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.