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Cooking for one

 
 
sumac
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 06:07 pm
At almost age 60, I find myself cooking for one (myself) for the first time in my life. There has always been someone else around to cook for. Random impressions: it is easy to be lazy and not eat regularly, or not eat a balanced selection during the day; quantities of some products are too much and have to be either frozen, shared, or left to spoil; it is hard to judge how much to prepare, etc. Does anyone have any other ideas that might help me, or forewarn me?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,083 • Replies: 30
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Dux
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 07:20 pm
I regulary cook for myself, it's sort of fun, but beware of the oil, & there are other things you should beware, but it mainly depends on what you cook. I only cook meats so the thing I need to beware of is that excessive quantity of oil can make me burn my hands or other parts of my body(since it sprinkles with the heat).

Btw, when you're finished the first time you cook it normally ates delicious...... Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised
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NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 07:37 pm
I've been cooking for myself on and off for about eight years.

It's fun to make what YOU want.

A word of advice, cook for two--have what's left for lunch the next day:)

Also freezer paper can be useful (remember you now have to SHOP for one as well.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:19 pm
My best tip is sloppy joe. Three pounds of lean ground beef produce gallons of the stuff. When you weary of sloppy joe, it is no trick at all to convert the whole mess, er MASS into spaghetti sauce. I treat this as more or less a cold weather meal.


Oops! You were talking about balanced meals.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:39 pm
I was a reasonably enthusiastic cook before my marriage went zoom, and I still like to cook. I still do cook something that interests me every few days, and sometimes end up with two more days worth of IT. I then wait a day and take it to work (I don't want to see it the next day, sorry, picky...) Sometimes I do want to see it the next day, and eat most of the rest of IT, tossing the last part.

Depends on what IT is. I have learned to buy certain items and freeze in small portions...sausages, for example. I don't eat a lot of meat, but still put a bit of sausage in soups. I actively crave Gelson's fish sausage (uncooked) of ten years ago, back in LA. Ah, but best fresh.

Re the freezer - in the good old days, my freezer was a little odd. I would have coffee beans and dough starter and bread crumbs and batteries and a bottle of Campari and ice cubes and some beans (I have always been a mad bean cooker, why not just put in a whole pound?), but nothing much in the way of, you know, dinner.

My present freezer is just about the same. I much prefer fresh produce, and am trying to learn to make smaller batches of recipes. I tend to stop at the store on the way home from work and pick up some spinach, or a piece of fish, or whatever, and not buy for a week. Buying for a week just leaves me with stuff getting older.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:43 pm
I guess I am spoiled... I have a really good small market about six blocks from my house, with lots of organic produce and fresh hearth baked breads, great place to pick up a little bit to cook with. It is more expensive that shopping at some other places, but not that much more, and the food is fresh and good.
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sumac
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 04:19 am
To the spoiled and the unspoiled (hi Roger), thanks for the information. I bemoan the loss of my freezer, which would have solved a lot of problems. If I am taking the time and energy to do a big deal production, I like to cook in large volume, and freeze the rest into meal-sized portions. Don't have that luxury with just the top of the refrigerator as the freezer. No good small markets around here, no fish store, no bakery (that I have found yet), etc. So, I am feeling my way around, eating the same IT the next day, freezing some, etc. Sloppy joes as the base for a whole bunch of stuff. Good idea.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 07:07 am
since i have lived alone for the past 13 yrs i have noticed 2 essential problems, the first is marketing-its really hard to just buy enough of whatever for one person without having to toss much of it way (yeah Roger has the right idea) -- the other thing is that I often eat standing over the sink and thats really dumb....
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NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 01:22 pm
dyslexia:

I can relate to the size issue.

That's why freezer paper can come in so handy!
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sumac
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 06:19 pm
Haven't eaten today and may not. Can't be good though.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 07:19 pm
Eat alot of fruits and vegetables that doesn't require cooking. What you don't eat can be kept in the freg. Five servings of fruits and vegetables every day is healthy too! c.i.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 07:28 pm
In the winter I do a lot of braising -- meat and veg together, Mediterranean style, so the flavor is very good. Very little hassle. Great or small quantities can be cooked at one time. Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave and stay delicious. Eat mostly salads and stuff in summer, though occasionally broiled chicken in a marinade tastes really good. Veggies and fruit in season in summer, too. The best way to eat, when there's no one else around, is in snacks throughout the day. No big cleaning job afterwards. And the snacks can be delicious, imaginative and healthy and cause only a five minute break, which you sometimes need anyway!
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sumac
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2003 03:14 am
Thanks to all, especially Tartarin, Winter is stew time for me, so I had better have room in the freezer. The winter squash that I am growing does save well, and cooks up in a myriad of ways.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2003 06:28 am
Sumac -- If you're growing your own veggies, you are probably an addict (as I am!) of a huge, self-indulgent plate of mixed roasted or broiled veg. For total self-indulgence, melted butter + lemon, OR aioli, OR you-invent-it sauce, to dip them in.

This is not good for me, talking about food!
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2003 07:16 am
a favorite of mine is to take one avocado mushed up with mayo, salt and pepper to taste, spread on a slice of real bread, topped with some mozzarelli then grilled til the cheese slumps.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2003 07:18 am
Another thought: Go to epicurious.com and sign up for their free email bulletins which link you to recipes. Some of the recipes are terrific, some not. But it's fun to be given the choice. I use many of them as the basis for a little creative cooking, to jog me out of ruts, etc.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2003 07:45 am
sumac

Yes, it's quite an adjustment & it takes time to get it right. Apart from shopping & cooking, there are also the TIME issues of getting all the damn jobs done around the place when there are only 2 hands to do them! When you're working full-time this can really push you.
But be patient & things will come good! I promise! Very Happy For starters, you'll rediscover the foods that YOU really like (as opposed to those that best fitted the 2 of you) .... Right now here in this cold Oz winter, for me it's soup. I crave it & indulge myself with endless varieties: pumpkin the other day, followed by chicken & vegetable ... & last night it was lentils, spinach & tomatoes. I suspect pea & ham is next! I have no idea why I have this desire to to indulge in non-stop soup extravaganzas, but it feels good, is healthy & I'll continue till I get sick of it. My former partner hated all forms of soup with a vengeance. (Maybe this is part of the appeal? Smile ) I guess what I'm saying is that it can be quite liberating to just suit yourself for a change.
I hope you get to enjoy it. I am. Very Happy
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Algis Kemezys
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2003 09:53 am
This is the worst, but occasionally I buy the deluxe,extra cheezey Kraft dinner, using another noodle product rather than the one contained. Add fresh frozen peas to complete. Mange.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2003 01:25 am
Algis, you are incorrigible. Please, real cheese.

Myself, I call the halt at three times. I am a fair cook, if I do say so, or at least an enthusiastic one, but not for zuppa times five. Tartarin's view makes sense, and braising is a smart way to cook, fairly easy, the results are tender, the house smells good.

The thing to learn is to cut down. Food for six gets wasted. I like using fresh produce myself, and picking, should I be so lucky, or buying, to fit that...which means that I pick or buy more often.

I had a freezer in my basement when I bought this house, and got rid of it (energy use). I like fresh foods. I would like just a teensy weensy larger freezer than the one I already have in my refrigerator.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2003 07:30 am
Yes, shopping is the problem, not cooking, when you're cooking for one. I live in a rural area, so I can't "pop down to the supermarket" the way one does in a town. I also live in a place subject to sudden flash floods, road closings. Result: I overshop and then find myself burying old broccoli and onions in my compost pile, tossing bread into a pile of brush where critters live. Eyes bigger than tummy.

Me too, Osso. Wish I had a small, separate freezer (but where?!), energy efficient, though that has its drawbacks too: the unlabelled (didn't have time! and anyway I'll remember!) plastic container covered in frost: looks like chicken and, is that pasta?

The real challenge, which I remember from years lived in a much more remote area, is making a meal from What's There, Which Isn't Much, And Isn't Appealing!
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