Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The chickens miss out...

I live alone,  and I cook meals for one.  It has been interesting, and I have even looked online for ideas about how to go about this.  For most of my life I have had huge households (six children and often unexpected extras) to cater for.  In many ways,  that is easier because there is a much greater margin of error.   The other problem is that the cooking ideas that I have found often cater for more than one, suggesting that I freeze leftovers for later.  Apart from the fact that frozen leftovers don't appeal to me, and are no better than other tinned, frozen or preserved options at the local shop,  I don't really think that this is a healthy option.  I have cooked a few meals that were surplus to requirements,  and the chickens have done well.  But these days thay are missing out.  I am cooking for one.

There seems to be a need for information about cooking for one.  With the increase in the prevalence of "single person households" here  (currently 30% and increasing) there would seem to be a need for "downsizing" our cooking means and methods.  Single person households also have a particular problem with the negative side of "economies of scale" that we are used to.  So where to from here....

There are bound to be some meals that are inapproprate (enormous roasts and spectacular puddings)  but I am willing to forgo those and I'd rather think about what single people have eaten in the past... when there were no take-away or frozen options and, most likely, ingredients were restricted to what was growing in the garden...  I imagine that the frugal lifestyle must have puzzled the people from larger households... even to the point of calling those single household residents witches.

Where to begin.... perhaps with breakfast.  I eat porridge every day.  It is inexpensive, healthy and easy to change the quantity.   I use 1/3 cup of rolled oats, one small pinch of salt, one pinch of cinnamon and, when it is almost cooked,  four dates cut and added to sweeten the mix.  I eat this with almond milk (made every two or three days, using 100gm of almonds) and I don't need any sugar.

This evening, for dinner,  I had risotto (after a hurried salad for lunch) and once again the amounts for a single serving are the issue.   I cook with a "stock" that is made with the peelings of garden vegetables and leftover salad ingredients.  (The stock pot is ongoing...
it is added to and used as necessary.)  But for the risotto,  I used onions, ginger,  1/3 cup of rice, and 2/3 cup of beans (broad beans from the garden) and stock from the saucepan.
Once the rice was almost cooked I added a small amount of grated parmesan cheese and cooked it for a little longer.
It was very good... and so much better than any re-heated leftovers or takeaway meal.

Dessert was another creme caramel... small, sweet and plenty.
My aim is to make precise sized meals that are good to eat, healthy and not dependent upon the takeaway shop.  
The difficulty with the smaller quantity is merely the greater accuracy needed in measuring quantities.  After years of "near enough is good enough"  I am having to measure ingredients much more accurately.  

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