I’m facing a challenge over the next month. I’ve been married for 25 years and have two kids. For a long time I have been cooking meals for at least two people and for the next month I’m cooking for just one – nothing untoward just a work trip for my wife.
In my younger days I could imagine confronting this with night after night of takeaways – after all which bloke could resist the double benefit of no washing up? From a purely selfish point of view I could very easily have a series of readymade blogs of takeaway reviews too. I can’t afford to pile on the pounds though and pride makes me want to do a little better than that.
Ahead of this, clearly First-World middle class, problem I can see that it can be difficult for anyone in this situation. Apart from the lack of company and the lack of motivation, which cooking for someone else provides, there are some practical barriers. I’ve done a little shopping in preparation and quantities are large for everything. I found myself immediately thinking of things I could freeze. I want a couple of slices of bread for one dish and I’ve ended up buying a whole loaf.
On the subject of freezers, I have somehow ended up with two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s and three tubs of Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations ice cream on the shelves going into this trial. On the lonely nights in front of the television with just me and the dog they are going to keep nagging me from the freezer. Where are the carrot sticks when you need them?
Our cooking pots are bought for larger portions so I’m going to have to think about cooking for four and freezing in singles to make sure I don’t just wolf the lot. It’s a terrible combination of characteristics I carry around with me – a love of eating, a love of cooking, time on my hands and a house full of food! How do the thin chefs manage it?
Thinking positively though; it does allow me to eat some of the things my wife doesn’t particularly like and I will have a bit more time on my hands to play with some possible blog themes. For example, my shopping this week started with the ingredients for steak tartare. I absolutely love it but it’s definitely an acquired taste that my wife doesn’t share. I bought enough fillet steak to do a couple of them. I picked up a couple of smoked haddock fish cakes made daily by the local deli and which are freezable. I also bought quite a few sweet potatoes. I’m thinking of baking them all and then reheating them through the week as the base for a few dishes. I bought four lamb cutlets too so that I could have two meals with the sweet potatoes. I saw some Jerusalem artichokes so I’m going to be making some soup too – anyone heard of a sweet potato and artichoke soup recipe? It sounds far too full-on with flavour to me but I will investigate. That should see me through week one more or less intact and any slight meanders off the path are going to have to be made up for with some serious dog-walking.
The final possibility is that I could have a dabble with baking in an evening and take the results in to work (or more likely the burned or sunken 50% will be scraped off into the waste bin never to be spoken about again).
I have a plan for the Month Of Solitude. I’ll keep you posted but any suggestions are welcome.