Looking out for number one

It was just a little over a year ago, I think, that Judith Jones’ little book came out–The Pleasures of Cooking For One seemed charming, quirky, contrarian in an age of conspicuous entertainment.  But like any successful species, the “Serves 1” book has survived to produce offspring, and this year brings at least two more.

Serve yourself

Joe Yonan’s Serve Yourself makes liberal use of the special-occasion ingredients you can afford any night if you’re not feeding a family:  speck, duck eggs, smoked oysters and smoked trout, artichoke hearts.  But mainly, it’s an exploration of just how much pleasure you can get out of a single meal if you really put your mind to it.

cooking for one

The Culinary Institute of America’s Cooking for One is a different sort of showcase; many of its recipes seem to scale down hearty, slow-cooked dishes that would normally feed a crowd–beef of fish stew, chili, risotto, short rib.

Many single people won’t venture near such involved recipes; “it’s not worth it, just for me…” they say.  Indeed, you may have said that to yourself. But let us expand the point a little.  Of course you’re worth it–of course you deserve to eat something wonderful. The question is really, do you also deserve the 2 hours of cooking prep and the extra hour of dishes as well?  On that subject, I’m afraid the cookbooks are silent.

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