Serve Yourself: If you live alone, you probably need this book.

If I had to describe myself in two words it would be: cookbook whore. They’ve taken over my house; spilling off the bookshelves and tripping me up in the hall. The book beside my loo is by Jamie Oliver, the one beside my bed is by Kylie Kwong. Too often I fall asleep with my face flat in a cookbook lusting over foods that I shall never cook. And this is the problem. I could justify my habit if I actually used the damn things but there is often very little in them that is cook-able for me.
I had high hopes for Delia Smith´s “One Is Fun!” , but it was written in the 70’s when Delia was wearing dodgy frilly collared shirts and cooking things like kipper kedgeree. And I really thought “The Pleasures of Cooking For One” would get me out of my food rut, but although it’s worth its cover price for the cheese souffle alone, somehow it’s just ended up a dust magnet.
But I think “Serve Yourself” by Joe Yonan is going to change things.
Anyone who gives Tacos, Eggs and Pizza their own chapters is someone I’d like to be friends with. He understands where the single cook is coming from, and doesn’t just give recipes but also a bunch of actually useful tips. Like how to eat alone in French restaurants. And what to do with all the odds and ends that inevitably lurk at the back of the singleton´s fridge.
– Half  bottle of wine?  Mulled wine syrup!
-Limp stick of celery? Stick it in a glass of water and it´ll cheer up in no time.
If I was to give it one criticism it would be that it doesn´t mention equipment; I think it´s really worth buying one or two smaller pans for single sized portions.
Being the lazy bugger that I am the only recipe I´ve made so far is the Long Slow Custardy Eggs. It’s not much of a recipe really, you just throw a lump of butter into a bain marie and then scramble eggs in it. Cooking eggs for 2 this way took me less than 20 minutes so it’s not as painfully slow as you’d think. And although these were good scrambled eggs, I’d be lying if I used superlatives, they’re just really good honest scrambled eggs.
But here´s some other stuff from the book:
Homesick Texan made his Pastoral Tacos,
 Jane Black made his Duck Breast Tacos with Plum Salsa
One Response to “Serve Yourself: If you live alone, you probably need this book.”
  1. Maddie says:

    I don’t miss much about living in Washington, D.C., but Joe Yonan is one of the city’s gems. He writes for the Washington Post and runs amazing live Web chats every week for the Travel and Food sections…you should definitely check them out.

    I haven’t actually looked at his cookbook yet, though (clearly an oversight). Thanks for the great review, Debs!

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