Donna Covrett reminded me, a few days ago, of a book that’s been on my Kindle (okay, fine, Kindle App…) for a while now: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes by Deborah Madison. In it, she surveys people from all different walks of life about what they eat when they only need to please themselves. There are, of course, people who do things like roast whole chickens for themselves, or put together four course meals, but most of us– myself included– eat some pretty weird stuff when we are alone.
Before bed last night, as The Better Half was doing a crossword puzzle on his iPad (we are a very techno-forward family, it seems), I asked him, “What do you eat when you’re alone?”
He thought for a second. “Sometimes, I get a craving for Banquet Salisbury steak and store-bought mashed potatoes. I microwave them and make sure there’s plenty of gravy on the potatoes.”
Yeah, not my choice, but it goes to show: we all eat kind of wacky things when we’re alone.
Me? I work from home, so often my lunches are scrounged from what I can fix quickly. I like salads with sunflower seeds, vinaigrette, goat or blue cheese and cranberries. I’ll make an egg sandwich, with a scrambled egg, cheese, and an English muffin. I have been known to eat leftovers cold: any kind of leftovers, not just things that are pretty good cold, like lo mein or pizza, but pasta dishes and cold steak.
For a comfort-food snack, I can get pretty weird. I hate the microwave, but I do love spreading some tortilla chips on a plate, covering it with cheese and a little chili powder, and nuking it (or broiling it) until the cheese is melted: ersatz nachos (note: I rarely keep tortilla chips in the house for this very reason). Someone in the book talks about his own version with Fritos. I felt a kinship.
I also love Klosterman rye bread (which, in reality, bears little resemblance to real rye bread) with butter and a little garlic salt. It was margarine when I was a kid. I’ve “grown up” and now use Blue Oven’s salt rye, but I still crave the Klosterman.
So what do you eat when you’re alone? Do you cook a full meal? Set a place setting? Eat over the sink or at your desk? Combine weird things together? Tell me in the comments.