Monday, May 6, 2013

In Grief, The Challenge of Cooking for One

Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics, with hundreds of cooks from many countries ardently competing. But we who hate to cook have had our own Olympics for years, seeing who can get out of the kitchen the fastest and stay out the longest. ~ Peg Bracken, The I Hate to Cook Book 

A reader writes: Since my husband was retired on permanent disability, he took over the shopping and cooking many years ago. Now mind you I do know how to cook, but when I cooked it was for two adults and two children.
Now, since my husband has passed, I have found myself eating and cooking and buying a lot of crap as I hate to go through all the bother just for me. I am so tired when I get home from work, the last thing I want to start doing is cooking for just myself. But now I find I am gaining weight and just not eating healthy. I was hoping for some suggestions. For those of us who now have to eat and cook alone, what do we do? 

My response: This same question has been raised in the online Grief Healing Discussion Groups that I moderate. I’d like to share with you some of the creative ideas shared by some of our members:

“My husband was on disability and loved to do the grocery shopping ~ Yay! But it's been over two years and I feel I've got it down for me. First, I do cook more most of the time because I freeze a meal for my son and bring it up to him once a month and he likes Mom's cooking. But mostly I just buy the meat or whatever, divide it, and freeze what portions I'm not going to cook. On the weekends my daughter does much the same thing, she has two in her family, sometimes three when her daughter is home. She has more time on the weekends so she shops, divides it up, freezes, maybe cooks some things and freezes them and off she goes. It takes a little extra work but it also is money saving because a lot of the time you pay less for buying in at Costco.”

“I have two to cook for and it is still difficult not to cook too much. On some things like stew or soups, I like to cook a bunch and have leftovers for lunch or another dinner. “

“Since my husband is gone I now only have to cook for myself and two little ones, one who is very picky and does not eat much variety. I have a vacuum sealer and I make large quantities and freeze the leftovers for other days. It really comes in handy when you are tired and just do not feel like cooking. You just freeze it in quantities enough for one meal.”

“I lost weight when my spouse died and then gained it all back plus because I just didn't care about anything. I am now trying to get my health back in order. I commute a long way and am gone at least 12 hours a day, so when I get home I am too tired to care much what I eat. However, I've found if I don't have junk around to eat, I HAVE to eat what's there, so it helps if I keep it healthy. It helps to keep salads made up in the refrigerator to help yourself to, and meat that has been divvied up into small portions that you can quickly cook. Or you can cook something, divide it up and freeze it and then take one out and pop it in the microwave. I do most of my cooking on the weekends and like to eat leftovers during the week. I try to eat lunch out at Subway when I go so I can keep it healthy. Weekdays for breakfast I usually have wholegrain toast with natural peanut butter or I eat oatmeal and then have the whole hashbrown and egg thing on weekends. Fruit makes a good snack too! Yogurt is good to keep on hand also.”

“I make stuff in a crock pot and then I know I will have a few days of dinner. I love it that when I come home from work everything is ready to eat.”

In addition, here are some Cooking for One websites you may find helpful:

20 Cooking for One Tips

Microwave Cooking for One

PBS Food Cooking for One Recipes

Cooking for One: Tips, Recipes and Thoughts for the Solo Cook

10 Tips on Cooking for One

Quick and Easy Dinners for One Recipes

The Dinner Party: Life After Loss 

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below. If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here.

Image Source: Wooden Earth Cutlery

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for providing this list or resources! I will share the link to your article with my subscribers. They get the "Peaceful Evenings / Food For The Journey" report addressing the psychological aspects of this - I'm glad you have addressed the more practical aspects of it.


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