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Saturday, August 28, 2010

What We Eat When We Eat Alone - Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin

This book grew out of a question that the author and illustrator (a wife and husband pair) would often ask people in their travels: what do you eat when you’re by yourself? The variety of answers is endless.

This is an interesting look at how we view food. For some people, the answer is something simple, because they don’t feel themselves worthy of the effort of a fully cooked meal if they’re the only ones eating it. Other people pull out all the stops, and eat a more elaborate meal than I would consider preparing for a holiday dinner.

There are also differences between what men and women will eat when on their own. The one that struck me most is that, at least in the experience of the author, men were far more likely to resort to pasta when cooking for themselves. I find this idea fairly preposterous, as if I had my druthers (and the metabolism I had when I was six), I’d eat pasta morning, noon, and night. Though, I will say, some of my favorite winter roasted vegetable solo concoctions are remarkably similar to a number of other womens’ contributions in the book.

There are a hundred recipes included in the book, ranging from simple breakfast burritos to complicated roasts with side of polenta and braised vegetables. It’s an interesting collection to thumb through, with many being so personal that I find myself not being inspired to cook many of them. It seems sacrilegious somehow, as if I would be intruding on someone’s private domain. Still, this is a fun book to wander through – a rare cookbook that you can truly read all the way through.

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