Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Kitchen Reader - What We Eat When We Eat Alone

The January book for The Kitchen Reader group is What We Eat When We Eat Alone by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin. As the title suggests, this book examines the question of what people eat when they eat alone, and why.

The book is broken down into chapters which deal with different aspects of people eating alone, and explores issues such as differences between what men and women eat when dining alone, the reason for people's choices, their favourite dishes, and recipes for some of the dishes mentioned.

Unfortunately, I didn't really get into this book. I started reading it with great expectations, as the title would suggest it was a book written for someone like me, but ultimately, I found it as interesting as reading someone else's grocery list. I also didn't relate to the recipes - most of them were things that I would not dream of making. Perhaps this is because even though I often eat alone, I am more than happy to make myself a proper meal. Sure, I will often divide that meal into portions, freeze it and proceed to eat it for the next week, but I never feel the need to skimp on cooking for myself or to eat something gross and lacking in nutrition, in bed with my cat while I read a book just because I eat alone. OK, perhaps I am taking bits from the most extreme scenarios in this book and stringing them together, but I really didn't relate to what most of the people interviewed for this book ate alone. Maybe it's because I have never had to deal with the demands of regularly cooking for others, so I don't appreciate what a release it can be for people when they finally get a chance to eat alone. Whatever the reason, this book did not hit any chords with me.

To see what the other Kitchen Readers thought about this book, visit The Kitchen Reader blogroll.


Jennifer said...

I'm sorry that you didn't care for this book.

I really liked the funky illustrations.

Anonymous said...

Interesting book. I haven't read it but it's interesting that I do eat differently when I am alone. I guess it's because I don't have to cater for the need of my family and I can eat what I want.

Dharm said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Happy Belated Australia day!

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that you didn't hit it off with this book. I'm happy to hear that you aren't eating an unbalanced meal in your bed with your cat though :)

It's great that you cook for yourself and that you enjoy it. I like being alone in the kitchen, and if you're cooking for yourself, you can make exactly what you want.

Karen said...

I agree. I always cooked when I lived alone, and even now that I am married I still eat lunch by myself most weekdays. I definitely use it as an opportunity to make things just for me.
There were some crazy ideas in the book!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ahh I see! It sounds like it could have had lots of potential but yes if you don't relate then that's no good :(

Johanna GGG said...

interesting the different ideas people have of eating alone - I confess I do some of my worst experiments when by myself - cooking for someone else helps me - though I do cook healthier simpler meals when cooking for myself.

hope the book made you feel proud that you eat well for yourself and not for others

Peabody said...

Aw man, I just got this book. I wonder what I will think.

Anonymous said...

Interesting review, and now I'm intrigued about the book!
Personally, when I'm alone I dig around in the freezer for leftovers!