Cooking for One
In a world of isolating and cocooning, many people find themselves in the predicament of having to cook for themselves. While cooking for one is often a pleasure (you can make whatever you want to eat), it can also be a challenge. Cooking for small numbers is more of a way of thinking and planning over specific recipes, while certain recipes obviously suit small batches better, which a little thought and planning, you will find you can still cook whatever you enjoy. A few things to consider are:
Buying: When you are buying, it is best to get familiar with pay by weight ingredients, deli counter options and butcher or fishmonger counters, while you may pay a little extra on the price per kilo over pre-packaged goods, unless you know you will use all of the prepacked, chances are it is better value to buy exactly what you need. Buying your vegetables individually is especially beneficial as they tend to be the most perishable and we are all guilty of throwing far too many fruits and vegetables away no matter how good we try to be to use them up. Try not to overbuy quantities.
Leftovers: Between freezing leftovers for another day, or reinventing leftovers into something else, this is a real key to cooking for one, some of use cooking for one may not be used to it, It might just be engrained in ours minds to always have that bit extra on, just in case. Before you throw any leftovers away, consider what can be done with them, there is very little in the kitchen that can’t be reused one way or another. If you are struggling for inspiration, google some options of what to do with your items, for example leftover potatoes can be used for soups, mash, fish cakes, baking, pasta etc. or leftover meats can be incorporated to any dish in place of raw. Leftovers can be raw produce or a prepared meal, be sure to cool, store and label prepared foods properly.
For more on food safety see: https://www.fsai.ie/faqs/temperature_control.html and https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/health/food_safety/food_safety_in_the_home.html#
Cookware: If you are struggling to lower your quantities when cooking out of habit, try using smaller versions of cookware. Use an omelette pan (20cm) instead of a larger frying pan, invest in a small cast iron casserole dish, use smaller saucepans over the bigger ones. Also consider checking average serving sizes of foods.
Don’t overthink the recipes: you can cook anything you enjoy; it doesn’t have to be specific recipes for one. Just consider the buying and use of the leftovers and you will never go too far wrong.