In the food-writing world, much has been written and pondered about cooking for one- why might the cook be doing so? It's interesting to consider how one's context might change the experience of solo cooking: did children just leave for camp or college; is a partner out of town; was there a death; a divorce? In such situations, cooking might seem bleak, lonely, for sustenance only, or, on the other end of the spectrum, a gift of time alone in the kitchen, cooking only for one's self, allowing that person to ask: what do I want to eat? What sounds good to me? I love to cook for my family, but sometimes it's nice to do it just for me, just for one. T headed off on a work trip this morning so I've got two evenings on my own. Although I rarely(!) tire of being with T, in my context, right now, I'm looking forward to these nights, to the few hours after the kids go to bed, when I can putter, finally clean out my fridge, cook whatever I want, and just be.
Reminiscing over the years when I was single, during times happily and unhappily so, I remember how much I enjoyed quiet evenings alone with my little dinner and some reading spread in front of me, soft music playing, a cocktail or glass of wine or not. I've never been the type who could be with people all the time, never the type who even wanted that. And though I often think about why motherhood is hard, the lack of being able to be alone at times determined by me versus those determined by my children being asleep, isn't something I often consider. But as I write this, thinking with joyful anticipation about my two nights and all I want to do with them (but know I won't do 50% of it), I feel like I've put a piece of the puzzle into place. It's not just me I miss sometimes but also that time to be with myself, to figure out and nurture who that woman is, who she wants to be.
I don't have a plan for dinner yet tonight but it'll probably be something veggie-centric with some delicious bread and maybe the slightest bit of chocolate afterwards. Maybe I'll make something up, maybe I'll put together an old favorite. Whatever it is, it'll just be for me though, and as the evenings alone are so rare, I'll give myself a cheers and send one out to you too.