Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

Melissa Houlroyd
Reference and Instruction Librarian

Eating alone is not a regular occurrence for me anymore, but it does happen occasionally, and it did happen a lot when I was in college. I expect it will happen more in the future.

I have a love/hate relationship with eating alone. I like that I can be selfish when choosing foods when I’m alone, especially since my partner is very picky when it comes to fruits and vegetables. (He is trying new things lately despite his aversion to them. I’m very grateful to him for that.) This is also one of the reasons I love eating out: I can be selfish without being alone. (I’m envisioning the deliciously sour and potent lemon tart I had at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville, CA, a dessert reserved for selfish occasions.) When I’m eating alone, I dislike the fact that I have no one to share my joy with, no one to cook for besides myself, no one to Ooh and Aah at my efforts, no one to talk to.

The eggplant. Journal Horticultural News and Research, University of Arizona
“What We Eat When We Eat Alone.” LA Times
Lemon tart, Bouchon.

These short stories encompass those feelings through many different voices, some with more love than hate for eating alone than others (and vice versa), and all with different experiences and reasons for eating alone.

As a collection, this book is lovely. The stories can be read individually or in one fell-swoop. I adopted the latter strategy, and I enjoyed it very much. I felt as though I was being let in to these authors’ lives, voyeuristically watching them alone in their homes or out to eat, being let in on the secret of their habits. It’s terribly interesting, and I almost feel guilty for enjoying it. Almost.

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