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Being single, living alone, and loving food, I sometimes feel like the world is conspiring against me. Groceries are sold in value-packs. I only have one pair of hands to carry groceries home. No one is buying me a Le Creuset dutch oven or a Cuisinart food processor off my wedding registry. It’s hard to justify opening a bottle of wine just for myself, though I do it anyway. And sometimes, you just can’t get around buying one really big fish.

Eating out has its own challenges. I’m slowing getting over the awkwardness of eating alone in sit-down restaurants, with the help of M.F.K. Fisher, but even in hole-in-the-wall places, eating alone means I’m facing only one kind of curry, instead of three or four.

Of course, I love cooking for other people. I’m the daughter of a woman who equates feeding with love, and there’s nothing like having friends around my dinner table tucking into food I’ve chopped, browned, and simmered all day. I have people over for dinner almost once a week, whether it’s my best friend for a clean-out-the-pantry meal or my supper club of gourmands.

But most of the time, I can’t just feed other people to deal with my leftovers, or my other challenges eating and living alone. This is how I’m figuring it out, how I’m learning to adapt recipes and be frugal, without compromising quality or variety.

And no matter how much I complain about not being able to buy 6 kinds of cheese in one go, there are things I love about eating alone. No one is vegetarian in my house. No one is telling me he doesn’t eat anchovies or olives. I can try some elaborate new recipe without worrying that I’ll make anyone sick other than myself. I can eat in my underwear, which is often necessary when the oven’s been on for hours.

It makes me happy.

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