Cooking for one is the single person's dread. The effort... oh... the effort... But statistics show more people are single than ever before. Being solo and cooking for one shouldn't take the joy out of something that should be fun. Thanks to cool markets - and.... wait for it... Instagram... singles are taking back the kitchen. Are you single? Here are some tips to make cooking for one, easy and fun.
1. Get on Instagram
2. Create a Cooking Bucket-List
Create a list of all the dishes you want to learn and make. Consider it a cooking bucket-list. Every month (or for the devoted foodie, every week!) check a new dish off the list. Make sure to circle back every now and again, so you feel confident making your favourite dishes on a whim.
3. Practice Technique
When you're cooking for just yourself, you have an opportunity to practice technique. Stronger technique (think knife skills, braising, roasting...) will allow you to cook more efficiently and have a diversity of dishes you can have in your culinary arsenal.
4. Buy Some New Dishes
They say you eat with your eyes first, and it's true. When you make a meal and it looks beautiful, it's an even bigger sense of accomplishment. Head out to your local kitchen store or hit up antique markets to find unique dishes for plating.
5. Invest in Quality and Fun Storage Containers
Leftovers are king when you're cooking for one person. Invest in quality storage containers to ensure your leftovers last and are safely stored. We recommend glass containers. They easily go from fridge to freezer to microwave and if you're looking to save some time with the dishes, they're nice to eat from, as well.
6. Store Fresh Herbs
Herbs make a significant difference in a recipe. If you skip picking up fresh Rosemary because you're afraid it'll spoil by the time you use it all, we have a solution. Freeze them! Many herbs are fabulous even when frozen, including common herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Parsley, Chives, Kaffir Lime Leaves, and more. Don't skimp on quality ingredients, just be smart about saving them to use in the future.
7. Explore Local Markets
Visiting local markets makes cooking an even bigger adventure. Whether you explore your local Asian market or just spend more time perusing your usual grocery store, spend time getting to know new (and common!) ingredients. It adds to the fun of cooking for one.
8. Research, Compare, Experiment
Cooking on your own gives you time to research. It allows you to experiment without consequences of ruining dinner for your date. Research different recipes, compare ones that seem to use different ingredients. Taste, taste and taste. When you're cooking for one, take your time and experiment with flavours and measurements.
9. Make a Day of It!
Make yourself a nice cocktail and make it a full day event. Or perhaps take an at-home cooking class with The Chef & The Dish and video conference a chef from around the world to join you. Whatever you choose, make it an event you plan and anticipate.
10. Find Your Inner Photographer
You put all that effort in, so make sure to capture your meal! Stage your food photos with good lighting, and interesting props like napkins, wine glasses, wood boards and ingredients.
11. Post Your Food Pics
It's not about likes or comments, but it certainly can add to the fun when cooking for one. Post your solo dinner pictures for the world to see, tag a friend and tell them they need to come over next time, or simply keep track of the diverse set of meals you've made.
12. Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan
A common frustration when cooking for yourself is having to buy larger quantities of ingredients that may spoil. We can't say this enough - meal plan! Planning breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week allows you to take note of the ingredients you need, and what you'll have leftover that will need to be used up. If you need to buy romaine lettuce for a salad on Tuesday, make sandwiches on Wednesday and perhaps Friday, treat yourself to Chicken Lettuce wraps.
13. Buy in Bulk, then Individually Portion
Buying in larger quantities often saves money, but what to do with so much bread? We like to portion bread into smaller servings. This way, we can remove the portion from the freezer, while keeping the rest in tact. Whether you're portioning salmon, bread, or even canned beans - it allows you to purchase larger sizes and keep the rest for later.
Virtual Cooking Classes with Chefs Around the World
Cook with a chef from around the world (Italy! Thailand! Hungary!) - all without leaving your kitchen! Skype a chef into your home for a great date-night in, girls get-together, gift for someone you love, or just a gift to yourself.
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