Deborah Madison asks: What do you eat when you're alone?

Best-selling cookbook author Deborah Madison seeks out the answers to that question in her upcoming book:

What We Eat When We're Alone
The book, set to publish in May, delves into the relationship people have with food when they dine alone. Are people secretly indulging on cakes and cookies or are they serving themselves mini gourmet feasts? A little of both apparently.

Following are a couple of fun excerpts from the manuscript:

Here are some of the odd things that people confess to eating:
  • Saltines crumbled in milk
  • Oyster crackers or matzo in coffee
  • Life Cereal dredged with Coffee-mate, the original formula only, none of that low-fat or flavored junk
  • Cream of wheat made with lumps
  • Dried cereal with broken butter cookies, drowned in milk
  • Wonder bread, flattened, covered with butter and sugar, then frozen briefly, so it becomes a kind of sugar cookie
  • Cake batter (especially chocolate) and raw cookie dough (especially chocolate chip)
  • Frozen pound cake shaved into thin pieces and eaten cold
  • Cold leftover spaghetti that's stuck together, fried with Swiss cheese
"When I'm cooking for myself, it happens like an urge. That is, it probably isn't a regular mealtime. I first notice that I'm hungry and then have a vision of something that is in the fridge or the pantry. Then I dream up a recipe for it." -- Patrick McKelvey, musician and graphic designer.

The couch is a place of solace and comfort for many women, but it can be a challenging choice when eating with animals. When Roz goes to the couch to have dinner while studying Roman antiquities, she says, "I set my food on the coffee table and eat around the cat, which is inevitably in my lap. This makes the eating part a bit tricky, especially if shrimp are involved. Then, it's one for Tiny, two for me, one for Tiny, two for me."

And now for a recipe:

For fans of Southwest flavors, it's hard to find a better grilled cheese than one that includes a long, roasted green chile.

1 long green chile or poblano, roasted
2 slices bread
Grated or sliced cheese to cover such as Monterey Jack on Muenster
Chopped cilantro
Butter or olive oil

1. Remove the skin and the seeds from the chile, and slice into long strips.
2. Cover one piece of bread with enough cheese to reach nearly to the edge. Add the chile, chopped cilantro, and more cheese. Top with the second piece of bread and brush with olive opil. Put it in a panini machine and press. Cook until the bread is marked and the cheese is melted. If you don't have a panini machine, melt a teaspoon of butter or olive oil in a small skillet. Add the sandwich and cook over medium-low head so that the cheese is soft by the time the bread is golden. Press on it a few times with a spatula while it's cooking. When golden brown on the bottom, turn it over, add another bit of butter and cook the second side until golden.

So, now the question: What do you dig into when you're eating alone?
Leave us a comment with your ideas!


Jennifer said...

Here's my solo meal. I love "Breakfast for Dinner" and my favorite is French Toast. I know it sounds simple, but you could almost consider it deep fried French Toast. I love it when the edges are crispy and crunchy! Then I drown the beautiful slices in (low fat) butter and (sugar-free) syrup.

Anonymous said...

I can't resist those Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls!

Anonymous said...

I like to eat shrimp flavored ramen noodles wrapped in a cold tortilla.

Anonymous said...

I love to eat appetizers as a meal. I will slice up a baguette and indulge in spinach-artichoke dip or goat cheese and olive tapenade.

Kristie said...

Sadly, I eat ramen noodles or Velveeta shells and cheese. I will also eat nachos alone too or chips and salsa. I guess anything that is really not very healthy.

Heidi Rogers said...

I really dislike cooking!! So, if my hubby isn't cooking then forget it!! I will have a string cheese and call it good.

Courtney Rottgering said...

Slim Jims. Disgusting, I know-- they are processed meat snack sticks. But they are so salty and smoky and yummy! Plus, I figure it's protein, right?

Anonymous said...

When I'm alone - it's gram crackers and milk. Sometimes I branch out and eat cold cereal.

Brian Dalton said...

When I have the ingredients, I like to cook up toasted cheese sandwichs with a twist. I add lots of raw onion and Frenchs mustard or homemade hot mustard, with mild cheddar cheese(not the fake american slice)then toast in a hot frying pan with butter until bread is golden brown, and the cheese is starting to flow out of the sandwich. With dill pickles and potato chips on the side.

Kimberly Jensen said...

Cold cereal..my favorite treat is shreddeded mini wheats or grape nuts. Also trail mix is another favorite with a diet coke. That's dinner to me!

Anonymous said...

Omelettes! I empty the fridge of leftover ham, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, fried potatoes, onion. There is actually room for some egg in there too!

Michelle said...

When I don't feel like cooking, or at least running to the grocery store, my meals can be pretty bizarre. One favorite is scrambled eggs with a smattering of capers, cilantro, and milk cooked in the microwave. I finish it off with a healthy dose of ketchup. Basically, anything I can find in the fridge that could possibly go together.