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"The Pleasures of Cooking for One" by Judith Jones


violetfox
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I'm surprised that I can't find - maybe didn't search well - any comment on Judith Jones' "Cooking for One." This is a cookbook that I've been using a couple of days a week for months, and I'm delighted with it. Anyone else?

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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I have this one and another that came out about the same time 9it's in the other room - forgot the title). I read the recipes in both and they looked good. Haven't made any yet.

'A person's integrity is never more tested than when he has power over a voiceless creature.' A C Grayling.

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I got this when it came out and was completely disappointed in it. Most of the recipes didn't appeal to me (on the whole, they're pretty old-fashioned), and the ones that did were the sort of thing I already knew how to make.

Second, the whole idea of cooking a big piece of protein and then using it as leftovers is a handy technique to keep in mind, but most of her "second" and "third" rounds sounded awful to me.

Third, there were some questionable recipes/techniques in the book. I mean -- chicken stock made from a carcass and some vegetables, with an undisclosed amount of water and cooked for an hour. Really? She thinks you'll have stock after an hour?

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I got this for Christmas about 2 years ago (already had Joyce Goldstein's "Solo Suppers").

I like both of them, very much, and use them both for inspiration. But have to say, and maybe I'm a fuddy-duddy (or just like the "classic approach".... :wink: ), I actually *cook* much more from Jones' book.

As a matter of fact, I made her cheese souffle for one for dinner on Sunday. Her preserved lemon recipe was the first one I ever tried, and her pear crisp (often subbed with apples, plums, whatever fruit I have) is a regular dessert. I also love her "Asian Accented Chicken Salad". Really tasty, and gave good leftovers for lunch when I was working, if I made slightly larger proportions.

I have used some of her "large protein redux" suggestions several times, though by no means all of them, and, although they aren't ground-breaking, the ones I tried are solid. I also like that Jones' book has bread and pie crust dough recipes that are scaled down.

Goldstein's book seems a bit more...I dunno...."restauranty" to me. Not that *that's* a bad thing. But its a bit more futzy, with a few more ingredients I might have to search out. Not spur-of-the-moment, out of the pantry cooking so much.

There was a thread back when the book came out that talked about it, and JAZ had the same concerns then. I was a bit worried, since I'd just gotten it, and thought I'd be bummed by it. But I haven't been.

I think its like 99.999999% of the other cookbooks. You have to be savvy, and pick and choose what sounds good to you, and what you think will work. For me, its a solid book.

EDIT---fix some tpyos and some blah-blah-blahness :blink:

Edited by Pierogi (log)

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Third, there were some questionable recipes/techniques in the book. I mean -- chicken stock made from a carcass and some vegetables, with an undisclosed amount of water and cooked for an hour. Really? She thinks you'll have stock after an hour?

If she called it "stock" then she was technically incorrect, but it certainly is "broth" and a thrifty home cook trick. I do it all the time. If there's time to let it cook longer, I will, and if I have the budget and the luxury of having some fresh chicken to add the pot, I will, but otherwise for everyday home cooking, Judith's method is it.

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I also like that Jones' book has bread and pie crust dough recipes that are scaled down.

But they aren't scaled down. I would love a pastry recipe for one serving, but what she gives is a big recipe (2 cups of flour and 14 tablespoons of butter) and then tells you to freeze the extra. She doesn't even give a yield -- even something like "divide the dough into x portions" would have been helpful.

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I have this book, cook regularly from it and love it. Not just for the recipes, tips, suggestions, ideas, etc., but also for the tone, sentiment, prose and attitude. It makes me feel as though she is a dear and nurturing friend urging me to value myself and to treat myself kindly because I deserve it.

Unfortunately, two of my friends recently became widows and I gifted each with a copy.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I also like that Jones' book has bread and pie crust dough recipes that are scaled down.

But they aren't scaled down. I would love a pastry recipe for one serving, but what she gives is a big recipe (2 cups of flour and 14 tablespoons of butter) and then tells you to freeze the extra. She doesn't even give a yield -- even something like "divide the dough into x portions" would have been helpful.

To be honest, I hadn't attempted the pie crust recipe, I noticed it on my way to the cheese souffle and flagged it mentally for another time, so I didn't read it carefully.

However, we're going to have to agree to disagree about the bread, as well as about the rest of the book. :smile: 2 small baguettes, or a baguette and a pizza crust is a perfect size yield for me.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I also like that Jones' book has bread and pie crust dough recipes that are scaled down.

But they aren't scaled down. I would love a pastry recipe for one serving, but what she gives is a big recipe (2 cups of flour and 14 tablespoons of butter) and then tells you to freeze the extra. She doesn't even give a yield -- even something like "divide the dough into x portions" would have been helpful.

To be honest, I hadn't attempted the pie crust recipe, I noticed it on my way to the cheese souffle and flagged it mentally for another time, so I didn't read it carefully.

However, we're going to have to agree to disagree about the bread, as well as about the rest of the book. :smile: 2 small baguettes, or a baguette and a pizza crust is a perfect size yield for me.

And I like the occasional suggestions as to recipes that freeze well. That's really valuable to me, as that's something I do often - prepare something that I can eat one serving of tonight, and freeze individual servings for later.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I also really love the pictures, and her tone. I haven't had decent lighting in my kitchen for years (long story) and after seeing a picture of her kitchen, now have a totally utilitarian work light over my stove - and LOVE it!

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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  • 3 months later...

I was just wondering about this...I have it somewhere, I think? I live alone and as I cook vicariously through you all in the cookbook threads and especially the dinner thread, I find myself wishing I were more motivated to cook, but it IS hard to do all that shopping and cooking for yourself when you just have tons of leftovers to deal with. I am going to cook today though and actually contribute a picture! I have been on here for six years and have probably cooked about as many times. SAD!!!! :laugh:

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If you're interested in a cookbook for one that's a little more modern, you might check out Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan (it's got the "look inside" feature on Amazon so you don't have to buy it sight unseen). Joe is the editor of the food section of the Washington Post, so you could probably find some of the recipes on the paper's website, as well.

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I was just wondering about this...I have it somewhere, I think? I live alone and as I cook vicariously through you all in the cookbook threads and especially the dinner thread, I find myself wishing I were more motivated to cook, but it IS hard to do all that shopping and cooking for yourself when you just have tons of leftovers to deal with. I am going to cook today though and actually contribute a picture! I have been on here for six years and have probably cooked about as many times. SAD!!!! :laugh:

I'd suggest that you make a concerted effort to find the book, if you think you already have it, and then sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and leaf through it. I know what you mean by having motivation issues. Adding to the difficulty of gathering the energy "to do all that shopping and cooking for yourself" is the fact that you undoubtedly pass numerous convenient eateries when you head out toward the market. So tempting to just grab something to eat out and be done with it.

I now live with my daughter and her husband and their three kids so have a whole family to cook for.

But when I was living alone, I found this book truly inspiring and all the motivation I needed.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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