There is always that scene in romantic comedies. The main character sits in his/her high-rise Manhattan loft depressingly stirring away at some sad pasta dish drinking a glass of red wine-alone. Sad bastard music, usually Coldplay, plays in the background while Matthew McConaughey thumbs a photo of the “girl who got away”. Hollywood makes it seem like there is literally nothing more depressing that eating half a pot of fettuccine Alfredo and then snagging a Tupperware container to house your bounty of leftovers.
Now maybe I’m in some intense state of denial about my current romantic situation but I LOVE cooking for myself and nobody else. There are so many options for the single chef to get down on in the kitchen when you’re not worried about your SO. Here are some reasons why cooking for one can be as good, if not better than cooking for two.
When you are dating somebody and you decide to cook a meal there are several things you have to consider. What do they like? Have I made this before? Am I taking too big of a risk throwing this ingredient in last minute? When you are by yourself you only have to worry about one person, and hell if it doesn’t taste very good you can always make something else you’re not going anywhere tonight anyway. So make some rash decisions! Throw some kale in that Panang curry! Drizzle some honey over dried figs and throw that on a pizza. Just look through your fridge an see what might taste good if you throw them all together. For example, last night I was searching through my pantry to find something cook. What I came up with was pancake batter, a pound of bacon, Gruyere pork gravy, and eggs. Now any couple would just make some breakfast for dinner meal. I’ve got nobody to impress so I cooked the bacon, chopped it up and threw it in the pancake batter with Gruyere and basil. I fried up those bad boys and then slathered them in gravy and let me tell you I was in bacony breakfast bliss. Sure it was messy but who cares! Which brings me to my next point.
Nothing is Off-Limits
When you are planning a romantic dinner at-home there are certain foods to want to avoid so as not to spoil the after dinner festivities (if ya know what I mean). You don’t want to fill each other up on cuttlefish, onions, and garlic before you hit the bedroom. So you play it safe- you stick to a simple steak or some pasta dish that you have made a billion times, the two of you smile and say “that was nice” when what you were really craving was heaping bowl of cheesy beans and rice. Also, you can eat as much as you want without worrying about getting bloated. Eat that third bowl of clam chowder! It doesn’t matter you’re going to end up on the couch watching re-runs of Malcolm in the Middle with your hand down the front of your pants anyway!
When you’re cooking for one you can make enough food to last you for days. You can make a whole lasagna and have a nice warm meal for awhile without having to take the time to cook another meal. Also, leftovers are great for that experimentation I was talking about earlier. You have half a pot of risotto left over from Monday? Form that rice into little balls, bread it, and fry it. Now you have fun little risotto balls as a snack or appetizer for your next culinary adventure. Soups and stews are also great choices you can portion out cups and bowls, and freeze them for future enjoyment.
More Time in the Kitchen
If you’re by yourself you can spend hours in the kitchen perfecting your recipe. You can invest six hours into making the perfect gumbo because you don’t have to worry about snagging flowers or where you are going after dinner. There has been many a night where I had no intention of cooking earlier in the day but I get home from work and I have a craving for homemade pizza. Sure it will take a solid 5 hours to let my dough rise and let my pizza sauce reach the perfect consistency but who cares? I’m not going anywhere and I love the process. The more time I put into a dish the greater the reward when it finally reaches my taste buds. This will also help you lift your culinary abilities so when you finally do meet somebody to share your cooking with you will have the skills to really impress them.
Drink the bottle yourself
Remember that sad glass of red wine? Who needs the glass! Just uncork that baby and drink from the bottle while you bump Biggie’s Ready to Die and start chopping up some onions. By the time the meal is finished you will be sufficiently buzzed and ready to enjoy the fruit (or vegetable) of your labor.
What are some of your favorite meals to cook by yourself? Post a comment and let us know!