alone in the kitchen with an eggplant




goodness i've been out of it. it's amazing how far behind you can get when you get sick. whatever. that's over now.

anyway, a few weeks ago, in a fit of amazon book insanity, i bought this book - a collection of essays about eating alone. it's been a while since we've had a book pairing. i've been a little remiss in my duties of randomizing posts. oh well. these things happen. instead of going into detail about the essays, i thought it might be more fun to just share a handful of quotes that really stood out to me before going into our pairings. honestly, i adored reading this book but, like eating alone, you'll just have to try it out on your own to decide what you think of it.

Cooking gives me the means to make other people feel better, which in a very simple equation makes me feel better. I believe that food can be a profound means of communication, allowing me to express myself in a way that seems at times much deeper and more sincere than words (Patchett 16-17).

Eating as a simple means of ending hunger is one of the great liberties of being alone, like going to the movies by yourself in the afternoon or, back in those golden days of youth, having a cigarette in the bathtub. It is a pleasure to not have to take anyone else's tastes into account or explain why I like to drink my grapefruit juice out of the carton (Patchett 18). And when I cook I refuse to use more than one pan. A great meal alone is joyous but ending it with a lot of dishwashing diminishes the effect (Hesser 42).

In real life, asparagus heroism is temporary. It is intense. There is a great deal of asparagus all at once. The hero must ingest this—raw! steamed! roasted! grilled!—and then, abruptly, stop. There are no memorials. By July the heroism must be forgotten in an orgy of peppers, summer squashes, pole beans. Nowhere in the world should there be asparagus in winter (Nobles 52).

Sometimes, eating alone, you are humble. Sometimes, though, the reason to go through with cooking for yourself is the chance to brag about it afterward (Nobles 60).

I come from America.
It is a land on many wonders, but identifiable culinary tradition is not one of them. Sure, you got your New Orleans and California cuisines. But they are bastardizations. Riffs at best. No, like millions before me, I was raised in the great American culinary blandscape (Karlin 89).

Remember: for the lonely, cooking is not just self-maintenance. It is a powerful form of sexual marketing (Almond 124).

I met some interesting waiters: I continue to agree with a modern Mrs. Malaprop who said: "They are so much nicer than people!" (Fisher 156).

So that milk was several weeks old, like everything else in my refrigerator. But did I throw it away? No. I'll probably sniff it again in two weeks' time, just to torment myself. I have two personalities. Two idiots. The one who sniffs the milk and doesn't throw it away, and the one who sniffs the milk two weeks later (Ames 160).



food and drink:

well, eggplant, if you're predictable and like symmetry. a glass of sherry and saltines if you don't. why? read the book. you'll get it maybe mid-way through or so.



once you've tossed back your first couple glasses of sherry and have started slathering olive tapenade or whatever else you can find in your kitchen on your saltines, flip open what we eat when we eat alone. and then laugh at it. because that book tried to do what this book does, but is no way near as successful. then pour yourself another drink. it's okay. if you follow the title's instructions, you should be alone in the kitchen while you do this. no one but you will know how many drinks you have.



it's been a long time since i've seen it, but this book made me want to watch the french film the dinner game again. it's not about eating alone or anything like that. but it is a good reminder that sometimes your own company is preferable to being with other people.


on that note, happy november.

oh! by the way, be sure to check back here on the fourth. just because.