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Food Week Review – Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant


Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone

Edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler


Review by Pat L. (PitterPat)


Jennifer Ferrair-Adler found herself living alone for the first time in her life at the age of twenty-seven. She struggled with how to enjoy eating solo. She went looking for books that talked about cooking for one and dining alone. Not a cookbook but inspiration for solitary cooking and eating. When she found no such books her boyfriend suggested she write her own. She sent out invitations to various food and fiction writers to participate in the project. She asked them:
Do you have a secret meal you make (or used to make) for yourself? Do you have a set of rituals for dining alone (at home or in a restaurant), or rules?

The result is a collection of twenty-six essays on the joy and sorrows of dining alone. One is from a mother of three who dreams of a solitary meal of her choosing. Some of the essays are from deceased writers such as Laurie Colwin and M.F.K. Fisher. There are a few recipes thrown in the mix.

This is a chance to view how what others do when faced with cooking and dining alone. Some of the essays will make you feel better about those odd things you eat only by yourself. It’s okay to eat the same weird meal day after day, if you enjoy it. “Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both.” Learn to enjoy eating in public by yourself, maybe with this book as company.

Jennifer says “It is my hope that some nights in your kitchen you will reach for this book and be comforted or laugh out loud with recognition—and try another recipe” and “I hope it will remind that alone and lonely are not synonymous; you will have yourself—and the food you love—for company”. The book has done those things for me and it is going on my keeper shelf. Reading this book is a chance to feel connected to others even when you are alone. This is not a book to sit and read all the way through. Read an essay or two then take a break, otherwise it all runs together and is not very enjoyable. I liked hearing how other people view solo cooking and eating.











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