Today’s cookbook for strange times is ‘Solo, the Joy of Cooking for One’. I don’t know if it’s the best solo cookbook out there, but it’s the me I have, and I like it. I do wish there were more cooking for one books around though, they really need to be more of a thing.
Scaling recipes up is a lot easier than scaling them down, there’s a lot of us who live alone, or cook alone, or who are living in couples, but most recipes I have feed 4, 6, 8... which is a lot of left overs to get through. I’m not a huge fan of batch cooking either - cooking double for a family of 4 makes sense, 8 portions for 1 person isn’t something I find particularly tempting (unless it’s a really good cake, but that won’t keep and isn’t good for me). I find a freezer full of last weeks meals quite a dispiriting prospect.
I’m much more enthusiastic about cooking a biggish bit of salmon (one of Johansen’s suggestions) that can then be used in a number of other things over a couple of days. I’m also really lucky in Leicester in that we have an excellent meat and fish market where it’s easy to buy small quantities - only want a couple of slices of bacon, or a single chop - no problem, not much packaging, and no premium pricing. The quality is good and the prices very reasonable. So obviously the market is almost deserted at the moment.
I really hope it doesn’t close, it’s a much nicer environment to shop in than a supermarket, and reassuringly right now the only person handling what you buy is yourself and the butcher/fishmonger. The choice is better too.
Meanwhile with so many of us stuck at home alone it’s important to establish routines, especially around food - it’s too easy to fall into the habit of living of biscuits and sandwiches (at least I find it so) when days are all more or less the same and there’s nobody to judge you. A book that covers everything from yes, things on toast, through to lazy weekend projects, taking in things to make ahead and some batch cooking along the way is always going to be useful.
Signe Johansen’s Scandi food sensibility (lots of fruit, veg, and fish in here) informs this book, but it’s influences also come from much further afield - it means there’s something for every mood. What I really like about this book though is that it understands the temptation to not really bother, and politely but firmly tells me whilst that’s okay occasionally it really isn’t good enough long term. It’s a reminder a periodically need.