Living Alone Doesn’t Automatically Doom You to TV Dinners and Take Out

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Anyone who has spent over a week home alone, let alone lived on their own, is aware of the ominous question, “What’s for dinner?” This question becomes more exhausting for those who work full-time and only walk in the door after 7pm on a regular basis…like me. So, the easy thing to do, which is really a cop-out, is to stock up on frozen dinners and call up the corner Chinese hang-out as soon as the train stops. While this may save time and energy, it costs in the long run three different ways –

  1. a person’s wallet as these “meals” are exponentially more expensive than the ingredients used to make them,
  2. a person’s health as frozen meals are packed with sodium preservatives and the nutritional content of take-out food is nearly impossible to calculate, and
  3. a person’s overall quality of life.

Now while the first two are obvious to most thanks to the plethora of books, morning show segments, and Dr. Oz articles, the third “cost” may seem as obscure to most. How can people’s saving time and energy, their most valuable assets, cost them their overall quality of life? Allow me to reintroduce a quote from Food52, one that sums up what “cooking” does for humans in a way that cannot be beat.

If you cook, your family will eat dinner together. If you cook, you will naturally have a more sustainable household. If you cook, you’ll set a lifelong example for your children. If you cook, you’ll understand what goes into your food and will eat more healthy. If you cook, you’ll make your home an important place in your life. If you cook, you’ll make others happy. If you cook, people will remember you. (http://www.food52.com/home/about_food52)

To the population of Americans who believe those words to be the Utopian philosophy of a bunch of yuppies cooking and blogging from their eco-friendly offices, allow me to emphasize their point by simply adding a few words to each of those above claims.

If you don’t cook, your family may not eat together. If you don’t cook, you will have to work harder for a sustainable household. If you don’t cook, you will set a lifelong example for your children, just one you may not like. If you don’t cook, you will not understand what goes into your food and will not eat more healthy. If you don’t cook, you’ll make a restaurant a more important place in your life compared to your home. If you don’t cook, you won’t experience the joy of pleasing the hearts and bellies of others. If you don’t cook, people may remember you– but how many of your memories have been associated with food?

While I will be the first to say that there are many instances to justify eating a convenient meal or going out for dinner, that is not what I, nor Amanda and Merrill of Food52, am addressing here. A person who maintains the skills of cooking meals at home, even when living alone, translates into cooking at home once they have a family or a house full of guests. If you are a person who has the skill set and motivation to come home after a long day and still prepare a fresh salad with grilled chicken, Mossman curry shrimp, or a veggie tuna wrap, then you are a person who has the skill set and motivation to prepare a meal for your best friends on a Saturday afternoon or your beloved soon-to-be husband or wife (because believe it or not men can put an apron on too!). Like with anything, practice is what leads to success at life’s select momentous moments.

At this point, I have romanticized you on the glory of cooking, but have failed to offer tools on how to put this into practice. Never to be a hypocrite, I promise to only offer advice that has worked for me the last four months of living solo. With that said, I plan to offer a weekly “Delectable Recipe on the Fly” – a recipe that can be ready in thirty minutes or less with things that can already be in your kitchen. Additionally, I will include advice on ingredients to buy at your local store, how to cook in bulk, and ways to cut corners without compromising your health or your wallet. Now, try telling me that you’re not a believer?

Photos Courtesy of

Home Alone pic – http://www.iamtypecast.com/2011/02/home-alone.html

“What’s for dinner?” – http://stacysrandomthoughts.com/2011/08/whats-for-dinner-aloha-friday-follow-fun/

Believe – http://ipfinance.blogspot.com/2011/01/do-you-believe-in-retainer-fees-for-ip.html

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