Dinner for One
Making a half cup of rice is a depressing endeavor. Cutting the chicken into two-inch strips, adding the seasoning and watching it sizzle on the stove. These things are so much better when there is someone else to appreciate them.Someone to remark how well-spiced the meat is or how crisp the vegetables.
It’s so easy to go out these days. There is a restaurant on every corner, fast food, authentic food, fine dining and depending on where you live, delivery of every sort. So why would anyone want to submit themselves to cooking a meal only they will know the taste of? That hour it takes to prepare and cook, an hour that could be spent doing anything else.All those dishes to clean and put away when you could just toss the paper wrapper your deli sandwich came in.
It costs less, sure. If you eat out every meal it’s probably going to end up running you close to thirty bucks a day.But if you want to eat well cooking for yourself, it’s not cheap either. It’s possible to subsist on ramen noodles alone. I went to college, I remember those days. It feels like that time has passed though, that to eat meagerly simply out of necessity is somehow un-American. It was the great Oscar Wilde who said “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” I agree.
It was a lot simpler when I had someone to cook for. I like cooking, the melding of ingredients, the pops and sizzles, the delicious smells wafting from the pan to my nose. More than that, I like having someone to taste it, someone to tell me that it’s the best Dijon chicken they’ve ever hand and by gum they love me to boot. How can I get excited about a dish that on its best day will never taste as good as the chicken from the Puerto Rican place down the street? They deliver too. They just don’t sell love there.
Dinnertime is a much lonelier time. Sitting in front of the television it’s also to easy to reminisce about sitting across from someone at a table instead, watching them chew with a smile and eyes beaming in your direction. Instead of savoring meals, now I shovel them as if I’m in a race to see if I can’t eat faster than the next commercial break. I have lost my grounding, that desire to enjoy eating as an intimate experience. I still like to eat, certainly, but there is something missing. And it’s not salt.