- Food and Cooking
Cooking for Yourself Alone
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.