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The Pleasures of Cooking for One

Julia Child’s editor urges singles to get into the kitchen and enjoy making dinner for one.

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In her recent memoir “The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food” (2008), Judith Jones, the editor of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” urges singles to get in the kitchen and cook. In her new book The Pleasures of Cooking for One, Jones shows readers just how easy, adventurous, and rewarding it is to do so.

Cooking for one on a regular basis tends to be seen as problematic. Most recipes serve at least four people, a turnoff for solo cooks who don’t enjoy eating the same meal three days in a row. Reducing recipes isn’t always that easy: For example, how does one use half an egg? And sometimes cooking and eating at a table set for one can feel just plain lonely. It all adds up to enough to keep the stove top cold and frozen meals humming in the microwave for weeks on end.
Jones, who has edited and cooked alongside such household names as Edna Lewis, Marion Cunningham, Lidia Bastianich, and James Beard, insists it doesn’t have to be this way.

“After my husband, Evan, died in 1996, I was not sure that I would ever enjoy preparing a meal for myself and eating it alone,” she writes in the introduction. “But ... I was wrong, and I soon realized that the pleasure that we shared together was something to honor.”
Jones has been interested in food since she lived in Paris as a young woman and discovered life beyond a plain Vermont Yankee palate. Meal preparation centered her life with her husband, but as Jones demonstrates, taking an interest in the food you serve yourself is a way to practice creativity and delight. It’s also a way to care for yourself.

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