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Eating Alone - No Rules, Just Right

It's 6:20 on a Tuesday evening and, left to my own devices as Scott has a night meeting, I just inhaled the following:

Publix-brand Wheat Thins (approx. 10) with cubes of Havarti Cheese, a pickle, and dab of spicy mustard. Washed down with one glass of Crazy Llama Chardonnay.
One Oreo.
Three Leftover Blueberry and Walnut Pancakes with syrup and butter. The remainder of the Minute Maid Pulp-Free Orange Juice carton.

What. The. Hell. ?

This is my "dinner." Sometimes, when you're the only one in the house to feed, there's just not enough energy, concern for health, or available defrosted/fresh/tasty groceries to make a real go at a respectable meal. So you go and do the things that you'd never do if you had a dining companion.
Like combine cookies, pancakes and mustard. Plus pickles.

Good grief.

Last night Scott also had a night meeting and so I made a quick and easy stir-fry with carrots, celery, and mushrooms, garnished with peanuts and cilantro. That at least had some nutrients and didn't totally clash with my taste buds.

This dinner hearkened back to my senior year of college when I had my own place, a basement apartment with the throne toilet (which deserves its own post, believe me). Many a consecutive weeknight I ate stir fry over rice because 1) it was cheap, 2) easy, 3) fast, and 4) was just one way I lost 25 lbs in the four months my future husband was in Australia. Of course he came back and I gained it all back in about two weeks, since I wasn't eating carrots and the occasional bean sprout sprinkled with soy sauce and Thai red curry paste. I do recognize now that it was unhealthy and oh-so-dull, but it was a routine I had all to myself.

These days, when you're cooking for two, there's a concerned effort not to starve your dining companion or to weird them out with the union of, oh, say, sandwich cookies and kosher dills.

A great book on the topic - Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant - was a gift from my mom-in-law, Laurie. It's a great essay collection on the types of meals foodies eat when no one's there to watch or judge.

'Cause sometimes all you want are pickles and pancakes, damn it.

What are your favorite just-you meals?


  1. Oh Erin, I have lived by myself for almost 7 years & live close enough to work that I come home for lunch most days. You have described many of my meals! I do the rice & stir-fry a lot. And "tacos" which consist of beans & what ever else is around to throw into a burrito shell. For the past few months I have been trying to plan out my meals, which helps but I inevitably end up with left-overs that are too much to toss & not enough to make a full meal. So I am right back at eating random combinations. For some reason I often like to polish things off with a (mini) bag of microwave popcorn. I don't even like it that much, it just always seems like the best way to end a random meal.

  2. That's funny about the popcorn, Miss Victoria. If you like Old Bay seafood seasoning, try sprinkling that on popcorn - it is sooo good.
    It's hard to cook for one person, and I'm a freshness freak so I have no love for leftovers.
    It is hard to believe it's been that long - I remember the days of us making mini-pizzas for dinner on Hudson St!

  3. Cheese and crackers....cheese and crackers...
    Scott and his sister were raised on that invaluable combo.

  4. Cottage cheese and triscuits thin crisps with turkey pepperoni. Yum!

  5. Oh my goodness this post rings so true. My favorite by myself meal is a roast beef, pepper jack cheese sandwich toasted in the toaster oven w/ mayo. So easy, so tasty, but sadly not very healthy. Otherwise it's a bowl of cereal.


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