Dining solo is a phenomenon that spans generations: There’s no denying cooking for one is a hot topic. The Food52 column “Table for One” includes recipes and musings about cooking for one, and The Washington Post captured the challenges of cooking for yourself when you have roommates. The Wall Street Journal published an article about companies catering to single-person households (a departure from generations of family-focused product development). The New York Times has reported on the many facets of the cooking for one trend, positioning it as a joyful act of self-care, and in a recent article discussed the challenges of cooking that many new widows face.
Builds on the strengths of bestselling The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook: Cooking for One takes the smaller-serving concept a step further by addressing the many challenges of cooking for yourself that go beyond finding scaled recipes. With an emphasis on reducing food waste, it’s full of for-one shopping strategies, guidelines about ingredients to always have on hand, and tips for repurposing leftovers.
Flexible, improvisational style reflects the less-rigid way people cook for themselves: “Kitchen Improv” boxes offer suggestions for customizing recipes, including “Make it Vegetarian” or “Make it a Meal” to make a side the main event, as well as ingredient swaps to accommodate whatever you have on hand. The ingredient list itself is flexible—we list a few options for ingredients like herbs, nuts, or cheeses.
Features in each chapter teach a cooking for one skill: Our sauces and spice rubs spread gives you scaled-down recipes for finishing elements that brighten up simpler meals. “Clean out your Fridge Soups,” an educational recipe spread, breaks down the components of a soup so you can use whatever you have on hand. And “Better Brown Bagging” gives tips like keeping a tiny bottle of olive oil at your desk and the best way to build a sandwich to ensure it doesn’t get soggy by lunchtime.
“It can be hard to find a cookbook that caters to people who cook and eat alone, but the pros at America’s Test Kitchen — known for testing and retesting their recipes to perfection — have come out with an excellent one. It includes lots of easy and easily adaptable small-batch recipes, such as Fastest-Ever Carbonara and Clean Out Your Fridge Soup (there’s even a recipe for making just two gooey chocolate chip cookies). They often suggest good substitutions in case you’re missing an ingredient, and offer a leftover storage guide to prevent food waste. Some of their super-simple dishes — pan-seared shrimp or cheddar omelets, for instance — can be jazzed up using recipes for sauces and spice mixes, also included in this essential cookbook.”—AARP
“Cooking for One is a scrappy collection of recipes that coax a little celebration from the slog of solo cookery. America’s Test Kitchen recipes can be – and I say this with love – neurotically specific. This book applies that same rigor but encourages improvisation: swap half a bell pepper for a zucchini, if that’s what’s rattling around your crisper drawer. You’ll also find a whole philosophy of solo dining, from shopping hacks to leftover strategies. It’s a cookbook-shaped reminder to make time for yourself, specifically: the 15 minutes it takes to make a legitimately luxurious single-serving apple crisp in the microwave.”—NPR, All Things Considered
“I’m recommending the book ’Cooking for One’ by America’s Test Kitchen. I have been a single person for a lot of this pandemic. And like a lot of people, I’ve been cooking a bunch. And cooking for one can just be depressing…So I’ve read a few cookbooks that are sort of like cooking for one oriented, and they are all great. But what I like about this one is it’s almost like an entire system of cooking. They have tips on how to shop for ingredients…They have cool ideas for how to freeze and reuse things. It’s just lots of tips and kind of recipes that are specifically designed to be not a total pain in the butt, but also kind of exciting enough that they’re better than just getting takeout and eating it over the sink, which is sometimes the alternative when you’re a single person.”—Connor Donevan, Producer for the show All Things Considered, NPR