Monday, February 21, 2011

Singles don't cook- another fabulous and single cooking lady proves otherwise.

Toni is a great, funny, smart friend of mine since college who lives in Anderson, South Carolina. We recently had a conversation about what's its like to be single and cook at home. She gives us all the details along with the advantages and disadvantages.  She also gives some great tips about making portion sizes more feasible.

Do you enjoy cooking at home for yourself? 

Yes, I cook most of time and I eat out twice a month with the exception of lunch. I prefer to cook at home because I can have what I want and I am a picky eater. Budget wise, having a meal at home is half the price of eating out.

What do you cook at home?

I usually cook seafood, shrimp, pasta and pork chops or roast pork.

What is your go to meal?

Toni:  I'll make a semi-jambalaya with potatoes or rice and browned sausages, shrimp and corn. It's also a one pot meal which saves me time and clean up.

Shanimarie: mmm, sounds good, I think I'll have to try that. I usually have four pots on the stove and then when its time to clean up, its like oh no.

Shanimarie: Tell me about any desserts you make.

Toni: I don't make dessert so much but sometimes I'll make a cake or frozen Pillsbury cookies.

Shanimarie: I love sweets. I'll make cake, cookies, pies and everything imaginable.

Shanimarie: What are some of the challenges of being single and cooking at home?

Toni: Its definitely hard to make one serving.  I portion my meats for every time I cook with the exception of produce. I'll buy a pack of chicken then divide the chicken into individual portions.

Shanimarie: That's a great idea. I would have never thought of that!

Shanimarie: Do you entertain?

Toni: Occasionally with family. My mom and I cook for  family birthdays.

Shanimarie: Do you cook special meals for  yourself?

Toni: I'll have lobster and crabs once a month. Sometimes turkey or ham. On the weekends, I'll have my rice and vegetables always.

Shanimarie: Wow, Toni, that is special. What do you do with tons of left over food?

Toni: My brother and coworkers are my testers for new recipes or I'll try and make the left over food into a different meal. Gravy, I do throw out. I 'll make a whole meal like a roast chicken with rice then ask my mom to make the gravy, no matter how much my mom has shown me, it just doesn't come out right.

Shanimarie:  I know what you mean. No matter how much I try to make Jamaican fried dumplings or if my dad shows me, it just never comes out right.

Toni: I must say though that even if I'm eating alone, the presentation of my food is really important. I'll f ix my plate with place mat and a nice glass and really make a meal out of it.

Shanimarie: That's good Toni,  I should do this more often. It's the little things that count after all.

Well, Thank you Toni. It was a pleasure; I learned so much about you even though we have known each other for a long time. You'll have to send me a picture of one of your meals.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Romance of Cooking for one

Valentines day, the day of lovers is once again upon us.  Amidst the sea of flowers, candle lit restaurants and sentimental televison commercials; where does the single person fit in?  I have tackled this question for the past couple years and the answer is found in the romance of cooking for one. Cooking for one can be danced eloquently like the waltz or fiery and spicy like the tango. I prefer the eloquent dance of the waltz. My menu is carefully selected because this is a special meal for one. An herb roasted cornish hen baked in the oven with cherry balsamic vinegar sauce and baked sweet potato mashed with a dab of butter and a tablespoon of heavy cream. Dessert, the ultimate indulgence for one, is a baked apple with a maple pecan sauce. So, rest your weary hearts single cooking readers, make a dinner where you savor every mouthful.  A well wishing of lovers past is the celebratory end to your meal.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What makes the jerk in jerk chicken?

Picture originally uploaded by Guus
 Miss Ena’s house was the place to be. She was the matriarch of our community; an old lady who could cook like nobody’s business. My twin brother and I were main stays at her house for this reason and because we felt safe. She held me in her arms when I cried and fed me when I was hungry. I remember sitting on her verandah and her talking to me, like I was an adult, always listening to hear the next word that I was going to say. She made me feel special. Even when cooking her jerk chicken I knew she was listening to me. She got the coals ready by putting them on the fire in a steel bottom drum and lighting them with a match so they could turn white. When I smelled that smell, I knew she was cooking my favorite, jerk chicken. She always seasoned the meat the night before to let the chicken soak up all that seasoning filled with flavor. She would then take the chicken out the container and put it on the fire; the smell would intoxicate me. It was like waiting for Christmas, except the jerk chicken was the present and Miss Ena was Santa Claus. My twin brother and I would then gorge it down while burning hot, it was soooo good! Using our mouth as the fork to tear the tender pieces apart, this was my heaven on earth.

What are your fondest childhood memories in food?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Supermarkets for singles who cook

Grocery shopping is a daunting task, most supermarkets are family oriented and do not consider the single person who cooks. This has proven to be one of my biggest challenges with cooking and on my grocery bill. Food is expensive. The portions are geared toward a family of at least four. For example, I was craving hamburgers for dinner so I got a medium sized packaged of ground beef. I made three meals out of this one package. I made hamburgers with caramelized onions, chili and meatloaf.  I had lunch for days. The meals were delicious of course. My meatloaf needs some work but my point is these portions are just too big for the single cook.
I also went to the farmers' market with the intention of supporting locally grown food and all its supposed benefits. The scallions looked really fresh and green but the bunch was just going to be way more than I really needed, so I asked the attendant if I could reduce the amount because I'm just cooking for myself and he said no! I was shocked, aren't farmers' markets supposed to be geared towards the customer more so than supermarket chains? Apparently not, in this case.
Supermarkets for single cooks, revolutionary? no, idealist? yes, great idea that benefits everyone, absolutely!