I wonder if it is just me or is it really different to cook for one?
I mean, I have been cooking for two for the past twenty plus years. How different should it be to cook for one less?
I had supper with my friend Ginnie last Sunday night and she confirmed that it does seem harder to cook for one. She said that she wastes a lot of food that she buys with good intentions but ends up leaving in the refrigerator too long. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that she is still working. I can remember the nights I would come home from work too tired to cook. We would have sandwiches or Mike would suggest taking me out.
We cut way, way back on the eating out in retirement. Mike got more involved in cooking too.
And people seem concerned about someone newly faced with cooking for herself alone. I have been asked often in the past few months, "Are you eating?" The answer to that is certainly, yes. I do like to eat. And I like to eat "healthy" so I eschew most packaged and processed food. I keep frozen broccoli and spinach on hand, canned tomatoes, and cartons of vegetable or chicken stock (mostly reduced sodium). That is not new.
Here are the major difference I am noticing:
1. I shop less often. I do not run out to the store to get the special bread that would compliment my meal so nicely. I eat the bread I have and think about getting the special bread for the next week.
2. I spend less money. That is a function of not shopping as much--reduces the impulse buys if you are not in the store--and buying less. I used to buy a variety of fruits and vegetables for the week. Now I buy one or two vegetables that I use in different ways through the week. I do not eat any where near the amount of fruit that Mike did so I don't buy too much of that at all.
3. I eat way less meat and way more grain and bean dishes with vegetables. That is a good thing for me.
4. I eat a less varied diet. If I cook brown rice and I bought carrots, they are going to show up in several meals over the week's time.
5. Paradoxically, I eat a more varied diet in the sense that I choose a much wider variety of vegetables than Mike would ever eat. I experiment with recipes more.
6. In spite of the pared down shopping, I do less planning. Mike liked to eat, but he was also kind of fussy and he wanted to know what we were going to have ahead of time (sometimes so he could plan on making himself a hot dog instead). I know what I have on hand, but I can be creative about how to use that and at the end of the week there is soup--very creative soup.
7. I don't linger over a meal with conversation and a glass of wine. That is not such a good thing. Although, God knows, I do tend to yabber on to Mike. Out loud. Crazy alert. But believe me, he does have a way of answering when I really need him to.
Now having said that, I did have a meal and a glass of wine with Ginnie on Sunday. My son was here for dinner tonight. No wine, but we had chicken enchiladas and chocolate chip cookies that Ginnie sent home with me all ready to pop into the oven. I made a broccoli slaw and there was plenty of conversation.
I am still sad, but I do not feel sorry for myself.