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Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

the single life

The other day a friend came over for dinner. He was surprised to open my fridge and find it fully stocked with food.
"But you live alone," he said. "Doesn't it all spoil before you eat it?" His refrigerator has little more than orange juice and condiments.
I'm single, I live alone and I cook dinner every night. It might be frozen veggies and chickpeas with some curry sauce from Trader Joe's, or it might be pistachio-crusted salmon with fresh broccoli and a whole-grain mix, as I had the night my friend came over. It might be a mushroom burger and baked potato wedges or a tofu stir-fry, but I take time to make and eat a balanced meal. Open my freezer and you won't find frozen dinners or pints of ice cream.
Lots of cookbooks, TV shows and blogs have been devoted to finding time to cook for a family, which can be challenging. But single people have busy lives, too. And without anyone else to cook for, many of my single friends opt for takeout or yogurt and cereal for dinner.
I promised my friend some tips on cooking for one, so I thought I'd share them here, too.
* I take my lunch to work every day. I eat leftovers for lunch almost every day. It's cheap and delicious, plus I know that I won't be wasting calories on a fatty, sodium-laden lunch.
* I freeze extras. If I make a big curry or a pot of soup, I freeze single serving portions. Then, if I'm running late or am too tired to cook, I have dinner on hand. Then I'm not tempted to eat something that's bad for me.
* When I buy fresh vegetables, I commit to eating them. That might mean that I'm eating asparagus for three meals or salads every day for the rest of the week. I hate food ennui, but I hate wasting food even more.
* I don't eat meat. I first stopped eating meat because I didn't want to cook an entire package of chicken or a package of ground turkey all at once. Vegetarian proteins (veggie burgers, mushrooms, TVP, tofu, tempeh, etc.) seem to be in smaller packages, so they're easier to cook. But when I did eat meat, I bought bags of frozen chicken breasts from Trader Joe's so I could pull one out when I needed one.
Any other single foodies out there? Tell me how you cook without wasting food. Do you have any just-for-one recipes?


3 Comments:

at 12:26 PM Blogger Kelly said...

Great tips, Stepf!

My boyfriend and I will often cook dinner for each other. I'll go over to his place and be treated to a delicious meal, and he'll send me home with a Tupperware for lunch the next day - and he's not left with a fridge crammed full of leftovers.

Seems to me a similar arrangement could easily be worked out with a good friend, if there's no significant other in the picture.

 
at 12:30 PM Blogger Kelly said...

Sorry for the double post, but I would also say that when you're single, grocery shopping should be short and frequent. I'm bad at this - I'm forever spending two hours at bigg's and buying $150 worth of food that will spoil before I get around to eating it. What I should be doing instead is just buying what I need for the next day or two.

 
at 12:34 PM Blogger Stepf said...

Thanks, Kelly! I actually did that same thing last night for the guy I'm dating. It's a great way to use up leftovers and impress a date!

 
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