Eating Alone Can Be Joyous

I took down one of my favorite go-to cookbooks this morning, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Coking for Everyone, to see what she might have to say about vanilla custard. But a group of delicious-sounding recipes for tofu distracted me. (A Kitchen Coach client has me thinking more seriously about this subject.). Then I remembered that I have been wanting to write about Deborah Madison’s charming little book, What We Eat When We Eat Alone.

She wrote it with her husband, Patrick McFarlin whose drawings and paintings grace the cover and inside pages and give the book a whimsical character. Madison and McFarlin collected the stories and recipes from far and wide, and then wrote them down with skill, a passion for good food, and compassion for our sometimes whacky hungers.

I see only one problem with the book—whether to keep it by the bed—to promote sweet dreams—or to keep it by the stove and cook my way through it. Sure, the title says “eat alone” and there are plenty of naughty and nice dishes you can imagine eating in privacy, the kind you feel maybe a tiny bit embarrassed by how much you love, and so you don’t want anyone walking in on you. But that’s just crazy. If you love it that much, you bet your boots others will, too.

“One conclusion we’ve reached while talking, writing, and cooking our way through this book is that it’s good to know how to cook for oneself, and essential for anyone who wants to have some self-reliance in the kitchen and who wants to eat well,” write Madison and McFarlin. Yes! As a Kitchen Coach who helps people build their kitchen skills so they can cook with confidence, I could not agree more.

And that vanilla custard? Six teenagers come on Thursday to make flan for a Spanish project. Wish me luck!

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About Penni

Over 30 years as a food and wine professional, writer, and editor.

Cookbook author including:
'The Tra Vigne Cookbook' for Michael Chiarello,
'The Basque Kitchen' for Gerald Hirigoyen
and 'BurgerBar' for Hubert Keller.

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