Going solo: the joy of cooking for one
Many of us put real effort in when we cook for others but when we’re alone, we reach for the cereal bowl or takeaway menu. Somehow it just doesn’t seem worth bothering if no one else is going to eat it.
‘Cooking for yourself is an affirmation of your self-worth,’ Signe says. ‘I think it’s important you recognise your worth all the time, not just if you live alone, but on the weekend if your partner is away, say, or the kids have gone to see their grandparents or whatever.
‘If you take the time to look after yourself, you’re essentially saying you are worth the effort.’
With nearly a third of UK households containing just one person, Signe believes it’s time to reverse the stigma of solo dining.
‘When I’ve told people I’m writing a book on solo cooking, they’ve interpreted it as recipes for sad people,’ she says. ‘But for me, and for many, some of the happiest times I’ve had cooking have been when I’ve been by myself.’
Food has always been a big part of Signe’s life. Growing up in Norway, much of her childhood was spent on her grandparents’ farm, picking produce and learning to cook, before going on to study at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London.
But it’s the recent trend for self-sufficiency that prompted her to champion the idea of enjoying a more selfish approach to food preparation.
WHATEVER YOU WANT
‘You don’t have to spend much money or impress anyone. You can just make whatever you want, which is really liberating. ’
While there’s obviously plenty of value in social dining, there are huge advantages to removing other people from the equation.
‘You don’t have to make any compromises or take into account any dietary concerns,’ Signe says. ‘For a dinner party you may end up cooking three separate meals because everyone has different needs. I’m not intolerant of that at all, but it can take a lot of effort, whereas cooking for yourself, it’s much more relaxing.’
She continues: ‘As someone who’s quite restless, I find just switching off and making something is a really good way of resetting my brain.
‘Many people feel like it’s a bit indulgent to cook for yourself, but to my mind, it’s one of the fundamental things we should start with in life.’