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Cooking for Yourself Alone

Updated on May 23, 2012

Get Started Cooking When You Live Alone

Food from your own kitchen provides several advantages over that prepared elsewhere, be it by restaurants or convenience food manufacturers. You know what goes into your own, but beyond the label (a sketch of contents that says nothing about methods and sources, which matter just as much) you don't know what you're eating when you have the latter. Dishes made from basic ingredients are almost always fresher and more nutritious than their commercial counterparts. With commercial foods you're limited by what a corporate marketing department thinks will sell or what a restaurant has on its menu, where in cooking you can have anything you want. You control the amount of salt, sugar, fat, MSG and other potentially harmful ingredients in your foods where commercial products typically are loaded with them in order to make them seem tastier than prepared foods can be (there are people who are paid very well to figure out what stimulates you and how to put it into those frozen dinners and the hamburgers at the joint down the street). Using basic foodstuffs in your kitchen costs you less, a lot less, than paying for ready-to-eat meals.

You can cook just enough for one. Learning how to make good use of leftovers and how to freeze for a meal later, however, lets you take advantage of sales and the lower prices at big box stores without sacrificing variety.

I'm not interesting in proving my views to people, but I don't mind telling you that since my wife died I've been cooking for myself alone, and it works. Without being rigid about it I like to cycle my daily dinners through the four F's: fish, fowl, fauna and flora. That, I feel, provides me with good nutritional balance and variety in taste. I keep boneless skinless chicken breasts, fish filets, thin pork chops and so forth in the freezer, all of which can be made into excellent dishes without first having to thaw them, allowing me to work late and still have a good supper without having planned one. I also keep frozen vegetables and fruits, the technology in which has advanced greatly in recent years, but I prefer fresh and keep both on hand.

Cooking is a matter of creativity. The whole point of it is to make something good from whatever you have available, and so recipes are mere guides. If you want to get started in that style of imaginative food preparation, order yourself a copy of a small, paperback book written eighty years ago: "French Cooking in Ten Minutes," by Edouard de Pomiane. It's not expensive. Amazon has it. It's a bit dated now because the availability of decent, basic foodstuffs is much better than it was then, but you can use it to learn how to invent good, quick, easy dishes without having to cook for a crowd.


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    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      It is always a fine idea to give yourself a treat. I find too much fats in hotel foods. The hygiene in some puts one off while encouraging you to cook for yourself more often. Thanks for the tip on the French cook book. I love experimenting with food too, to my kids' excitement. A good share you got here on private cooking. Voted up

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 5 years ago

      Always good to read your Hubs. I agree with you completely - I have lived alone for nearly 15 years - now - and I cook for one. You save a fortune by not eating in restaurants - even if you get bored with a home routine and yes - I feel safer eating what I prepare. Excellent writing as always - you warm the heart. Have a pleasant week-end.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      That's high praise indeed, Deb. Thank you. I've been living alone for less than three years now, so my solo cooking skills aren't yet far advanced. I have found, though, it's first a matter of imagination. An experimental attitude is essential. Not everything you dream up at the stove works out well on the plate, but most do.

    • DAWNEMARS profile image

      DAWNEMARS 5 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe

      You are quite right of course. A few fresh basics is all we need. I think too many choices are not always the best thing for us! Voted interesting and up.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      If you include "fauna" in your Four Fs, that takes in just about everything, including pork chops.

      I enjoy cooking for myself, too, and can't recall the last time I ate at a restaurant because I cook from scratch. I also use organic ingredients (or do without). Yes, I'll admit it: I'm the Food Police (or so my friends and family tell me).

      After reading that amazing barrage of insults you posted on Simone's guide to Shakespearean insults hub, I came here looking for mad humor. This wasn't it, but I'll keep looking. You must have some funny material hidden somewhere....


    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      I do indeed keep thin, frozen pork chops. They're one of my kitchen's fast food items. I can have one from the freezer to the plate in half an hour.

      I'm glad you enjoyed that post. I hope you found some things of interest here as well. Thanks for stopping by. Come again.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      "Fast food" from one's own kitchen is much healthier (and no doubt tastier) than any fast food that can be found at a drive-through window. I salute all who cook for themselves.


    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      I agree with Jaye that fast food prepared by you is much nutritive and delicious, useful hub, thanks.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Thanks for reading it, jirishpuri. Cooking for one does require different methods, doesn't it? The results are so much better than eating out, or than eating prepared foods you just heat up, that it's worth it.

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