I can’t be alone in living in a house where the kitchen operates like some sort of all-day restaurant. Or in our case, an all-day greasy spoon café. Some of you will shudder, but it’s more often the case than not that the three of us will eat different meals at different times. Our actual dining table is a Tracey Emin-worthy apocalypse of debris from each of our working days.
It’s largely due to our differing schedules – my daughter is often hungry for dinner before either of us gets home in the evening, my husband’s body clock is so out of kilter with mine that he’ll stroll into the kitchen looking for something to eat as I’m starting to think about turning in. And then, of course, there are our wildly different diets. They’re both strict and deeply committed vegetarians. They graciously tolerate most of my carnivorous ways, though they do gang up and threaten to evict me whenever I dare to fry some fish.
My point is, I don’t think you have to be someone who lives alone in order to need easy, delicious recipes that feed one. I hear from many of you who love our YOU Food section, but feel it’s a bit pointless to cook a recipe that serves four when there’s only one of you. We listened, and here we feature several recipes with all the right measurements for a satisfying meal for one.
What would make me really happy is if these simple recipes encourage more people to invest in themselves in the kitchen. Sometimes I think we tend to regard cooking for ourselves as a lot of effort and fuss with no one but ourselves to appreciate it. It’s true that, if my husband is out, I’ll often just make myself a toasted sandwich because the effort for one seems a bit of a waste. But if cooking is one of the most caring, loving things you can do for others, why should we discount caring for ourselves in this way? It’s not selfish to want to do something nice for yourself, it’s one of the simplest ways to add a mental-health boost to an otherwise mundane day. Our cover star Erin Doherty gets her dopamine hit from exploring the random middle aisle at Lidl. I get mine from making myself the poshest tuna melt for one on the planet. Joy is often easier to come by than we think.
So next time it’s just you in the kitchen, instead of thinking, ‘It’s just me, why bother?’, I’d love it if you thought, ‘How lovely, this is just for me.’ I’m hoping that this food special will be the first in a series. So if you have some great solo recipes, please share them with me!