Friday, October 14, 2011

Meal For One

When I sit down to a meal by myself, I always think of my Grandpa Prieur and Grandma Rita, both of whose spouses have passed and who often eat alone.


I've always been a loner. Back in my undergrad days I went to Country Kitchen in Ravenna, Ohio by myself at 3:00 a.m. I would order grilled cheese and hot tea. I would write until the sun peeked over the horizon through those commercial windows. I tipped well. The waitresses fought over me when I walked through the heavy glass doors.


Recently, my mum-in-law Sally told me a story about how her mom used to cook her dad his pork, eggs and toast in a mini cast iron pan. A meal for one.

The minute I logged in after talking with Sally I added a 5" Lodge cast iron skillet to my Amazon Wish List.

What a perfect little skillet for FD's GF Grilled Cheese.

Or for a meal for one.


My Grandma Rita is pushing 90, but everyday the woman makes three meals for herself.


That's an amazing feat considering over 50,000,000 millon people eat fast food on a daily basis.


Tonight I cooked three boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a tomato and squash sauce, infamous ex-wife potatoes and roasted broccoli. Even though I made a meal for one, it was one that honored my food ethics and politics. I felt proud.

Most times when left my own devices, I order out.

I have an El Zarape addiction.

I often regret that decision.


What's funny is one of my all-time favorite people was supposed to join me for dinner tonight. But she bailed. I don't blame her. In fact, between you and me, I was happy. Bailing is under-rated. Sometimes we don't realize we will need that exact moment to be alone until that moment. Bailing is just the  ultimate self indulgence, with the best of intentions. All day I wanted to be alone. I love others, but also I just wanted to close the door, knowing it was just me--here--alone.

Just a moment to breathe out.

Just a moment to blare Tori Amos' _Boys for Pele_, to make an all girl music mix, and to sing higher and louder than usual, in celebration of finishing grading one of five sections of papers.


As a treat for tonight I saved the pumpkin cupcake Sarah Cohen gave me for "writing such a beautiful article about them." I like to snack while watching _Dateline_.

But what's compelling is I can't turn off my Girl-Grading-Weekend Mix. Lykke Li's "Possbillity reminds me I'm alone. And not alone.

Maybe I should've taken a picture of my meal, but I didn't. Quite frankly, I just unrolled an Orla Kiely floral-print placemat on top a wooden tv tray seconds before I placed the plate on top, sat down, and ate. I didn't think it was special. I was alone.

(My boys are gone for opening weekend. My hope: they will return with food for all of us. Food we earned. Food politics in action.)


I poured my last glass of wine as I turned on the bath's faucet. I have Nigel Slater's _Toast_ on the edge of the tub.

But I miss my boys.

They will be home soon. And by Sunday night my grading will be done.

In the meantime I have food to get me through the next four sections of papers.

Cooking for one is worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I've missed your blog! Welcome back! As one who almost always cooks for one (unless I can shanghai someone into coming over), it's nice to hear you write about it (and I do mean hear, because I hear your voice in your words). I realized tonight that I have almost no food in the house (remnants of being sick), so I'm excited to plan some meals for the foreseeable future and put them in the freezer. And cooking for one is an unsung art form, I have to say. Not tough to do, but tough to do right. Here's to future cooking via Skype!