Single women and mothers everywhere will relate.
Among the millions of cookbooks out there, there are categories for just about everything. There are cookbooks dedicated to families, babies, fussy children, college co-eds, recent college grads on a limited budget, newlyweds, carnivores and herbivores. There are cookbooks featuring recipes from cuisines from all over the world, France, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, India… There are soup, salad, chicken, pasta, bread, stew, grilling, braising and pressure cooking cookbooks. There are food memoirs and food essays. But there is no cookbook for the single woman. There’s probably a good reason for this, but none as much as the fact that it’s so un-glam.
I know they exist and they’re out there but don’t know too many people who actually cook for themselves. It just takes so much effort and when the kids aren’t here I want a night that’s as effort-free as possible. (I do think a Divorcée Cookbook would be brilliant if not hilarious.)
If I wrote such a book my recipes would likely include pairing a good wine with popcorn, potato chips, maybe even ice cream or the hidden stash of chocolate chip cookies saved for the kids lunch boxes. This, I am sure, would strike many as funny, the foodie that I am. I write about food from time to time and review restaurants on a fairly regular basis. I know the difference between good food and great food. I have no patience for terrible food. I also handle public relations for several restaurants. Food is very much the center of my universe and I am around it all the time.
We eat together as a family as often as our busy schedules will allow. Food has played such an important role in my upbringing as it has in my childrens. They’ve become quite the foodies themselves — quite adept in the kitchen, whipping up meals that often blow my mind. With all of this, on a quiet night alone I simply don’t want to cook. If there are leftovers I may toss them into a bowl and reheat, but that may even be too much to ask for.
When the children (teenagers) aren’t with me the last thing I want to do is to slave over the stove. It’s less about the cooking and more about the clean-up. I spend 90% of my time picking up and cleaning up after them. When they’re gone, I’ll be damned if I have to create extra work for myself. In total Lazy Mom Honesty I just don’t want to be bothered. I can’t be bothered — I don’t want to bother with cooking and I don’t want to bother with cleaning.
My favorite solo dinner is rosé and popcorn. It satisfies my salt craving. It’s healthier and better than potato chips. I’m not talking about microwave popcorn or Jiffy Pop but making my own with kernels tossed into a large pot filled with a little bit of oil and seasoned in a multitude of ways is my secret addiction. Once the kernels have all been popped I drizzle a flavored olive oil (white truffle is my favorite and nothing has yet to come close) and some sea salt. I could eat the entire pot. I’ve come damn close a few times. Truffled popcorn is nothing less than divine. (Recipe here)
Wine, in my opinion, is a complete food group so please don’t even try to argue with me. When the children are away wine is a must; the color depends on the season, the weather and my mood. This evening it was rosé. There was one glass left in the bottle. I know it’s trendy, en vogue, or whatever you want to call it, but I happen to genuinely love it. It pairs with absolutely everything. Well maybe not steak — but I typically don’t eat steak. Burgers, or anything that moos.
Tonight it was Rosé and Fudgesicles. I had two and at 40 calories a pop I allowed myself the extravagant luxury of doing so.
I didn’t feel like cooking.
I wanted something sweet.
This morning I had a bowl blueberries and coffee (3 cups, with milk) for breakfast before a killer Barre class.
I was hungry when I got home. I always am.
I had some seltzer and multi-colored cherry heirloom tomatoes with cottage cheese generously seasoned with my favorite Greek spices. I also had a large handful of peanuts before running out the door for a few hours. I went to Starbucks and had another coffee. With milk.
I was hungry again when I got home. I had a piece of turkey and a Pink Lady apple.
I got my daughter an ice cream. I had a few spoonfuls and felt terribly guilty.
Looking back I didn’t eat enough today. And I had way too much coffee.
But by the time it was 7:00 there was no way in Hell I was about to cook or make myself a salad so I poured a glass of rosé. And then, of course, I needed something sweet but I’m on a sugar and grain elimination diet. I resorted to a chocolate sugar free Fudgesicle. So glam. And then I had another.
I ate my Fudgesicles, unapologetically, while sitting on a white couch wearing a baby blue bathrobe, my hair piled high on top of my head in a topknot, a vision of class, or lack thereof! I savored the icy cold chocolatyness wondering what I was putting in my body. How could something so yummy, sweet and creamy have a mere 40 calories. I sucked each popsicle down to the wooden stick, and then giving it a final sideways turn I bit off the last bit. As with anything good that suits a craving I was sad when it was over. The rosé was the main course, and naturally, the Fudgesicles were dessert.
Pairs Well with Rosé — this could be the title of my first chapter. It certainly has a certain ring to it.
I’m really am a class act, I tell you.
Other recipes in that chapter might include, Cabernet and Rocky Road Brownies, Merlot and Chips Ahoy, Sancerre and Cape Cod Reduced Fat Potato Chips, Albarino and Truffled Popcorn, Prosecco and Haagen Dazs.
My cookbook whose working title could very well be The Divorced Mother’s Guide to Dining Alone would absolutely have a special Netflix, Amazon and Hulu pairing section because nothing completes a solo meal of Champagne and Fritos the way a good TV series binge does.
But tonight was rosé and fudgesicles — and it was perfection.