Is Cooking for One Worth It? YES.
You can cook for just yourself and enjoy every minute
Got even the hint of an inclination to cook plus a pantry that’s not totally bare? You can cook for just yourself and enjoy every minute. Here’s how.
Many people who live or spend time alone don’t cook for themselves. They hate it, or they think it isn’t worth it, or they don’t know how. (Yes, there are many other reasons, from illness to poverty, but I can’t address those here.)
I don’t live alone, but I often eat alone. And, much as I love cooking with and for Kathleen, and of course for the occasional small or large crowd that shows up, I do like cooking for me. It is absolutely worth it. It’s not that I never have frozen pizza, but that route is far from the norm.
But I am not trying to guilt-trip routine-frozen-pizza-eaters, or those who consume ramen daily, or people who rely on grilled cheese (or, for that matter, cheese and crackers) or tuna fish and a glass of milk. I respect those choices; my job is to expand them.
Not absurdly, however: I could say, “You can cook almost anything for one that you’d cook for four,” but that defeats the purpose. Generally, when you cook for one, you want to streamline things even more than usual; my goal here is to explain how to do that.
So, if you have the opportunity to cook for yourself, you only need two other things – the inclination and the pantry. Note that I do NOT include “time,” for two reasons: One, we assume that I’m not going to convince you to try cooking for yourself by listing a bunch of project recipes and insisting that they’re more fun than whatever else you might be doing, because if you felt that way, you’d be doing this already. More to this point is this: although it’s true that there’s some kind of time-saving in microwaving store-bought food, it’s kind of marginal if you can cook for yourself in 20 minutes. (Frozen pizza takes half an hour, unless you microwave it, in which case you might as well eat the box, too.) Either way, you’re going to spend a few minutes eating and tidying. So unless you’re as busy as an astronaut, I go back to: “Do you want to do it?” Great. “Do you have a few things lying around?” Perfect.
As it happens, the things you need to have lying around are the same as those you need for cooking in general—the usual pantry items, from the absolute basics like olive oil and vinegar and soy sauce to more personalized preferences like coconut milk, dried shrimp, or seaweed.