Let’s face it—cookbooks aren’t the friendliest to solo diners. Recipes are always made for at least two people, and we get it. It’s more economical, since you can’t always buy ingredients per piece anyway. But cooking for one is a reality for many people; and not just out of necessity. Some cook as an escape, others as a creative outlet. Recipe developer Linda Tubby explores this side of cooking in her cookbook “Solo: Inspirational Cooking for One.” Here, she has created and compiled imaginative recipes, divided based on how much time you’re willing to carve out for your meal.
Cooking for yourself is the most satisfying part of self-nurture; when thought and care are given to the process, from shopping for ingredients to preparing a meal, you can take great pleasure in eating the results.
Our COO Ange received the cookbook for Christmas. So she came to the studio and made larb, a minced meat salad from Laos and Northern Thailand. “It seemed simple and quick… and I wanted to have something [like that] in my arsenal for potluck dinners or meals.”
There were no issues finding the ingredients for the dish. But cooking came with some technical challenges—which was neither Ange’s nor the recipe’s fault. Larb is meant to cooked on high heat to really incorporate all the flavors into the meat. Unfortunately, the burner Ange was using was running out of gas, so she ended up steaming the pork instead of stir-frying it. “The liquid didn’t evaporate so all the flavor went to the liquid, which was thrown out anyway.” (Lesson here is to always make sure your stove/oven/toaster can handle whatever you’re cooking.)
Nevertheless, the dish was still delicious. There’s a medley of textures present, from the toasted rice to the nuts. That said, Ange said she’ll probably do without the nuts the next time she makes this recipe. “I get that it adds texture, but the saltiness/roasted-ness of the peanuts will most likely get lost in the other flavors, so if it’s just for texture, hard pass.” She’ll also add more chili, and maybe even some green papaya; she can even serve them in lettuce cups for a party.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s something you can play around with. And that rings true in many of the dishes in Solo. As Ange said, “it’s a super helpful cookbook because the recipes are [only] one serving [each], so it’s easy to keep trying different stuff.”