July 13, 2016
Laurie Colwin wrote one of my favorite essays (in this book) about the singular experience of being alone in the kitchen cooking for yourself. In Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, Colwin writes: “Certainly cooking for oneself reveals man at his weirdest.”
These days cooking for yourself may not seem weird – but it’s too often seen as selfish. That’s why I appreciate Corned Beef and Caviar, written by the great Marjorie Hillis in 1937. (Hillis, incidentally, remains sadly unsung.) This “recipe” for what the author called female “live-aloners” is less a recipe than a lesson in cultivating solitary rituals. It struck me as remarkably modern, especially when I think of the tone of some of the new bride cookbooks I’ve featured here in the past.
Hillis encourages her reader to be what MFK Fisher called “a guest to yourself.”
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