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Cooking for one: how to enjoy the ultimate pleasure of eating alone

crab holding wine and cutlery 
Instead of resorting to ready meals or beans on toast, celebrate solo dining by eating all the things you (and no one else) love Credit: Haarala hamilton & Valerie Berry 

I’d gone to see my GP about a minor ailment, but as I was leaving, she asked ‘And how are you otherwise?’ ‘Well,’ 
I replied, ‘I’ve separated from my partner.’ I paused and pictured my kitchen.

‘You know, I have eight place settings and now I only need three.’ I burst into tears. ‘What am I going to do with all those plates?’

I realised, in that moment, that cooking for others is how I structure my life and how I make a home. It’s partly because meals impose a timetable – every day we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner – but also because when we eat, we sit down with other people and we talk. My life had got smaller and the keenest way I felt it was at the kitchen table.

That same summer my children...

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