Some Housekeeping Items, Or How To Cook For One

So you’re following the blog (you are, aren’t you?), excited to be fixing awesome, easy-to-prepare food for one, and you’re thinking “This is great, this is grand, I OWN this town!” Well, okay, maybe not that last part, but anyway, after our meatloaf and mashed cauliflower dinner, I can imagine that you’re ready for just about anything. And you should be. But there are a couple of things we should discuss up front, and then we’ll be prepared for taking our culinary talents on the road. Real quick, then.

Measuring. To start with, eating for one is gonna take some measuring that we’re not used to. All of these recipes for two or four or more use wholes and halves of teaspoons and eggs and onions and such. We’ll do just fine, but we’ll have to get resourceful about it. What I’d like to do is to suggest buying some measuring spoons that go beyond your usual sizes, including 1/8 tsp, 1/16 tsp and 1/32 tsp. These cost about $5 on various online sites, and they’re helpful for our purposes, but they’re not totally necessary, if you’re comfortable relying on your fingers to do the walking. Most measuring spoon sets come with 1/8 tsp, so put some salt in one, pour it in your hand, and then see if your fingers would need one or two pinches to pick it all up. Whatever it is, then just divide it in half for the other measurements.

For example, two pinches = 1/8 tsp, one pinch = 1/16 tsp, and one half pinch = 1/32 tsp.

This is especially helpful when we’re baking, because biscuits and cornbread and cookies will need a tiny bit of things like baking soda or baking powder or salt. So, if you can get the spoons, that’s great, but if not, try the pinch test.

Eggs. There are two ways to divide a beaten egg. You can beat it, then measure it into a spoon or a measuring cup, because yes, we will need to do that from time to time. Or, you can buy egg substitute and measure it out straight from the carton. This may change the consistency and color of some of our baked goods, but no real worries here. This may be easier than beating the egg for you, and that’s okay. If you choose the beating method, and store the rest of the egg in a covered container (I use baggies over the top of my mug), it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, which is awesome in my book.

Onions and other vegetables. Frozen or fresh. They’re easy to measure, and the frozen actually contain more intact vitamins and minerals than the fresh do if they’re not just picked before they hit the store shelves. But both of them beat cans hands down. Canned vegetables are pre-measured, so we get what they give, and the good stuff inside them is cooked into oblivion, so there’s very little in the way of nourishment. Canned greens (collard, spinach, kale, mustard) may be the exception to this, as their vitamins seem to be made of weapons-grade titanium, but you get the picture. Seriously, canned veggies are better than nothing, but not by much.

Cooking. The oven will work just fine, and you may find that cooking for one cuts down on the amount of time needed to bake the stuff you’re making. Toaster ovens are also good, but keep an eye on them, as temps in these machines seem to be more estimated than confirmed. Microwave if you like it, and whenever you want. Microwaves do some things just fine, and they take less energy, create less heat, and cook wildly faster. If you have a convection oven, then I want your job. Also, while we’re on the subject, ramekins are a great way to bake some of these things (cupcakes, cornbread, muffins) for one. These are available at local stores, too, just make sure they’re oven safe. Otherwise, your regular cookware will work just fine.

Alright, that should get us going, anyway. So glad you’re coming along for the ride (ahem, because you’re following the blog, right?). I’m going to make this as easy and painless as possible, because frankly, I’m lazy, but I like good food.

On to more recipes!

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