Monday, July 12, 2010

Alone in the Kitchen...

I am always interested in books about food, so I immediately put a library hold on the book, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant -Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler, the minute I heard about it. I also immediately recognized the title as one of Laurie Colwin's food essay titles -and indeed hers is the first essay in this book which is a collection of short writings on cooking and dining alone written by, well, writers. The highlight for me in this book was a bit by Laurie Colwin's daughter, Rosa Jurjevics, who I just recently had thought of, curious as to what had become of the young daughter mentioned in Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking writings, which I absolutely love. It is rare for me to have an evening alone but tonight its (almost) one of those nights -just me and my youngest daughter. I plan to have a baked potato with broccoli and sour cream, instead of a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream that I've been known to indulge in and eat as dinner when home alone. Here is a totally random collection of quotes from the book.

"If you choose to give this book to yourself, to keep it in your kitchen, my hope is that it will give you some company, some inspiration and some recipes that require no division or subtraction. I hope it will remind you that alone and lonely are not synonymous; you will have yourself -and the food that you love -for company." -Jenni Ferrari-Adler

"Dinner alone is one of life's pleasures. Certainly cooking for oneself reveals man at his weirdest. People lie when you ask what they eat when they are alone. A salad, they tell you. But when you persist, they confess to peanut butter and bacon sandwiches deep fried and eaten with hot sauce, or spaghetti with butter and grape jam." -Laurie Colwin

"We all have our eccentricities. Alone, we indulge." -Beverly Lowry

"Eating, after all, is a matter of taste, and taste cannot always be good taste. The very thought of maintaining high standards meal after meal is exhausting." -Ann Patchett

"Life's greatest sensual pleasure (or at least its most consistently attainable) should be shared. I happen to believe that humans were born to feed one another. The meal is our celebration of nurturance, our secular communion. Does this mean I starve myself when I can't find company? Not quite. What I do though is put off eating until I'm ravenous." -Steve Almond

"Let's face it: the truth about eating alone, despite our best intentions, is that nine times out of ten we eat badly. We eat inadequate food; we eat it too fast; and we eat it slouched over a computer or sprawled in front of a television, with all the enlightened social skills of seagulls." -Laura Calder

"What does a person cook for himself when dining alone every day? Lots of soup. Pasta... A treat. But truth be told, the best treat of all was a pot of hot black beans and fresh cornbread." -Jeremy Jackson

"I have thought about the apparent contradiction that someone who has dedicated most of her working life to cooking should be so reluctant, when she eats alone, to cook for herself. The explanation is that I consider cooking to be an act of love. What I love is to cook for someone. To put a freshly made meal on the table, even if it is something very plain and simple, is a sincere expression of affection, it is an act of binding intimacy directed at whoever has a welcome place in your heart." -Marcella Hazan

"...but I have never thought of that first evening I dined alone as an evening I spent without him. Rather I think of it as the first I ever really spent with myself." -Mary Cantwell

"I felt firmly then, as I do this very minute, that snug misanthropic solitude is better than hit-or-miss congeniality. If 'One' could not be with me, 'feasting in silent sympathy,' then I was my best companion." -M. F. K. Fisher

"If my mother was a food pioneer and my father was a food appreciator, I am a food nomad." -Rosa Jurjevics

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