Cooking when you don’t have to is a pleasure
This is not going to be a dreary, or peppy, article on searing a lamb chop and steaming a handful of spinach. Of course if that’s what I want (a dish that can be made for one) by all means, and break open the Prosecco.
When I was raising my family, it felt like I was running a restaurant in my home. In Mexico the main meal is lunch at 2:00, so I spent the latter part of every morning cooking. Seriously cooking. Lunch to feed four family members, two maids and a gardener. (If you’re wondering why didn’t I ask the maid to cook lunch, the answer is practical. If the choice is between mopping acres of tropical tile floors or cooking, I’ll cook thank you.)
Main course, veg, salad, beans and rice (always in Mexico), fresh salsas, homemade lemonade or Jamaica, and dessert of some sort. All made from scratch. A big deal. Every day.
Fast forward. Everyone grew up and left home. I stopped cooking for a long time.
Now that I’ve settled happily into my single life, I’ve taken it up again with great gusto. This past weekend I made a Jamie Oliver fish pie. Today, it is choucroute garni. Maybe tomorrow it will be my homemade buckwheat waffles and eggs over easy. Doesn’t have to be complicated. But it does have to be delicious.
I cook very intuitively now. I am reveling in the luxury to cook exactly what I feel like eating. My stomach has a great imagination and range and I refuse to chain my cooking to single serving menus. If I want, say, a casserole or a stew, why shouldn’t I? I am not one who waits to eat out in order to enjoy this kind of “group” sized dish.
When I cook one of these meals, I don’t cook for one. You can’t make choucroute garni for one. I cook for four. And guess what? There’s always a child of mine who happens to drop over, or a friend who wants a bite to eat after we’ve shared a cup of afternoon tea that turned Into a glass of wine, and then into an impromptu supper. Or the perfect excuse to invite someone for dinner without making a big fuss because you would have cooked it anyway.
And if that doesn’t happen, after two days of enjoying my dish, I freeze it for a day when I don’t feel like cooking. And I love it even more then.
The same goes for baking. I like a slice of something nice with my afternoon tea. Hell yes, I bake an entire Mary Berry almond cherry cake. I cut off a big hunk for my yoga teacher. I offer slices to my students. I bring some to my daughter’s art college. My bakes never make it to the freezer. No one says no to a home baked slice of heaven.
Life’s too delicious to cook for one.
Talk to me, to us, about what and how you’re cooking these days.
P.S. What’s cooking at Camp Liza this weekend: A Russian pirog to be served with a French vegetable potage.
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