I remember when I first purchased Judith Jones‘ book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One. I was 29 and living life as a single lady in a studio with her two cats in Los Angeles. I also happened to enjoy delicious, home-cooked food. I, as a singleton, found it rather difficult to find – what’s the best way to put this? – my niche in the kitchen; it seemed every recipe that was worth the time it took to cook was tailored specifically for a family of four – or a party of eight (all smug couples, no doubt!) And I never enjoyed re-heating the same meal for lunch and dinner for two or three days in a row.
I managed, however, finding online recipe sources from time to time that had built-in portion calculators that would adjust a recipe for four to a recipe for one. But then I ran into the issue of – “I need 1/8 tsp of ground fenugreek and 1/2 thread of saffron?!”
I was THAT girl at Whole Foods in the bulk spice section putting a thimbleful of fenugreek into a plastic baggie. Comical. Also: a giant waste of gas and time.
When that stopped working for me, two glorious things happened:
1) I began to flex my creative muscle in the kitchen, learning to throw what I had lying around together and – over time – what would work, and
2) I discovered “The Pleasures of Cooking for One.”
Yesterday, I pulled this book off my shelf – where it has been sitting since I moved in with my husband – to pick out a set of recipes for a client to use next week – (with a few tweaks to make things a little less…butter[*])
Flipping through the pages, I still marvel at the love and care that was put into making this cooking bible for the single person who adores the ritual of cooking and eating. In this book, there are chapters like, “The Magic of Eggs – and the Seduction of Cheese,” where you learn just how the egg, with its versatility and naturally occurring “single-serving” size can save the day while being savored. And Judith plugs for the purchase of organic, cage-free, humane, direct-from-a-good-farm eggs! Lurve. Her.
The book also gives you a crash course on what to always have on hand in (food, utensil, and ware-wise) in the kitchen (a list everyone should create and develop over time depending on their own tastes!)
Above all, Judith teaches the single person how to “cook once : eat twice.” Her book was my introduction into the fine art of moving away from “leftovers” in a traditional sense and into left-to-be-experienced-in-another-way territory.
Thank you, Judith Jones, for helping bring out my inner, single, fabulous, creative cook and for making cooking for one oh-so-approachable.
(And honestly, I never would have shared…the food was THAT good.)
[*]not that a bit of good, raw butter is bad!