Dining Solo

9:31 AM Edit This 12 Comments »
I'm reading a book. Well, when am I NOT reading a book? That's part of the Super Serious Bedtime Routine That Must Be Followed In Order To Sleep. Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant.  It's a series of essays by people who, at one time or another, had to cook and eat by themselves. And as I read it, I'm struck by how hard it is for some people to do just that. Cook and eat by themselves. Because I've been doing it for years. In fact, it's a pretty odd day that I eat with anyone BUT myself. I routinely eat breakfast with my posse on Sunday mornings at a greasy spoon because that's part of my routine. And if I happen to be at Cowgirl's over the weekend, we usually throw something together, but most all of my other meals are singular. I eat breakfast and lunch at my desk at work during the week and I generally don't eat dinner. I'll snack on something, but never a full meal in the evenings.
 
I like to cook. Most of you know that. My freezer is full of mystery tomato and vegetable sauces from my garden produce that I will pull out one by one this winter, turning them into pasta or a strange sort of pizza or throw on top of chicken in the crockpot. I've made vegan and gluten free cookies just to see what they'd taste like. I experiment with vegetables from the farmer's market - making things like eggplant pizzas and zucchini riboons smothered in a butternut squash puree. Last spring, I was heavily into making homemade whole wheat tortillas for my lunches. I go in spurts I suppose. I made my famous beef last weekend and am eating it, one serving at a time, over copious salad greens, feta, and cherry tomatoes from my garden, then dressed with vinegar. Last Easter, I made a whole apple and onion stuffed, slathered-in-garlic turkey, along with my favorite carrot and garlic mashed potatoes.  Just for me. Because it was a holiday.
 
And I have a whole three ring binder stuffed with recipes yet to try. What is it about eating alone that frightens people? I don't quite get that. But then again, I've been alone for so long, I'm not certain that I COULD share my life and cooking with another person. I've been assured that when I WANT to do such, I'll know I've met the right one. I'm pessimisticly waiting. Ha! I understand wanting to cook FOR someone. For the pleasure you can give them. The love that is infused with the dishes you create which is passed along to them through the eating. I get that. My Christmas Dinner last year was just such an instance. I was going to cook whether anyone showed up or not, but when we got socked with three feet of snow, the misfits that were stuck in town made their way over one by one, and we had the most glorious dinner together. The cooking of which was my gift to all of them.
 
But the eating alone? Maybe I'm just used to it and I no longer feel the angst that it seems to cause in others. Maybe I felt that way at one time. Lonely in front of the tv, eating chips and salsa because I don't think I'm worth creating a meal for. Scraping the peanut butter jar with a knife and maybe or maybe not putting it on crackers before licking it all gone. But I don't remember it. Maybe it's a blessing that I don't remember. Because making something for myself? Means I'm worth spending time on. Worth creating for. I am. Who else am I going to do it for, if not for myself?
 
So, tonight, when I'm cooking up one of my Very Special Kate Quesadillas for a bedtime snack (Tortilla slathered in fat-free refried beans and topped with shredded cheddar, baked until crispy, then topped with salsa and shredded greens, YUM!) and packing my breakfast and lunch for Wednesday, I doubt I'll think much about it. The eating alone. But I will be enjoying the creation. Because that's what I do. And I'm not afraid of it.

12 comments:

badmuthafudruckers.com said...

I live alone, and therefore eat alone most of the time. Granted, I eat dinner with friends a few times a week (Thursdays and Sundays for TV nights!), but usually it's just me. I don't mind it - it's just dinner!

Weekend lunches are special, though. I'll usually walk the dogs down to a dog-friendly restaurant or cafe as a treat for all of us. Does it count as alone if you have your pets with you?

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

I love that book. I read it now when I miss eating alone.

And I do- I used to love taking myslef out to dinner. I still could, but Josh likes to come too, so I never seem to make time.

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

I love that book. I read it now when I miss eating alone.

And I do- I used to love taking myslef out to dinner. I still could, but Josh likes to come too, so I never seem to make time.

melissalion said...

Eating along is one of life's great pleasures. As is seeing a movie alone. I love seeing movies alone. THAT IS THE BEST!

Can do mom said...

Good for you Kate for taking care of yourself and eating scrumptious foods alone.

I don't mind eating alone but I confess that I'm rather lazy about it. I often don't go to the trouble to make a meal or create a mess just for me. In fact, I confess that if my dh is gone, the children and I frequently eat a very low-key meal.

My dad died when I was very young, 3 1/2, and my mother, bless her, prepared nutritious, delicious meals for herself and her three young children EVERY SINGLE DAY. No prefab anything. She was (and still is) amazing. She truly was a dedicated mother and at the time I did not appreciate her sacrifice the way I should have. Now that I'm older and a mother of three myself I have a better understanding of her sacrifice and strive to be like her.

Enjoy your artistry in the kitchen!

Shelley said...

You make cooking sound so worth it. I am lazy by nature. I eat most of my meals alone, too, as my husband travels a lot. I go in spurts of actually cooking for myself - lately it's been cereal or eggs or yogurt for dinner, and I'm getting sick of it. Geez, your salad description makes me want one now...I vow to do better this week, starting with tomorrow's dinner (because I'm doing RC at 6:30 tonight). Thanks for the kick in the pants!

Sparkling Red said...

That's great! I wish I were like you in that respect. I have food issues, especially when I'm under stress. I remember days when I was newly separated when I'd have to talk myself through the process of making a simple green salad, because the who concept was overwhelming. Supermarkets were terrifying. I ate a lot of restaurant meals until I adjusted, and even then I tend to cook foods that require a bare minimum of preparation.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

I've got to stop reading your blog at lunchtime - for some reason, my peanut butter and jelly sandwich suddenly seems so...inadequate.

I'm hungry. And that Special Kate Quesadilla sounds seriously awesome.

Tricia said...

Hmmmm.....I rarely "cook" when its just for myself. Something to think about...

lacochran's evil twin said...

I don't mind eating alone...especially at work. I struggle with not wasting food though. It seems easier to portion for many and to send the leftovers home with someone else. Otherwise the leftovers tempt me and I am weak. Gobble gobble. I often make things where leftovers can be divided up and frozen. No guilt there.

Mel said...

I've gotten so used to eating alone that I think I prefer it when there is no one to see the stuff stuck in my teeth... ;)

E said...

Have you read The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones? SHe also wrote the Tenth Muse. She is a chef and her recipes are lovely and so is the way she eats and lives. I think you would like it and her

I am with you. I love to cook but that is always for he crowd around here.
So when I travel I almost always eat alone. I can't wait to get away from whichever business people I have been with all day. They are fine, but let's face it we are not together by choice. So I choose a restaurant, take a book, eavesdrop a little, and enjoy the pleasures of my own company.