From the legendary editor of some of the world’s greatest cooks—including Julia Child and James Beard—a passionate and practical book about the joys of cooking for one.
Here, in convincing fashion, Judith Jones demonstrates that cooking for yourself presents unparalleled possibilities for both pleasure and experimentation: you can utilize whatever ingredients appeal, using farmers’ markets and specialty shops to enrich your palate and improve your health; you can feel free to fail, since a meal for one doesn’t have to be perfect; and you can use leftovers to innovate—in the course of a week, the remains of beef bourguignon might be reimagined as a ragù, pork tenderloin may become a stir-fry, a cup or two of wild rice produces both a refreshing pilaf and a rich pancake, and red snapper can be reinvented as a summery salad. It’s a fulfilling and immensely economical process, one perfectly suited for our times—although, as Jones points out, cooking for one also means we can occasionally indulge ourselves in a favorite treat.
Throughout, Jones is both our instructor and our mentor, suggesting basic recipes—such as tomato sauce, preserved lemons, pesto, and homemade stock—that all cooks should have on hand; teaching us how to improvise using an ingenious strategy of building meals through the week; and supplying us with a lifetime’s worth of tips and shortcuts. From Child’s advice for buying fresh meat to Beard’s challenge to beginning crêpe-makers and Lidia Bastianich’s tips for cooking perfectly sauced pasta, Jones’s book presents a wealth of acquired knowledge from our finest cooks.
The Pleasures of Cooking for One is a vibrant, wise celebration of food and enjoying our own company from one of our most treasured cooking experts.
Longtime Knopf editor and executive Jones follows up her recent food memoir with this civilized, unfussy guide to cooking and cooking well for solitary diners, for those... who want to roll up sleeves and enjoy, from day to day, one of the great satisfactions of life. Forming and revising cooking strategy is a cornerstone of her digressive, folksy approach, so she provides lists of equipment deemed essential, suggestions for dealing with packaging that coerces individuals into buying and then wasting more than necessary, and tips for storing spoilage-prone foods. Her other key to enjoying cooking while reducing the costs of eating is flexibility. She shares her personal credo about culinary language and exactness, and with many protein-based dishes includes ideas for variations and second and third rounds, as she refers to leftovers. She doesn't skip desserts, entertaining or self-indulgence, and best of all, her whole book benefits from the diverse and cumulative gleanings of work with many of the great cooks and cookbook writers (including Julia Child, of course) of the latter half of the 20th century.