The cold that was making me so miserable has gone, but as a final hangover it's left me in a bit of a reading slump. I'm struggling to concentrate on anything longer than a newspaper article so at the moment Knitting in front of old films is more appealing than picking up a book. I hope this changes soon, meanwhile I've got some cookbooks to look at which feel like a good half way measure.
I bought Solo a couple of weeks ago because it's full of the sort of good I ought to be reading, rather than the food I am eating, and because I don't really enjoy cooking for one.
The thing nobody tells you (or maybe they did and I just forgot it) is how young you are when you start to get old. Since hitting my forties a lot of things have changed; I'd never had indigestion before a miserable day last year, now I've had it twice! I react differently to sugar, and to bread, reheated food disagrees with me - everything takes more thought, the days of eating whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it are behind me. My partner has a whole different set of dietary do's and don'ts (auto correct tried to change don'ts to donuts which has a nice irony to it) which also makes things interesting.
In short, cooking which I've always found a pleasure, has increasingly become a chore when it's just for me, and I'm hoping that some of Johansen's enthusiasm will help me readdress that. Cooking for others is easier - recipes are so often family sized 4-6 people, or more and sizing down isn't always easy (and there's the pleasure and praise of the people you share the food with to motivate you). It's not just recipes which are family size either, a lot of pre packed meat, fish, and veg, and pre packed is often the only choice you can find, comes in larger sizes than one person needs or wants.
The recipe which sold me the book is for Scallops and Sherry. Scallops are expensive, they're also quick to cook. I don't know why I'd not really considered them the perfect treat for one before, but they are. You only need a few, and what nicer thing to cook for yourself, assuming you like scallops as much as I do? The same is true of mussels, I cook them for 2 quite often, but never just for myself, but if I'm getting them from the market getting half a kilo isn't a problem. I'm on the fence about cauliflower, but willing to be convinced that roasting it will change my feelings about it, and so it goes on. There are things I know I'll like here, things I know I will try, and beetroot yoghurt which I won't.
The chapters break down into light bites and things on toast, easy weeknight suppers, one pan wonders, make ahead, salad mezze and tapas, simple pleasures, lazy weekends, and sweet things. The flavours are of the bold, clean, fresh kind that I associate with Johansen, but the main appeal of this book is her hope that you'll consider it as a sisterly companion in the kitchen, and thatblike any good sister she encourages you to take care of yourself, reminds you that you're worth the effort, and is reasonable on the subject of buying a tin of soup when you really can't be bothered.
It's a perfect book if you're customarily cooking for one, or two, people. Sizing up is much easier than sizing down, if you're cooking for more, and I just really like it's attitude (that's the recipe for crêpes cherry jubilee talking).