Learning To Cook For One

Five months ago, my husband and I separated and, after nine years, I’ve suddenly found myself alone in the kitchen, struggling to do more than open a container of hummus. It’s been difficult to justify making an elaborate meal for myself when so much of my cooking had before been connected to our shared experience.

Over the years, I’ve laid out countless, successful strategies for my single clients to get them to put themselves first in the cooking category. They lovingly shop, whip up quinoa salad and roast garbanzo beans just to their liking, and prove to themselves that YES their bodies are worth nourishing. This is more, though, than just slapping together a bowl of rice, steamed kale and slab of tofu. What I ask of my women is different. Deeper. I show them how to find their inner deserving diva and feed her fully.

And as we all know, it’s one thing to coach someone else through the tumultuous terrain of cooking for one and it’s another to face the single stove yourself.

What I’ve realized is that a large part of my extensive cooking was done FOR HIM, not for me.

I cooked because it was a way of showing love and a striking signifier that I brought something to the table, literally and figuratively. My nourishment was an afterthought in my own mind and after our breakup, I ate boiled beans and steamed sweet potatoes for a month.

Plain. Dull. Zero inspiration.

Thankfully, in the last few months I’ve come out of my bean stupor and realized a few things that are key to lovingly cooking for one.

1. Cooking for one is a choice. A choice to nourish yourself for no other reason than you deserve it.

2. You roast because you're worth it.

3. You saute because you love your body in the face of rejection.

4. You bake because it warms you from the inside out.

You put on music, light a candle, sit and savor not because you should but because you choose to replenish. You choose to water the drought within.

Single or not, we all feel like our own nourishment isn’t worth the effort sometimes. When you eat your child’s leftover gluten-free pizza crust at the kitchen sink, call in greasy Pad Thai when your man is traveling, pick at leftover vegan brownies from the fridge rather than sitting down, or default to frozen burritos for you AND your man because your day has flattened you like roadkill, you throw up your hands in the air and scream, “NOT WORTH IT.”

This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to choose yourself in the face of all the not worth its, I don’t deserve its and too much efforts.

I invite you to cook for yourself, not because you have to but because you deserve to. Open yourself up to the notion that on this day of LOVE, in the wake of life’s craziness, all the love you need can be cultivated within.

Choose YOU. To love and cook for your single self on Valentine’s Day is radical stuff, best shared with a community of like-minded self lovers.

Tell me in the comments below, how are you choosing your self this Valentine’s Day? In what ways can you say, “Damn self, you are amazing. I’m going to cook you the most delicious Valentine’s Day feast ever because sweet thang, you are WORTH IT.”

Here’s to YOU choosing YOU today, cooking for one with creative gusto and loving every bite of it.

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