Friday, July 1, 2011

Single Girl Meals

More often than not these days, I end up at home after a long day wondering what I should eat. I don't have a roommate, I haven't stockpiled any frozen homecooked stuff for a while, and going out all the time tends to lose its magic.

I spent the first five months of my job being so exhausted from work and commuting that I would jump at any opportunity to go out and try a new place. And hell, I'm certainly in the right place for that kind of lifestyle. But after a while, it started to feel... empty. Places I would have raved about suddenly felt like thy had terrible service, dry food, and were too hot or too cold or too crowded or too loud. What happened?? Dining out always makes me feel like a princess - but suddenly i was wishing for my dad's roasted chicken, and ripe tomatoes with just salt that doesn't cost $12 a plate, and homemade soup.

The problem isn't that I don't like cooking, or can't think of things to eat. Here are my problems:
  1. Ingredients don't usually come in single-serving sizes, so I end up with more of don't-eat-this-by-itself things like sour cream and cilantro than I know what to do with. Seriously, what am I going to do with a whole freaking bunch of cilantro??
  2. Most recipes aren't written or intended for single-serving meals, and halving or quartering the recipe often ends up being awkward and difficult.
  3. I hate doing dishes with a fiery, burning passion. (This means that I cook once and my kitchen remains a war zone of steadily-evolving dish-creatures for the next month.)
So: what are my solutions??

Amanda Hesser (in Cooking for Mr. Latte, a froufy but great book of vignettes about her life, marriage and cooking) has a whole chapter about what to cook when you're home alone. And some of the recipes are great, like Truffle Egg Toast (although when am I really going to buy truffle oil?) and Single-Girl Salmon. But what I really want is a cookbook or a website or something that tells me - what the hell do I use all these random leftover ingredients for? And how do I avoid doing dishes at all costs? AND, most importantly, how do I keep my fridge from going to mold without being wasteful?

Well, I've grown up with a certain ethos, and going to a big college and working at a big company have kind of cemented it for me: No one's gonna do it for you, so you gotta do it for yourself.

Here's what I've been eating:
  • Greek yogurt with honey (Fage is the best, and getting the single-serving sizes is perhaps not the most cost-effective but it removes the dish factor and means I don't have to think about how long the open container of multiple-serving yogurt has been in the fridge for and if it smells weird. Shut up, I am neurotic. Maybe since my parents never throw anything away? The whole cheese drawer at their house has evolved into an entirely different breed of mold. BUT I DIGRESS.)
  • Pre-cut carrots sticks and celery sticks from Whole Foods + peanut butter.
  • More peanut butter.
  • Eggs & toast.
  • Fruit.
  • Annnnnddd.... that's about it.

Here's what I WANT to be eating:

And also these things:
  • Soups!
  • Homemade fresh spring rolls.
  • Anything with eggs, poaches especially
  • Summer fruit cobbler
  • Interesting vegetable and cheese sandwiches
  • Eggplant!
  • So much roasted garlic that the whole building has to evacuate.

So here goes:

I, Devora, do solemnly swear (from this weekend forward, where the looming spectre of my dad coming over for dinner means that I have to actually CLEAN MY HOUSE) that I will try my best to set aside time for cooking, will cook in bulk so I can freeze things and will figure out single-serving recipes where I can, will use the items in my pantry instead of just buying new food and will ENJOY the freedom to eat whatever I damn well want without anyone else to worry about. AND I also swear that trying is good enough, and not to be mean to myself when I just order some goddamn Chinese food and sit on the couch watching 30 Rock without pants on.


PS ALL I WANT IS TO TRY GOOGLE+. How is it possible that I WORK for Google and can't get a Google+ invite?? RAGE.

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