Monday, November 22, 2010

Supper for One

I remember hearing a piece on the radio about the book What We Eat When We Eat Alone and thought the idea was pretty interesting. The book, by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin, contains both stories and recipes. You can imagine: some people are accustomed to eating alone and either relish it or not; others take a meal alone as a chance to eat something their dining partners dislike or to enjoy a secret indulgence. Sometimes it may be as simple as takeout, leftovers, or cold cereal.

I don’t eat alone often, especially not for supper. When I’m alone for lunch I almost never cook. This time, I decided to make myself an easy but hearty meal.


This was easy because I simply steamed a couple of red potatoes, cooked up some kale, and the sausages were almost ready to go. I make big batches of sausages along the lines of the chorizo in Vegan Brunch and keep them in my freezer. Pop one out, thaw it, then split it in half and brown it in a skillet and devour. I doused everything with a mustard-Vegenaise sauce that’s heavy on the dijon and poured most generously over the sausage.

If you want to hear the interview, it was on The Splendid Table and you can listen here. I haven’t read the book, but there is a video advertisement for it on the Amazon page that introduces the book as contrasting what you eat when you’re alone with what we talk about being healthy. That kind of reality-television twist on what was initially interesting decreases my desire to read the book. So instead, I’ll ask you.

Whether you’re accustomed to eating alone, perhaps enjoying saltines and jelly over the sink like Carrie in Sex and the City, or it’s a rare occurrence that you dread or love, what do you eat when you eat alone?


  1. i love how your bowl of yummies came together. i might have to make up some tempeh sausages and keep them in the freezer - what a great idea! kale and potatoes drizzled with a mustardy vegenaise based dressing is something i would love. when i'm alone i either make something dan wouldn't care for (think sauerkraut, brussel sprouts, parnsips, or anything with mustard), or i'll treat myself to something fun like tots or a veggie burger. totally gonna check out that interview. thanks, Jessica!

  2. That plate of food does look super tasty! I love the sauce adorning all the different things. Interesting context too! I don't eat alone for supper often either, but I like to eat alone sometimes, and sometimes I even yearn for it!

    I have no problem eating out in restaurants alone either, if I feel so inclined. I guess the main appeal of eating alone for me is perhaps a slightly selfish solace in some "me" time. (is that a new tongue twister?) But, I also use those occasions to eat things that my picky hubby would otherwise fuss about! :)

    Fun post! You reminded me that the latest Sex in the City movie is in my Netflix Q and should be arriving soon!

  3. lol "most generously" that was fun to read:)

  4. I usually dont cook much when I'm alone either. I eat alone for lunch most of the time but that usually consists of leftovers. I get lazy about cooking when its just me!

  5. I love cooking just for me - i treat it the same as if i was cooking for someone else. I know some people who can't bear to cook if it is just for themselves, but i see it as a way to treat myself to what i really want!

  6. I don't enjoy cooking for myself. I think cooking is all about sharing so if it is just me I eat leftovers or something simple but healthy like a salad or a smoothie.


  7. I'm quite happy to eat alone, because by nature I like to have a lot of alone-time, and sometimes that needs to include mealtimes. I love being alone at breakfast time, quietly enjoying my coffee, and occasionally reading a newspaper or book.

    However, I'm happiest when I'm cooking up a big meal for my favourite people. Of course, that couldn't happen daily, and I guess that's what makes it special. In these instances, I tailor what I eat to other people's tastes - that is, I'm fine with dishes high in fat or sugar! Like I said, it's an occasional thing.

    Eating alone in restaurants is something I do occasionally, but it can feel a little isolating (unless I have something to read!) and I only do it in really casual places. It's much easier at lunchtime rather than dinner, too.

  8. Sounds yummy! You know, I cook beter when I eat alone, which is very rare, because I don't have to worry about what to fix Tony. I can just focus on my vegan meal. My meals have really been lacking for the last week though, as we have been so busy. I have a cookbook at home that is on cooking for one or two. I haven't looked at it in a long time though, because it's not vegan. I will have to pull it out this weekend though and see if there are any meals in there that can be veganzied. :o)

  9. That mustard sauce looks fantastic! And you're worth it!