Alone In The Kitchen With An Eggplant

I have just finished this book and frankly, I was quite miffed.

The book is a series of short stories written by people sharing their experiences of eating alone.  I had purchased this book because quite frankly, I enjoy hearing about the weird things people eat when their alone.  I'll admit, I'm guilty of calling a handful of tortilla chips, a piece of cheese, some jelly beans and a glass of wine dinner, whose not?  But I think I was expecting more humor, more outlandish concoctions and personal culinary discoveries like realizing you enjoy eating grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches every night for  5 nights straight.  We're all human and let's be honest, peanut butter and banana sandwiches are delicious.

To some extent, the book did cover some go-to made for one creations but then, there was a dark and cynical side.  There were many that admitted hating eating alone and not understanding why anyone would make such a fuss over creating an intricate meal for just themselves.  And I found myself, almost shouting on the T, in the middle of my morning commute, "Whhhhhy?!?!"  Since when did we have to bear the scarlet letter, only in this case to have it stand for "Alone"?  When did it become so wrong to love yourself and to want to treat yourself to something special?  I guess the mark of a good book is one that causes you to think, maybe even get angry at the author(s) and that it did.  After reading this book, I found myself with a stronger sense and understanding of my foodie morals and values.

I love to eat alone, but that certainly doesn't mean that I am a lonely soul.  I consider myself to be surrounded by family and a good number of fantastic friends that I consider to be close and yet, I still find utter contentment in treating myself to a good dinner out...solo.  Book in hand, I love to grab a seat by the window and switch between reading and people watching.  I linger over my food and enjoy getting lost in my own thoughts.  I am always floored by the amount of people that are totally appalled by the thought of diner alone or worse yet, making an extravagant meal for themselves.  And that, is where they are missing it out.  Food is one of the only honest to God pleasures in life.  Why wouldn't you want to savor it?

So the SBK is dishing out some homework: do one exceptionally great culinary thing this week...solo.  Whether it be making a nicer than normal dinner for just you or *gasp* going out for a meal alone, just do it.  You might actually find that you like it.


Megan said...

I haven't read them but there are two newer books on this topic... maybe you would like them better. The first is What We Eat When We Eat Alone (which may have some of the quirkiness you're looking for), and the second is The Pleasures of Cooking for One (which is by Judith Jones, and I just love her writing).

Alicia said...

I love being around my friends, and cooking great meals for my loved ones....but sometimes its just nice to savor a meal solo. I like doing nice things for myself - and I'm not going to miss out on a nice meal or a nice restaurant because I'm alone!

anyway - when I dine alone, I'm sure to always like my dinner partner!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Megan, thanks for the suggestions! I LOVE Judith Jones and read her memoir not too long ago. I'll have to give these books a try...

Alicia, I love that last line about always liking your dinner partner when dining alone...great minds think alike!

Get Best Info Surprise Movers Specialist said...

Reading these stories is an intensely cathartic experience - while I can't identify with all of the writers, I can see myself in most of them and they are all enjoyable to read. They take a universal experience, feeding yourself, and manage to interpret it in as many different ways as possible. And the best part of this book is that the stories are dinner-length!

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