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Alone in the Kitchen

I'm interested in finding out what happens then. Do we hold to the same standards that apply to cooking for others? Usually not, it seems. I'm interested in why.

In "Making Soup in Buffalo," Beverly Lowry writes: "The fact was, I wanted the same thing again and again. And so I yielded, bought the goods, took them home, cooked, ate, accompanied usually by music, preferably a public radio station that played music I liked. And I am here to tell you, the pleasure never diminished. I was happy every time."

Every time I read those sentences, I take a big breath and let it out with a sigh. Good, I think. I'll make the same weird meal I've been making all week—half a loaf of seven-grain bread sliced and slathered with tahini and honey—again tonight. It's what I want. It's delicious and filling.

It is my hope that some nights in your kitchen you will reach for this book and be comforted and laugh out loud with recognition—and try another recipe. These are essays to be read and reread, to be stained with gravy and wine. I've tried to assemble the book so it reads fluidly from beginning to end. Arranging the pieces gave me the sensation of designing the seating chart for the most wonderful dinner party in the world. The book can also be read backward, and each essay stands alone. In that way it is like a cookbook, like cooking. Of course, this anthology is by no means exhaustive; it is merely an entryway.

If you choose to give this book to yourself, to keep it in your kitchen, my hope is that it will give you some company, some inspiration, and some recipes that require no division or subtraction. I hope it will remind you that alone and lonely are not synonymous; you will have yourself—and the food you love—for company.

In conclusion, let me just say that a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a handful of walnuts (or broken pretzels) and maple syrup, served in a coffee cup, makes a perfect dessert for one person cross-legged on a couch, or, if it's warm out, on a porch or a stoop.

As an alternative—if right now you're rolling your eyes and thinking, not so much with the ice cream—allow me to recommend Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt with one teaspoon of honey mixed in. The honey does something not only to the flavor but to the texture of the yogurt, making it sublimely creamy and sweet. I like to use the teaspoon to eat the dessert out of the container. While I eat, I daydream about the dinner parties I will throw in the shimmering future, when I will serve this yogurt-and-honey creation in champagne glasses and be applauded for my culinary brilliance.

But for now, eating this in bed by myself is not merely fine, it is sweet.

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Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

Jenni Ferrari-Adler

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