It’s something I’ve been pondering for about five years now. After interviewing single friends across generations, filling notebooks with ramblings and recipe ideas, and living the solo cooking life in multiple cities, I have THOUGHTS.
Cooking for one means my cravings are in charge. There’s no one to consult, no reason to compromise. If I get a hankering for something, nothing else will do. What I crave changes moment to moment—why strict meal planning or days of the same leftovers just doesn’t work for me. My appetite changes too: Depending on the night or my mood, I’ll want a feast or small snack, something robust and hearty or light and simple.
Cooking for one means willpower is half the battle. Parents have to feed their kids. Couples share the cooking duties or decide where to order takeout. My motivation to get up off the couch and cook is the only factor here. Some nights I feel so inspired and excited to cook that I make a feast. Other nights it’s all I can do to make a sandwich. Cooking for one isn’t an all or nothing proposition… It’s about enjoying whatever ends up on your plate and taking care of yourself in the process.
Cooking for one means playing the “use it up” game. Every item I pick up at the store gets its own screening: If I buy you, how am I going to use you up before you go bad? Or before you become another space-hogging relic that I can’t bear to throw out? Food waste is the enemy that must be defeated at all costs. For me, it’s a fun challenge: My best ideas come from finding new ways to use up what I have on hand.
Cooking for one means keeping it simple and convenient. As much as I love to shop, I don’t have the patience or budget to seek out expensive or hard-to-find ingredients. As much as I love to cook, I don’t want to spend more time cooking or washing dishes. I’m not interested in complicated recipes that just make less food (read: the same number of steps and lots of odds and ends left over). I want food that’s fresh, fast, and interesting. And I want to get everything I need for the week at the one or two stores closest to me.
My takeaway? Solo cooks are just different. We’re our own category with our own unique needs and challenges. And now that singles make up almost half of all homes in the country (!), it’s the perfect time to create our own resources and share them. I couldn’t be happier to be part of the conversation.