Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
I cannot take credit for the title: it is the name of a book I just finished reading. And I recommend it; it is an amalgamation of food writers, each giving an excerpt from their lives. Specifically, they share about times in their lives when they ate alone---and what surfaced as their indulgent, self-prescribed comfort food.
I liked that each authors' experience was vastly different from the next. Some loved the ease of a thoughtless meal, the comfort of something they enjoyed, most particularly when alone. Some set an individual setting at their table---with manners and napkins in order---while others skipped the table altogether. Some meals morphed into good recipes, worthy of cookbooks and table-mates. Other meals hardly earned the name meal, and though they served their function, are best left tucked into that historical chapter of the author's life.
And it gave me pause. And a small smile during that pause, as my mind began to travel back in my own life, looking for times I was alone, on my own, in my kitchen. What did I cook in a hurry? What meal did I seem to make time and again? Was there a dish I ate a million times but never tired of? Food that for me, became synonymous with solitude?
I had a few pop into my mind. The most common meal in my college days was a skillet grilled Quesadilla, filled with refried beans and shredded cheddar (a tsp of butter per side for the brown crispiness against the warm, cheesy gooey goodness). And there was that one summer when a regular craving for grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches never seemed to subside...
Another 'me-meal' is pictured above, a more recent addition, a pseudo-sandwich that filled many noons last summer. I cannot remember the first such sandwich; no doubt it was inspired by a larger-than-life heirloom tomato at my nearby Farmer's Market. One tomato would delight my palate across multiple meals. A juicy slice or two topped a crusty toasted piece of bread, with herb-marinated Montrachet cheese (spread on while the toast was still warm), a drizzle of olive oil, some pepper if I was patient. Just the thought transports me to summery days, with light shining through my window and the building of this great little meal... no plate required... napkin likely... sitting optional.
If you want to sneak a peak at the book, hit the STORE button above, it is in the reading section. The cover is beautiful; and yes if you buy it through talkoftomatoes store I make a little. I would guesstimate .37 cents. But imagine what a writer and cook could do with half an eggplant...