By now you may or not know that my husband (I’ll never get tired of saying that word, more on California Prop 8 later) spends a great deal of time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on a job. He and Mr. Smith make things pretty for Food Network packaging and spend time in a big giant beautiful studio. And me? I stay home, work and take care of my dogs, putz around my garden, take some pictures, maybe see some friends, but that’s really about it. Dogs are like kids sometimes and you have to take care of them first before anything else. They also dictate how much time you can be away from home without getting some type of sitter for them. And yes, I do actually get dogsitters for them. I’m whipped, what can I say. Heaven help me when I become a parent. My children will be smothered and hate me.
Because I’m not a fan of junk food or processed convenience items I have learned over Adam’s sojourns to cook and dine solo. Ok, before you shed a tear (not like you would, but it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to think you could) I’m never really alone because of my critters. But even they can’t replace the jovial laughter and clinking of multiple wine glasses and a table full of friends with happy faces. And I’ve tried, they just keep hopping onto the table. My dogs, not my friends. Well, a few friends have. That’s another blog post.
I gotta hand it to the people who relish solitary experiences in the kitchen and the table. Me? I absolutely cannot stand it. It goes against every single thing I’ve ever known. Food is my connection to the world and as a child it’s what brought my family together. And as happy and comfortable I am as an adult I still have a slight pang when I come home, cook dinner and sit down to eat. By myself. I just cannot get used to it.
Having said this I try to make it as delicious and simple as possible. I’ve thought about pretending to not be alone by creating something overly ambitious to distract me but then there’s a huge pile of dishes afterwards which only amplifies my solitude. And then I thought of calling friends over for dinner, but unless you’ve lived in Los Angeles you have no idea how difficult it is to have friends over on a weeknight at 7pm. A damn near impossibility.
Still, I do ok. Many times it’s grilled vegetables, other times it’s fish with a salad. I’ve been known to eat cheese and crackers for dinner, and I always find pasta in any form with olive oil and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano one of these most satisfying. Then there’s a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which instantly puts me at the front of the line for my imaginary Lonely Boy Poster Contest. God I can’t even believe I’m admiting all this to you.
So now I ask you: What do you cook when you’re cooking for one? Do you have any favorite resources or cookbooks you refer to when dining solo? Because as luck would have it my better half will eventually return to another city for work, leaving me to dine with, well, apparently no one.