Sunday, August 08, 2010

What We Eat When We Eat Alone

The other day, I was listening to NPR's Splendid Table podcast on my way to work. The host was interviewing the authors of a book called What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes. The stories ranged from people confessing to eating junk food or strange concoctions to others eating simple fresh meals in bed while the kids were away. Steak and wine, to bowls of cereal, to spam with cottage cheese.

Though I do not plan on getting the book because the Amazon reviews said that the writing was not all that great, I thought it was an interesting topic. How some people change their eating habits when alone, for better or worse, and what that reveals about the person.

For me, the concept of eating alone is not strange. In fact, now that I think about, I have primarily cooked meals and have eaten alone since I moved into my first apartment six years ago. Even though I have always had roommates, different schedules and dietary preferences usually meant that I cooked for myself (though I usually saved some food for best friend M). And while I have cooked for Alex over our five years of dating, I have never regularly cooked for him because we have lived apart. Hm, upon writing this, I am now thinking about how strange it is going to be to regularly be cooking with someone (note that I did not say for someone- we will be sharing in that duty).

Anyway, I am not sure what my solo cooking says about me. I guess it seems to be similar the stereotype of those 20-something females who like to cook: lots of chicken breasts, salads, things made with Trader Joe bases. Trying to eat healthy but not spend a ton of money or time. I would also bet money that I am not the only one with an emergency box of mac and cheese on the top shelf of my pantry.

When I do have time, usually Sundays, I like to try something new or treat myself. Today I made lettuce wraps and brewed my own Moroccan Mint Iced Tea. I wish I could give a recipe because they were delicious but I improvised with ground turkey, shredded carrots and broccoli, diced portabella mushrooms, and water chestnuts cooked in garlic, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, mustard, ketchup (trust me, the sweetness works). Thanks to the pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables at Trader Joe's, this dish actually only took about 20 minutes to cook.

It may not be the Dominican Republic food that Alex is getting on his beach-front vacation, but this was a nice summer dinner for me . . . and the cats. Guess if you count them, I really won't be eating by myself anymore.

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