I’ve heard a lot of people say this, and some of them love to cook, or are cooks for their families. When it comes to cooking for themselves though, they will otherwise not bother with cooking. Some of you reading this might feel the same way. I’m actually here to interject my viewpoint, which is opposite of this one:
I don’t like cooking for anyone else BUT me.
Don’t get me wrong; when it comes to those of you that love cooking for others, I get it. There’s nothing that makes a cook feel more accomplished than seeing the food you made for someone devoured with delight, gratitude, and thorough enjoyment… and they ask you for seconds. I live in a family of picky eaters, and I never get tired of seeing them fight over what I made because of how much they like it. I have a friend that says that she loves cooking for people because it’s one way that she can show affection and love for the object (or objects) of said affection. It’s a way for her to care for the person and be nurturing.
While I do understand all of this, hear me out for just a moment.
I have my reasons why I like to cook for myself. First of all, I’m greedy. If I know I made something amazing, I want to be like the lion that gets to eat as much as he wants first, and then lets everyone else share what remains. When you’re cooking for hungry people, whether it’s your family on a weeknight or all your family on Thanksgiving, you don’t get the opportunity to bask in your awesome cooking prowess. Maybe it’s a good thing I can’t do this, because I would be quite fat… with more than a few chins, and a butt that looks like this:
But it would be nice to enjoy my cooking without having to fight with the rest of the family for a decent portion.
The other fabulous thing about cooking for oneself is that you don’t have to consider anyone else’s preferences but yours. Any other reasons that I would bother to list will branch from this one.
You don’t have to worry about the need to cook if you aren’t hungry yet, nor do you have to be concerned with keeping out certain ingredients because your husband/mom/children/sister won’t eat it. You can cook as much or as little as you like and, for that matter, what you like. If you like mushrooms but never get to eat them, and you happen upon that rare occasion when no one is home but you, relish it! Buy up every mushroom you can get your hands on, and put them in a dish that’s all for you! Consider it the (insert your name here) special. If you like your food with extra heat, make sure that your self-made delicacy is chock full of Sriracha… or whatever your favourite heat additive is. This whole reason here, folks, is the reason I love cooking for myself.
That sound selfish, and it is. I’ve spent a good portion of my life not trying new things, including new foods. I don’t want to spend any more of my life not eating what I want to eat and when I want to eat it. I made a promise to myself: if I’m only allowed so many calories in one day, I don’t want to waste them eating stuff I don’t feel like eating… which kind of goes with the “eat what & when you want” thing. There are plenty of times I’ve eaten things I didn’t feel like eating because it’s what my family wanted.
I don’t know how to explain it, but when you eat something just to be eating, you do this:
and don’t feel satisfied.
But… when you eat that thing that you’ve been wanting, whether it’s duck à l’orange or a grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of apple juice, it leaves you feeling like this:
Tonight was one such night where I had the privilege of making what I felt like making. It wasn’t extravagant by anyone else’s estimation, but it happened to be a meal that made the best of some ingredients that were left over. Using a bit of some homemade pesto that I made recently as well as some (almost) forgotten potatoes, an onion that was about to sprout, and some garlic cloves, I made breakfast for dinner. While I did have breakfast for dinner yesterday, I had pancakes yesterday.
Tonight, I had: a sandwich with scrambled eggs (seasoned with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes), bacon, and a smear of some of the pesto. Along with that, I made home fries from some potatoes that we had sitting around, the aforementioned onion, and 2 big garlic cloves. I had leftovers from the home fries, but what was nice was not having to fight my family for the initial helping (yep, I was being greedy. It’s fun to do once in a while when making your favourite thing). It’s good that they love my home fries so much that they’ll fight over it, but I’m not the competitive type… unless I’m playing sports.
It was a fairly simple dinner, and I’m proud of myself for not letting those stray ingredients go to waste.
I rented out a book a while ago by Judith Jones called “The Pleasures of Cooking For One.” She, too, understood how gratifying it can be to cook for an audience of one… and that audience was herself. Now, I’m not arguing against cooking for your loved ones at all. I’m more arguing for the idea of treating yourself for a change. It can be just as meaningful to cook for yourself as it can be to cook for your loved ones; just choose to look at it differently.
Read the book when you get a chance. The recipes were good… and I often don’t read intros in books, but I read all of the one in that book.