Cooking for One
Even the title makes my heart quicken a bit ...
- in sorrow.
Because after all these years of cooking for so many, I find myself in the unique position of doing just that.
Cooking for One.
7 years ago I became a “one” for the first time in my life.
However, due to circumstances and situations, I still was not in the place (at least not most of the time) of Cooking for One.
But now ... these last 18 months have found me more and more ... Cooking for One.
Or rather, not cooking much.
Being overwhelmed with the recipes - whether in my head and heart, or in a book - that I have used countless times thru the years, but they make SO MUCH!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I love leftovers, but let’s be real here a moment.
Even good food becomes ... well, not so appealing after a week of leftovers!
I was raised to rarely, if ever, throw away food.
So, when it has been deemed necessary (very necessary) to throw food away?
I would literally do it with tears in my eyes, and on my cheeks, while listening to the ghosts of my mother and ancestors - the guilt, the shame.
Or I would, with a fierceness brought on by anger and resentment at having to Cook for One, throw, yes, THROW! The food in the trash can.
- usually with a few choice words to my husband for leaving me to Cook for One.
So instead of fighting the leftovers, or getting frustrated to the point of tears, I have more often than not - just not cooked.
Opting for take-out food, ramen-noodles, a sandwich of some kind, frozen dinners, and a long list (that I really don’t want to admit to) of junk food.
None of which are nutritious choices.
Yet, it seemed better than fighting the tears, the anger, the frustrations, the overwhelming emotions of Cooking for One.
It became such a “food issue” that it was either succumb to the easier path, or just not eat at all (which I have done that too).
Losing weight due to not eating.
Gaining weight due to not eating right.
Fighting a roller coaster ride of fluid retention due to all the sugars, fats, and sodium.
Struggling almost constantly with the guilt and shame for not cooking, for not eating right, for not eating at all.
And yet -
Eating to quiet the rumble in my tummy at times
Eating for the sake of “it’s time to eat”
Eating because I knew I needed something
And most of all - -
Eating searching for a semblance of normalcy.
I have searched hours upon hours in cookbooks, on the Internet, thru conversations with others - for a cookbook, or just a handful of recipes, that were directed at Cooking for One.
The ones that I have found (few and far between), most call for food that I never used when I was cooking for many!
Let alone would I have those items in my kitchen now.
Some are for foods that while someone enjoys, I am sure - I would not.
And the other ones I have found?
Some are so detailed that I got lost in just reading the ingredients!
And then others, the instructions take time that I really don’t enjoy giving to just Cooking for One.
I would prefer to cook, eat and get out of the kitchen these days.
It was a different season in my life when Rick and the kids were under foot, test tasting, and we were usually playing some kind of game while cooking - and/or listening to old-time rock and roll, dancing as we cooked.
When the kitchen was more than just for cooking.
These days, well ... not so much.
Comfort foods that my mind, heart, body and spirit crave - that’s what I am looking for!
Comfort foods that I remember from growing up, when Momma was cooking ... teaching me the art of country cooking.
Comfort foods that Rick and I cooked as we were growing and raising our family.
Comfort foods that I need - for my own memories, for my sanity in a world that has gone crazy.
And in this time when groceries are higher every time I shop?
Yeah, I need ingredients that do not make the end tally so high that I once again become overwhelmed and discouraged.
Another brick wall that I have come up against, is buying groceries for One.
Especially when I do not have the freezer storage, or frig storage, to divide and conquer.
If you are finding yourself in this same quandary, you already know that the bulk of the grocery store items are geared towards larger families.
There are few items that are targeting the Cooking for One crew.
This wicked merry-go-round has got to find a place to STOP!!!
Which brings me here today.
Not too long ago, I watched the movie, Julie and Julia again.
What an excellent movie!
I love that it is based on a true story - which makes me feel already accomplished in getting this far! Lol
With that movie in mind, and with all these struggles about Cooking for One -
I am beginning an adventure.
An exploration of ideas.
Will it help?
Guess it gives me something to do - at least make me believe that I am working towards a good purpose.
Perhaps just good for me - therapy perhaps?
An outlet for my frustrations?
Will anyone else benefit?
I hope so.
I am not the only person who has gone from a “we” to a “me”.
And there are many who have chosen a "me" life for one reason or another.
Where life has thrust us into a Cooking for One school - with no manual, no textbook.
But tests at least 2-3 times a day!!!
No matter what has brought you to this place of Cooking for One -
I hope that we can navigate our way thru this maybe better than what I have done, to this morning!
A cord of 3 is not quickly broken.
So if we join hearts, minds, and ideas ?
We just might enjoy Cooking for One!!!
Country Cooking for One
Memories of food
I have always enjoyed cooking.
Daddy & Momma had 3 gardens, a cow, pigs, & chickens.
What they didn't raise, they often traded for.
A trip to the grocery store was a rare occurrence.
When we did go to the store it was for sugar, flour, cornmeal, those things that we didn't raise, or couldn't trade for.
It was also a time to meet up with friends that we only saw on "town day".
Momma taught me at an early age how to cook,
how to put a meal on the table as quickly as possible,
and how to cook slow as well.
She also taught me how to expand a meal when someone would pop in at the last minute.
Her table policy was "never turn someone away hungry, the least we can do is to make sure they are facing life on a full stomach".
(That policy has served me well these 61 years.)
Momma's family was a large one.
She had 2 sisters & 1 brother.
One sister had 14 children, 13 raised to maturity.
The other sister had 5 children.
Momma had 5 herself.
When you add their spouses (and their family), their kids & their friends?
Well, you just lost count! Lol
Everyone was always welcome.
The only rules Momma had for her table, her home?
1. No arguing inside.
Take it outside so that she didn't have to listen to it.
2. Come hungry.
Cause there would always be food!
3. Be prepared to work for your meal.
Momma was a firm believer in "if you don't work, you don't eat".
So she always had work to be done.
Hang out the clothes.
Take out the dishwater.
Weed the flowerbeds.
Gather firewood & kindling.
Feed the chickens.
Milk the cow.
Slop the hog.
There was ALWAYS something to be done.
If someone refused to work, then they were not only served last, but they were served the least.
Usually didn't take but once to learn the lesson.
4. Stick around after the meal.
If someone "ate and run", they were not well received the next time.
Momma believed you could always sit and visit a spell after eating.
Even just a 15 minute visit made everything ok.
I can cook "fancy".
But I much prefer to cook "real".
I can cook for the appearance of the food on the plate, the presentation.
But, I enjoy cooking for the taste, for the comfort, for the strength the food gives.
Many of my bestest memories revolve around food.
Not just the eating of the food - but all that goes before, during and after.
Food is - and should be - an experience!
Just starting this up
I wrote the purpose of this section in the side note here, just in case this particular post gets lost in the postings to come. :)
I would love to hear from you. Your trials and struggles. Your victories and your defeats. Your questions, ideas and suggestions.
One of my favorite movies is "Julie & Julia".
I love the passion that both of those ladies had in cooking.
My momma had passion like that.
I hope others realize my passion as well.
Be sure and check out the sections under this one "Hungry?"
I will be adding more sections as I go along.
It will take me a while to add all my recipes.
Thank you for reading!
I have searched the web over for a recipe collection site.