Alone in the Kitchen with an Aluminum Can

July 13, 2016

IMG_5875Laurie 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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  • GilDan says:

    No bad,unfortunate choice of grapefruit (medical thing).Also canned Chicken Gumbo soup is kinda hard to find now-a-days in the usual grocery stores-I had to go to a foreign based grocery to procure.Buy local if possible,happy dining

  • Lmm3 says:

    I used to love going out to restaurants here in San Francisco. And I really enjoyed reading about new restaurants. But for the last year or so I’ve been really turned off to eating out. There’s the hipster coldness of the waiters and then I read about the “war zone” that’s going on in the back of the house and the excitement of eating out is gone. When the restaurant is right, it’s hard to say what it is, but it’s like walking into someone’s home for a warm, exciting evening. But it seems I’ve had too many expensive meals lately that haven’t been that special. And so I’ve been cooking more for myself and liking those evenings with a bottle of wine and being able to fare la scarpetta before my plate is taken away.