Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Monday, October 23, 2006

Table For One

So for six and a half years I lived in a tiny 385 square foot apartment featuring a 2 burner hotplate and a toaster oven in the kitchen. There being no dining room I ate at my coffee table in front of the TV. I bemoaned my situation to anybody who would listen and many who wouldn’t stating that if I only had a real kitchen I would make wonderful meals and invite all my friends and family over for scintillating dinners filled with witty conversation and mouth watering food. I pictured myself in a fabulous frock protected with a cute June Cleaver apron. I had visions of artistic appetizers and lip puckering martinis along with laughter and gushing compliments. Basically I was going to be the hostess with the mostest putting Martha to shame.

Yeah…

I come by these delusions honestly as my mom is an amazing gourmet cook and throws successful dinner parties often. She makes food one only sees on TV or in world class restaurants. She has all the correct serving spoons and platters and bowls. She has “good” dishes and crystal wine glasses. She even has two sets of fancy flatware complete with sugar tongs and fish forks. My mom spends days in the kitchen putting together one of her parties. It is a lot to live up to.

Needless to say I haven’t.

So I have been in my new “grown up” 600 square foot apartment for 4 months. Have I had a dinner party? No. Not a one. I have a real stove and oven (self cleaning no less!!!) along with a huge fridge and cupboard space and a pantry and EVERYTHING. Even a fucking dining room filled with a table and chairs. Something I didn’t have before.

I have used my oven one time. Once. And I bought a frozen pizza, special, so I could try it out. I have only used 2 burners on my stove. The back two are pristine and remain virginal. My fridge is mostly empty. I only use my toaster oven. I have never eaten in my dining room.

Am I a looser? Perhaps. I think that it is more a function of that I am single. Brutally and undeniably single. I cook single food. I make single portions. I eat in front of the TV. Why heat up a big oven when the little convection one works just fine. Not to mention Ol’ Faithful The Microwave. How would I ever need to use four burners at once for little old me? Just not going to happen. In all honesty I am a reluctant and uninspired chef. I don't really like cooking. I suck at it.

It is embarrassing. Bitching about my old apartment all that time and pretty much falling back on the exact set up in the new place. Ooops. I probably shouldn’t have told you... Being single and all nobody would have even known if I had just kept my big mouth shut.

But I want to know. If you are single what to you cook for yourself and if you are not single what was your favourite singledom meal?

22 comments:

sharkey said...

So when are you inviting us for dinner?

When I was single, I ate cereal a couple times a week. When we got married, J.P. saw a lot of Cheerios in his future and decided he'd better become the chef. I can't tell you how well that has worked out for me.

whfropera said...

I do the SAME THING. If its convenient, then thats what I eat. And I love to cook, but i hate to eat alone. When I lived closer to my friends - dinner parties. Now that I live in the middle of nowhere with no friends near - "food in a box".
Yesterday it was ice cream. no joke.

hemlock said...

A couple years ago, I lived about 10 hours from J and for a while, I fell into the "chicken and salad" rut. When I got bored of that, I moved into the salmon and salad, pork chop and salad, routine. You get the picture.

"At least I'm eating healthy", I told myself.

I think it's really hard to keep things interesting when you live alone. Especially if you think you 'suck' at cooking. Also, I know that personally, I'm a very social eater. If I'm alone all day, I tend to just graze a bit, and not eat a real meal.

happy and blue 2 said...

When I was single I ate peanut butter sandwiches a lot. Now I have to make meals for my kids.
I miss the good old days, ha,ha..

elizabeth said...

Well, I'm single, after almost 7 years with my ex, and I was afraid of exactly that happening. The only way to avoid it is to actively fight against it by....cooking. I watch a lot of food network, to try to get inspiration, I get some ideas about what I might want to make and I keep all that in mind when I go shopping. I don't buy convenient food on purpose because I know if I do, the real, good stuff will just go to waste. If all you have in the house is food that needs to be prepared, you'll do it.

The meal I make best is roast chicken with mashed potatoes. I just buy a smaller chicken than I normally would if I were cooking for 2+, and I have leftovers which can be eaten for lunch the next day or given to the dogs if I'm not feeling it. I also make LOTS of pasta, which is something I did when I first started to experiment with flavors, learning to cook. It's so versatile and you can make only a little. Chop some tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, fire up a frying pan and create your own sauce. Just do it.

Precisiongirl said...

My favourite singleton meal was potatoes with veg gravy. It used to take minutes... throw the potatoes in the microwave whilst boiling the kettle for the gravy granules. I used to have "wine and cheese" parties for myself. I'd hide in my room with a bottle of red wine and a block of cheddar cheese... classy.

Candace said...

Ramen noodles. And macaroni and cheese; not homemade, from the blue box.

I didn't cook because I didn't know how. After my first class in culinary school, Basic Culinary Skills One, I became a cook. It really was that simple. Once I learned the basics, it all fell into place. If you're interested (and there's nothing wrong with you if you aren't), you could look into a cooking class offered by a cookwares store. They're usually pretty good and if you take the right one, you'll learn most or all of the basic skills you'd need to cook. Culinary schools often have classes for the community, too.

Dima said...

Well, I'm single, and for one, I don't eat at home much. Usually meet with friends for dinner out somewhere. I don't like cooking for myself, but when I do eat at home, I make a salad or sandwich or soup, nothing too complicated. I don't know how to cook for one, so usually, I cook something, and take some to a friend or two. I do use my kitchen a lot though, and I hate it, because everything is so old. I can't wait to have a bigger kitchen.
I do however eat in front of the TV because I don't have a dining room, but even if I did, when I eat alone, I don't like eating at the dining room table.

Fridita said...

Single with cats. From 1999 to 2003, I lived in a series of places with tiny kitchens, sometimes with my boyfriend, sometimes just with cats. Existed on carry-out & fast food - all of which was eaten while sitting on the living room floor because sitting alone at the table depresses me. When I moved into this house (the home in which I grew up) with its real kitchen & table that had served our whole family so well through the years, I wanted it to be different. I pledged to shop for groceries on a regular basis & cook real meals & eat at the table like a "grown-up." Didn't last long. I now exist on frozen foods, cereal, trail mix & the occasional chicken breast that I cook on a George Foreman Grill- all of which is eaten while sitting on the couch. I try to cook real food, real meals - like fresh vegetables or pasta or soup - at least once a week.

Closet Metro said...

When Dizzle isn't here, I survive on frozen pizza and nuked burritos.

Jeannette said...

This topic always interests me. I cook nearly everyday for myself. I am vegetarian so I do supplement with frozen tofu-meat dishes like Meal Starters -- the chicken strips are great in many things like salads, fajitas, pastas, etc. I make a lot of pasta. In winter I make a lot of soups; in summer, I make a lot of salads with lots of fresh veggies. I rarely eat at the table unless I have guests. I usually pull up a comfy seat in front of the TV. I enjoy cooking and wish I had someone to cook for -- afterall, I am Italian and I *have* to feed people. It's in my blood!

Udge said...

Single. Lunch is my main meal of the day, and is almost always a cooked (hot) meal; I have a sandwich or rolls for dinner. Lunch is at a local cafe if I'm working outside the house, otherwise I cook for myself (using three burners!). I don't entertain at home, my cooking is not good enough for guests and I don't really care enough to improve.

My usual lunch is: rice, frozen veg (I love spinach) and meat: pork cutlet, chicken breast or a fish fillet. "Comfort food" is rice with scrambled egg and corned beef hash.

I also cook bacon & egg breakfasts on the weekend.

I eat at the kitchen table, with a book or a "New Yorker" to read.

lawyerchik said...

Single (with dog) and sort-of cooking. My mom is a great cook, too, only she is one of those people who is great at looking in cupboards, seeing what's there, deciding to put things together and voila! - dinner (and it tastes good).

Some days, I will roast a chicken (or bake chicken breasts), make hamburgers, or do something lovely with pasta, shrimp and one of those Knorr packaged sauces. I'm not too good at (i.e., I hate) cleaning up, though, which is why .....

....my actual "cooking" goes in moods - lately, we've been eating Pillsbury frozen biscuits (cooked in the oven), lots of scrambled eggs w/cheese, occasionally toast, and for some weird reason during the World Series, corn bread (Jiffy mix) and milk in a glass with molasses on it. Frozen waffles work, too, with or without ice cream.

Rice in a rice cooker is good for 2-3 days, plus a crock pot works well with beans: black beans with garlic, onion and spices are good. Most of these are things that don't require a lot of clean up, so that is the choosing criteria: how much cleaning do I feel like doing, and what's the trade-off for cooking? :)

Parties: one, so far, for friends, shortly after buying my condo. Family visiting from out of town/state have had meals there, mostly cooked by my sister who is a much better cook than I am.

Fun topic - :) Thanks!!

shannon said...

Getting married doesn't mean you can suddenly cook. I gave it up within less than six months, when my then-new husband begged me to stop torturing him with "home cooked meals". I make a mean mac&cheese, though.

alan said...

It's not like you haven't had a whole lot of other things going on since you moved in, you know...

Flus, and ptomaine and hooters and...!

So give yourself a bit of time! You are still recuperating, still settling in! If spring rolls around and you still aren't thinking about having someone over, then I'll worry!

On weekends I cook for 2-4, weekdays it's usually just myself. This summer it's been a lot of salads with mesquite chicken breasts sliced into them (microwaved, frozen, from Sam's Club).

On the weekends though, I can get 3 burners and the oven going, sometimes the grill as well...

alan

ScottyGee said...

Well, I cook a lot of spaghetti. It's easy and it's tasty. Sandwiches and soups are popular too.

My favorite single dude meal has to be a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup though. Yum!

ScottyGee said...

I also forgot I wanted to ask Elizabeth to marry me. All her talk of cooking made me randy! =)

Udge said...

Completely irrevelant to post and comments, but:

Are you going to the Parade of lost souls? Get out of the house, have some fun, do you a world of good etc etc.

I'll shut up now.

JP said...

Well, when Sharkey is out of town and I'm all by myself, I do the single, bachelor take out menu: Chinese food, Hoagies, and sushi.

It's tough to cook for one, because when you cook, portion recipes aren't usually for 1 person and they you end up eating the same thing for 3 days straight.

True_Halcyon said...

Grilled muenster and sharp cheddar on whole wheat, with creamy tomato soup loaded with italian seasoning and pepper. Runner up would have to be a baked (um, nuked) potato smothered with turkey chili and cheese. Both were and still are well worth the prep time.

kalki said...

The year I lived on my own I made spaghetti all the time. It feels like you're really cooking, but it's SO simple. And easy to make for one portion.

I was (and still am) also a big fan of mac & cheese. Specifically, EasyMac. I'm all about the easy.

eclectic said...

When I was single, I ate lots of baked potatoes, cottage cheese, fruit/vegetables, cereal, and sandwiches. I would sometimes make a lasagna or other casserole on the weekend, save out two or three portions and freeze the rest. Then, I could get homemade meals out of the freezer and nuke 'em in a few weeks when whatever casserole it was sounded good again. The occasional dinner party was always collaborative, never a solo effort. I'm lazy that way!