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There's a particular culinary phenomenon that only occurs with us single folks: not wanting to go to the trouble of cooking only for ourselves. Working in churches, I often chat with wonderful women who cooked all the time for most of their lives, but now that it's just them, they don't want to cook anymore. This makes sense in a lot of ways...it's certainly fun to cook for someone and eating alone can be a daunting thing after being so used to company at mealtimes. There are also people a bit closer to my age who just happen to be single and find cooking to be way too much trouble and recipes only geared for family cooking (i.e. "serves 4-6").
To both groups of people, I share a bit of wisdom from my great friend Ashley. We were having a discussion (via text, actually...which is sometimes my generation's version of a heart-to-heart), and I was saying that I was cleaning house for my friend coming to visit. I commented that I only seem to really clean when I have a friend coming over. She concurred, and then said something profound: "I wish I'd be my own friend and clean just for myself!" As minister-folk tend to say, "that'll preach!"
The same could be said of cooking. Yes, it's a lot of effort to tailor recipes to a single portion. Yes, eating alone can be lonely and cooking can remind you of that fact. Yes, it can be more rewarding to cook for others than ourselves. But, you know what? You're worth cooking for, all by your lonesome. So, I encourage those of you who find yourselves flying solo, embrace it. Be your own friend, cook things only you like and make any regular weeknight special by treating yourself to a nice homemade meal.
I'll share my craving and creation tonight. It's really simple. As my random stream-of-consciousness would have it, it rained today, which of course reminded me of Belfast. I immediately craved tea and through a Facebook chat with a friend over in that wee dote of a town, champ was suggested for dinner. Champ is a staple of Irish cooking with (you guessed it), potatoes. It's essentially mashed potatoes with lots of scallions. But that thought reminded me of something I would make on particularly rainy, sleepy nights in Belfast. I would simply make some divine mashed potatoes with whatever yummy vegetables in them I felt like. (It helped that a green grocer stand was seconds from my door.) I'd also add a bit of bacon or proscuitto. I'd call that mashed masterpiece a meal, get a glass of wine and be all set for a little solo supper. Today's rain awoke that memory in me and so I decided to make it.
While those veggies were roasting, I chopped the potatoes in large pieces (I never peel potatoes when making mashed potatoes...I like the skin on them). I boiled them for about 15 minutes, until fork-tender.
...adding 3T of butter and about 1/3 cup of milk (but adjust as needed to get them as creamy as you want them). Now, dreamy fluffy mashed potatoes with roasted veggies in them are divine just on their own. But, I tend to think that bacon makes everything better.