While I love cooking for others and experiencing and sharing the pleasures of food with my friends and loved ones, I have realized that some of the best meals are those that I make just for me, to eat by myself. When cooking for me, I usually cook very simply, and can “get away” with eating all the things I am craving or don’t eat very often, even if they don’t technically go together or would never show up on a restaurant menu. This is not to say that my friends and family have demanding palates, but when I am cooking for even one other person I like to keep in mind their tastes, and what they may be in the mood for, as well as keeping things interesting by not cooking the same thing over and over again.
Now, as much as I love food and crave interesting new tastes and dining experiences, I find that the foods I crave regularly are fairly plain and not tremendously varied! A recurring theme when I treat myself to a solo meal is Mac and Cheese with sliced avocado, seasoned simply with garlic salt. Often I’ll have some sort of salad or veggie with it (favorites are Mache [lamb’s lettuce], corn on the cob, or artichoke) or top it with a boiled egg or two, but in general I keep things pretty simple. Yet sometimes, those meals are the ones I look forward to with the most anticipation! And I can eat the same thing (or a variation thereof) for days at a time when my boyfriend is out of town or for whatever reason I find myself solo for dinner.
I think my intense enjoyment of these meals is partly because I’m an introvert, and relish the opportunity to spend time with me, treat myself well, pamper myself with some of my favorite foods, and relax and curl up with a good TV show, book or magazine. It allows me to center myself, gather my thoughts, and have some selfish time thinking only of myself and what I want to eat and how I want to spend my evening.
Here is a picture of a recent Romantic Dinner for One (please excuse the grainy iPhone photo… I couldn’t wait too long to dig in):
I made two beautiful sunny side up organic eggs, with two pieces of toast made from homemade white bread (a post on that will be coming soon) – one slice with melted sharp Irish Cheddar cheese and the other with Marmite (see here and here to learn about Marmite). I plopped a handful of Mache (lamb’s lettuce) along side, and served with HP Sauce (another British item, learn more here), and an ice cold Boont Amber Ale. I lit some candles, turned on a food show, and dove in! I can safely say that that was one of the tastiest and most enjoyable meals I have had in a while.
Do you enjoy eating alone and cooking dinner for yourself? Why or why not, and what do you enjoy most?