up recipes.....and I DO enjoy eating them..at least most of the time! I don't look at cookbooks...I just take whatever I have and throw it together.

                                                                                            My latest effort was a chicken dish, with vermouth (no other white wine in the house) and TONS of fresh basil from my plant....sauteed with onions. Quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Tomorrow I'm going to try a version of arroz con pollo (we have a lot of chicken in the freezer; DH went overboard at Costco....)

                                                                                            Side dishes tend to be simple when its just me; and anyway vegetables are often incorporated in my entrees (one thing I do a lot is make a double serving and enjoy it two nights in a row...sounds boring but I don't find it to be....). Lately I've just been enjoying a sliced fresh tomato with a little olive oil and more of that basil as my preferred side.....I will have rice with many dishes, or at least a little bread to sop up the sauces....

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