My first day in my first apartment in Brooklyn was Christmas Eve. It had been one month since I got my first job in New York, two months since I showed up at my aunt’s Tribeca apartment, three months since I left a seven-year job in Birmingham, my hometown. My new roommate was home in Texas. The streets were quiet, the subways almost empty. I dropped my things and walked the chilly couple blocks to Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Sitting there with my pie and a book, surrounded by other holiday orphans doing the same, I felt like I’d finally “made it” here.
Two years, a new job, and my own apartment later, I’m feeling more at home in the city and with myself. I’ve found that I prefer to live alone and really always have. And I’ve found so much joy and nourishment in cooking for myself. I’m free to indulge any craving, to improvise and fail and discover. My kitchen (er, tiny kitchenette) is where I relax and unwind at the end of a long day. Cooking is all the more satisfying because I know I’m taking care of myself and answering my own weird and random cravings.
I won’t lie though: Cooking for one (even for a professional foodie) is a challenge. Recipes serve four or six or eight. Stores package ingredients to serve four or six or eight. I’m always trying to find new ways to use up what I buy because I can’t stand food waste or a week of the same leftovers. There are also plenty of nights where having the sheer will make something, anything, feels like more than half the battle.
Maybe you feel this way too, which is why I’m sharing My Solo Kitchen with you. Here you’ll find recipes designed to serve one and fit the lifestyle of a busy, social, single cook on a budget: Not fussy or expensive, with accessible ingredients and no food waste. I’ll talk too about living the solo cook life, from shopping strategies and understanding your cravings to just psyching yourself up to make dinner.
Here’s to finding joy and confidence in our kitchens and giving ourselves the gift of a great meal. Let’s do this!