I have planned a solo vacation for the fall. For the first time ever I am going away by myself. When I told one friend of my plans, he looked at me quizzically and said if he were alone for a week he would go nuts. I admitted to him that I may end up crying all week out of sheer loneliness, but I will do my best to keep a stiff upper lip. Another asked me, if I planned to cook during my vacation because I have rented a tiny cottage. I promptly told him, “No.”
While I obviously love food and the preparation of it, one thing I rarely do is cook for myself. The fact that I made the chicken dish a few weeks back is a pure aberration. When I am alone, I buy prepared food or I will cook a veggie burger. Once in a while, I will boil pasta and cover it in butter and parmesan cheese. My all time favorite is Costco’s roast chicken which I shred and pile on top of a salad.
I am always in awe of people who will whip up a full meal just for themselves. In fact, I envy them. For me, preparing food is about nurturing others and there is no greater satisfaction then placing a wonderful flavorful meal before family and friends.
Judith Jones, the highly regarded cook book editor and now author, published a book called The Pleasures of Cooking for One. I was looking through it one day in a local bookstore and was amazed at the recipes — Beef Bourgogne, pork tenderloin etc. All dishes that I would make for several people, not just me. After her husband’s death she insisted that it was important to nurture one’s self, which means taking care to prepare flavorful, well-balanced meals.
It’s been a while since I looked through this cookbook and read her other book The Tenth Muse, but the thought of doing a better job of solo cooking has been marinating in the back of my mind. The only thing I may cook on this vacation is lobster. In fact, I may choose to eat lobster each night. But when I return to my Midwestern life and my job as a mother is less hands on, I may just have to buy Judith Jones’ book.