Jul 3, 201206:13 AMBay Buzz
Table for One
Cooking a meal for one is a valiant endeavor, in some ways. It is an undertaking which, I enter knowing, could leave me force-feeding myself like a toddler in a tantrum, with my tears serving as the only respite from the food’s vapid dryness. It says to hell with the easy route, standing in the freezer aisle and whistling “Camptown Races” as you decide which flavor of the increasingly life-like Healthy Choice meals you’ll take home to microwave.
There is also a certain selfishness in dining solo, seeing as I should be able to at least find one person in this town who would enjoy a dinner, if not for the fellowship then at least for the free food. But any social guilt is overshadowed by the fear of making another human suffer through a meal which could potentially go down as the worst of their life.
All that is to say, I cooked for myself last weekend. It was an experience best summed up by my borderline breakdown in aisle 9 of the Midtown Winn-Dixie, when I called my mother blathering angrily about Worcestershire sauce and slivered almonds. Even the speckled trout fillets were only in my possession due to an ice chest mix-up.
But for all of the angst caused by grocery shopping and following directions, I was pleasantly bewildered by my results. Following Chip Deupree’s recipe for trout amandine found in my trusty Bay Appetit cookbook (available here), I dunked, dredged, drained and drizzled until nearly every square inch of my alley kitchen was covered in some ingredient or another. I caught up with old friends, like Dave Matthews and Sam Adams, and spent some quality time by myself, which is not as easy as it may sound. Sitting at the table and savoring my labor’s fruits was a moment of awakening. “I’d be pleased if a fancy restaurant served me this,” I thought after especially good bites. “Next time, maybe I’ll even prepare a side dish. Why don’t I do this more often?” I finished, grabbed my plate and walked into the kitchen. “Oh,” I thought, and began cleaning into the night.
Maybe that’s what friends are for.