If you live on your own, shopping and cooking can sometimes be tricky – supermarkets are geared towards families and couples. Chops and fillets of fish and baking potatoes come in packs of two – if not more. I sometimes find myself fancying a bit of coleslaw, or some hummous, or whatever – but I don’t want to be eating it every day for a week!
I’ve been cooking for one since my husband left back in February – but even before he left, he worked away a lot, so cooking for one is something I’ve had lots of practice in. These are my thoughts, hints, tips and suggestions.
Be positive –
- You can cook what you want to eat.
- You can eat when you want to eat.
- You can try something new – and if it all goes dreadfully wrong you can rustle up some cheese on toast without having to apologise to anyone.
You can still treat yourself –
- Make cooking into an event. Spend the evening making a big pot of your favourite stew, or try out a new recipe. Pour a glass of wine, get creative.
- There’s no reason why you can’t have a proper family dinner – roast chicken, veggies, roasties, stuffing, gravy. I’m quite evangelical about Rubber Chicken.
- Bake half a cake – bake a single sponge cake, cut it in half and put one half on top of the other, sandwiched with jam or cream or whatever you fancy – you stand more of a chance of getting through it before it goes stale than you would if it was a whole double-tier sponge cake.
- Don’t always have your meal sitting on the sofa watching the telly. Set the table, do it properly.
- Do something nice for yourself. I always fill the kettle and leave a mug with a teabag in it on the bench, so that when I get up in the morning, or get in from work, all I have to do is flick the switch on the kettle. It’s not quite the same as someone making you a cuppa – but it’s the next best thing. It’s my teeny tiny way of showing myself that I care about me.
- You can cook double quantities and freeze some meals. Then, instead of heading for the cook-chill aisle, you just need to take something out of the freezer. Cheaper, probably healthier, just as quick – and without the bother of having to stop at the supermarket on the way home from work.
- Buy some smaller sized pieces of equipment – a couple of smaller pans, smaller cooking trays, a smaller casserole dish, that sort of thing. There’s no point in spending more than you need heating up things that are bigger than you need.
- Meal planning is just as important for one as it is for a family – it means you will only be buying what you need, and it also means that you can make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. You’re more likely to actually cook a proper meal if you know ‘tonight it’s salmon’ and all the ingredients are already bought and waiting. Plan what you’ll do with the leftovers too.
- Beware of BOGOF deals – unless you’re able to freeze it, or you actually want to eat it every night for a week, they’re a false economy. I hate wasting food.
- With the move away from plastic packaging, I’m hoping that things will change – buying loose is best for single people. It means we can buy as much or as little as we need. In the meantime, explore the deli counter and the little local shops where you can buy in bulk (which is ironic, as bulk is the last thing we want to buy in).
And finally –
- It is worth the effort.
- You are worth the effort.
What’s your best cooking-for-one life hack? And your favourite recipe?
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