Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes
by Deborah Madison, Patrick McFarlin
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Entertaining at times when the author was describing quirky 'eat alone' food habits and background on what gave rise to them. Some good recipes, but nothing earth shattering. ( )
What a disappointment! I assumed this would be about what normal people eat when they eat alone, but it's all chefs and foodies. They use more ingredients in a solo dinner than I use for a dinner party...
This book looks beautiful. Its layout, the bright white dust jacket, the recipes (printed on pale green paper), and the comical illustrations by Patrick McFarlin are a feast for the eyes. The remaining contents, though, were disappointing to me.
This is a book which is divided into chapters which asked individuals what they eat when they are alone. Various people responded to this question, after which Deborah Madison created recipes for her readers to try out these very recipes. Some of the later chapters in the book had cute themes, such as men cooking for themselves, women learning to cook, and either trying to seduce a lover. However, I was sadly uninspired by most of them and consider this a cookbook that does not quite fit into my personal cookbook collection.
I made the recipe for Steamed Kale with Sesame Oil and Rice Wine Vinegar. My husband and I found it exceptionally good. I also made the recipe for Brooke's Chicken Fajitas with Black Beans. Then I ran out of recipes that I wanted to try. I'll now pass this book along to someone else who might get more out of it than I did.
This is a book you get for the stories at least as much as for the recipes, good as they may sometimes be.
The elation mixed with fear of moving out and being able to eat what you want - if you first cook it yourself. The relief of an occasional single meal with hardworking family men/women. And of course, the systematic single meals of the single, divorced or widowed. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes awful, sometimes just plain weird. It'll make you remember those weird concoctions you used to consume yourself - I suddenly wanted to make my "penne with purple sauce" again.
And there are recipes in there too. Sometimes little more than ideas, sometimes quite elaborate, always easy, usually tasty. And it will explain some basics as well.
All in all, a lovely book that I keep browsing in.
Summary: Deborah Madison is a cookbook author, and - along with her partner, artist Patrick McFarlin - they began interviewing their friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers on the title question: what do people eat when they're by themselves? They've taken the answers and organized them into sections - on patterns in men vs. women's answers, uniquely bizarre personal snacks, those who eat alone every day, etc. (And, bizarrely, a chapter on meals to make when you're trying to seduce someone into sleeping with you so you no longer have to eat alone.) They've also taken several of the foods that were described to them in each chapter, and turned them into actual recipes... all the time stressing that when you eat alone, you only have yourself to please.
Review: I read this book because I absolutely loved Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, and I was looking for more of the same. And, while this book is on almost the exact same topic, it manages to come at it from a very different angle. While Alone in the Kitchen... was a collection of essays, some of them with a recipe, this read more like a cookbook with very extended (and moderately repetitive) introductions to each chapter. Not as interesting or fulfilling a reading experience, but probably more practical.
Although really... not even all *that* practical. The problem is that this was written by a) a primarily vegetarian b) cookbook author, who c) lives in New Mexico. Hence, she makes a lot of assumptions about how, why, and what her audience cooks that isn't going to be true for a large chunk of the readership. For example, Madison generally disdains frozen vegetables as inferior, without acknowledging that in most of the country, people just can't pop by the farmer's market to pick out organic fresh vegetables in February. Similarly, as most of her friends that get interviewed are fellow foodies, it's just taken as read that at any given time, a reader will have three kinds of fancy-pants cheese, artisanal bread, heirloom tomatoes, shrimp, ripe avocados, and fresh herbs on hand.
There's also a latent sexism present here that set my teeth on edge. There's a tone to a lot of the chapters where it's assumed that whenever women are cooking for one, it's because we've finally gotten a break from striving to please our husbands and families, but for men, eating alone is a valid lifestyle choice. (Including the use of the word "batcheloring" - or even more obnoxiously, "batching" - to refer to eating alone. Blech.) Overall, I wound up skimming a lot of the narrative, but it did give me some new dinner ideas, and it inspired me to be a little bit more adventurous with some of my cooking - after all, if something comes out horribly, no one will know... and that's why I keep a bag of tater tots in the freezer. 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: For people who like cookbooks, this would be an interesting browse, but I'd recommend getting it from the library - I don't know that the recipes are enough to make it worth owning when there are so many dedicated quick-and-easy one-person cookbooks out there. For people who are looking for good food writing on the subject of solitary dining, however... I'd recommend Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, instead.
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (2)
Renowned vegetarian cookbook auhor Deborah Madison set out to learn what people chew on when there isn't anyone else around. The responses are surprising--and we aren't just talking take-out or leftovers. This is food-gone-wild in its most elemental form. In a conversational tone, What We Eat When We Eat Aloneexplores the joys and sorrows of eating solo and gives a glimpse into the lives of everyday people and their relationships with food. The book is illustrated with the delightful art of Patrick McFarlin, and each chapter ends with recipes for those who dine alone.
No library descriptions found.
Amazon Kindle (0 editions)
Audible (0 editions)
CD Audiobook (0 editions)
Project Gutenberg (0 editions)
Google Books — Loading...
Melvil Decimal System (DDC)641.561 — Technology and Application of Knowledge Home and family management Food And Drink Cooking, cookbooks Cooking, Specialized Situations Cooking for Singles, Couples
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.