The Sink or Table for One?
January 7th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
Eating alone shouldn’t mean you sacrifice healthy eating and good taste for a pizza gobbled over the sink. Learn how to set the table and enjoy a nutritious and satisfying meal for one.
WEB-EXTRA: Judith Jones on The Pleasure of Cooking for One
Listen to the rough cut of Lari Robling’s conversation with this legendary editor. Find out what expression Judith Jones would banish from the kitchen.
Come on’ admit it, you’ve been there, grabbing a bite to eat, alone. “Cheese, any kind of cheese I can find in my refrigerator.” “Leftovers on the couch.” “Tunafish sandwich.” “I eat oranges over the sink.”
So, is eating alone something to be performed quickly standing over the sink? Or is it a satisfying experience? Having dined “al sinko” myself a few too many times, I asked Judith Jones, the legendary editor who introduced Julia Child to our kitchens, when she began crafting ideas for her book, “The Pleasures of Cooking for One.” She says, “I got mad at the supermarket because it is a conspiracy because they don’t want you to cook for one they want you to order their take out or amounts that you can’t possibly consume in a week.”
Cooking for one is as complicated as the strategic defense initiative. You’ve got to have everything covered, how much do you need? How much to cook at one time and will you really reheat it if it’s been in the freezer for 14 months? Not to mention, in the land of supersized how do you keep an eye on your health and your wallet. So when Jones found herself in the grocery store arguing with the clerk to sell her just one tenderloin, well that made her as she says, “feisty.”
“They are not going to get me, so I began thinking about new incarnations for say a roasted pork, you might have Chinese stir fry one night, just a little roast another night, Italian style scallopini and it was never the same,” she says. It’s like a culinary jigsaw puzzle. Part of the fun is the challenge. Jones found inspiration for a special dish at a restaurant, “I saw on the menu soufflé for one order ten minutes ahead, and it was toppling over the top and it was brown, it was heaven I immediately went and bought an individual soufflé dish and made it the next night. It says it all, treat yourself to something you love, and it looks so proud on the plate!”
For me, a roast chicken is like money in the bank. I’ll make seven minute mashed potatoes and steam some veggies. The next night I’ll sauté some mushrooms, boil some pasta, and make a white sauce. Left over veggies in the sauce along with some diced chicken. The remainder goes into the freezer to make soup.
So, what do you cook when you dine alone? Share your recipes below, or shoot us an e-mail.