What do you eat when you eat alone? I, for one, am no stranger to solo dining. I wholeheartedly embrace and sometimes even prefer it. Most nights when I know I’m going to be dining alone, I phone in a takeaway order to the surprisingly good Chinese place right below my flat right as I’m leaving work so that the food is ready for pickup by the time I’ve arrived. Nothing makes a perfect solo night in like some overpriced Hong Shao Rou and a couple (or five) episodes of Mind of a Chef. This is the laziest option, and I fall back on it much more than I’d like to admit.
Cooking a solo dinner for oneself is a bit trickier. It raises questions like, how much effort am I willing to put into cooking a meal if I am the only one eating it?
Or, do I deserve to eat something nice?
Which all really boils down to the most pressing of questions, do I love myself?
For me, the answers to the above are most certainly: a little, yes and yes. I’m not the type of girl who can eat cereal for dinner without getting a little depressed. (Although I did have a brief love affair with Special K Red Berries while I was studying in the UK. Don’t judge me.) When I’m cooking for just myself, I try to cook things that I would be delighted to eat on any day, but that don’t take more than half an hour to prepare. The list is short and includes Nong Shim instant kimchi ramen with an egg and spinach. But I’d like the share the few standbys I do have, just in case you ever find yourself alone on a weeknight and want something super tasty to pair with your Pinot Grigio and Sex and the City reruns. (Not even being facetious – this is an accurate description of how I spend some of my evenings. Let’s not forget that all those Cathy comics drew their inspiration from somewhere.)
I didn’t realize how easy it is to make Spaghetti Carbonara until I saw an episode of “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” on the Food Network where Anne Burrell shares her recipe. (Sometimes I can’t believe this is how I spend my time.) I add some arugula to mine to make the dish a bit more balanced. Note that I use fewer eggs than the original recipe calls for because I don’t need my carbonara to be that rich. If you do, add more eggs. One pot, five ingredients, 25 minutes. Because we deserve it.