My husband--a physician--is on call at least one night a week, which means, of course, that I might not see him until the next morning, when I roll over and realize that sometime during the night, he crept in between the covers. It also means that at least one night a week, I usually eat alone.
Last night was one of those nights. Hubs called around 7pm and alerted me that he was waist deep in work--he's thoughtful that way. I said I'd leave his dinner in the fridge. After hanging up, I lovingly made him a sandwich wrap with hummus, turkey, fontina, bibb lettuce and thin slices of red bell pepper. I cut it in half, put it on a plate with some juicy red grapes, covered it in plastic wrap, and placed it neatly in the refrigerator.
And then I ate a slightly over-ripe tomato, a tennis ball-sized scoop of cottage cheese (salted and peppered to death) and a glass of wine. And called it dinner.
This made me think of a book I just finished, called What We Eat When We Eat Alone, by Deborah Madison.
In Madison's book, which I found delightful, she learned a lot about the down and dirty stuff we eat when we eat alone. She also, interestingly enough, learned that men and women eat very different things when alone. Women, in particular, are loathe to cook for themselves. They eat leftovers, or cereal, or cookie dough. Although there are many reasons for this (hello? a night OFF from making dinner!) the reason that made me stop in my tracks was: Some women don't bother cooking for themselves because deep down, they don't really feel that they're worth the effort.
Bingo. But ICK! I don't like that reason at all, and yet that's my reflection looking right back at ya.
I'll painstakingly make my husband a yummy and healthy dinner, stow it away for him to eat when he gets home, and then eat dreck. And part of it's because it's no fun to cook for one, and part of it's because I am a lazy slob, and part of it's because I'm too cheap to throw away the stupid tomato that's thisclose to growing fuzz on it.
But part of it, if I'm honest, is because I figure: eh, it's just me, no need to bother.
If you need any further urging to read the book, consider the following passage:
People told us, though not nearly as often as we would have expected, that when left alone in their own kitchens, they resorted to eating cereal for dinner. A little cloud of shame seems to hover around the cereal eaters, as if they know they really could do better and perhaps should try...
Great stuff, right? And it's hysterical (and sometimes gag-inducing) to read what human beings feast on when nobody's there to scoff.
So without further ado, I will confess to my most popular go-to dinners when there are no witnesses. Well, our cat, Harryboy knows, but he's not talking.
-a bowl of steaming basmati rice, topped with chopped tomato and slivers of red onion, topped with shards of very strong bleu cheese, salted and peppered. Sometimes with a drizzle of balsamic.
-bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado (the microwave thick-cut bacon, so don't go getting all impressed that I fried up fresh bacon) on a toasted english muffin
-any leftover about to go bad in the next day
-pimiento-jalapeno cheese from Whole Foods on toasted english muffin, topped with a tomato
-my comfort food: a big bowl of Uncle Ben's converted rice, buttered and salted to death
All kinda nasty and a little sad, but mine all the same. And now, brave readers, please share your own, if you dare. What do you eat--or have eaten in the past--when nobody was there to bear witness? I promise to laugh only a little.
*** Giveaway alert!*** If you post a comment/confession below, you will be eligible to win a 1-year subscrption to Everyday Food Magazine, courtesy of TKW! I really like this magazine because the recipes are simple, fresh and delicious. And maybe, just maybe, you might not be stuck eating cereal for dinner again!