It was just a little over a year ago, I think, that Judith
Jones' little book came out--The Pleasures of
Cooking For One seemed charming, quirky, contrarian in an age
of conspicuous entertainment. But like any successful
species, the "Serves 1" book has survived to produce offspring, and
this year brings at least two more.
Joe Yonan's Serve
Yourself makes liberal use of the special-occasion ingredients
you can afford any night if you're not feeding a family:
speck, duck eggs, smoked oysters and smoked trout, artichoke
hearts. But mainly, it's an exploration of just how much
pleasure you can get out of a single meal if you really put your
mind to it.
Institute of America's Cooking for
One is a different sort of showcase; many of its recipes seem
to scale down hearty, slow-cooked dishes that would normally feed a
crowd--beef of fish stew, chili, risotto, short rib.
Many single people won't venture near such involved recipes;
"it's not worth it, just for me..." they say. Indeed, you may
have said that to yourself. But let us expand the point a little.
Of course you're worth it--of course you
deserve to eat something wonderful. The question is really, do you
also deserve the 2 hours of cooking prep and the extra hour of
dishes as well? On that subject, I'm afraid the cookbooks are