What to CookSummer

What to Cook For Yourself Now

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Today: Kick your roommates, your life partners, and your pets out of the house! It's time to take over the kitchen and cook something for yourself.

Here is a list of things I do to celebrate myself, in order from least to most effective: 

10. Reread something I wrote senior year of high school, which always ends in embarrassment.
9. Think about getting my nails done but decide not to because gnawing guilt.
8. Reread Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" outloud, on the subway.
7. Think about buying a green juice but decide not to because $10.
6. Take a nap—even if it's 10 A.M; even if it's 6 P.M.
5. Go for a solo walk in the park. 
4. Stretch theatrically, accompanied by loud sighs. And crack my knuckles while I'm at it.
3. Listen to Taylor Swift's latest album from start to finish (skipping the voice memos).
2. Change into the high-waisted sweatpants I bought in eighth grade.
1. Cook myself a real, proper, grown-up dinner. 

On the rare evenings when I have the apartment to myself—when the only sounds are my cat chirping and some country music bleating and fewer horns honking than typical on the street below—nothing makes me feel more responsible than making myself dinner. Managing, somehow, to put crispy asparagus, a couple soft-boiled eggs, and salad—Oh, salad! Is there any food more adult than salad?—on a plate undoes all of the stupid mistakes I made that day (mispronouncing "borage"; forgetting where I dropped off my sweater for dry-cleaning three months ago; mispronouncing "tagliatelle"; accidentally hitting "Reply All"; mispronouncing "dulce de leche").

If you find yourself alone in the kitchen (with an eggplant or not) and cooking will make you feel good, here's what you should make, organized by circumstance:

When you went to the market and bought everything green you could possibly carry:

Roasted Asparagus with Chopped Egg and Torn Bread


Spring Vegetable Panzanella


Sautéed Zucchini with Basil, Mint, and Capers


When you want to eat something on toast:

Roasted Tomatoes and Onions on Toast


Olive Oil-Braised Broccoli Rabe


When you're wearing your pajamas at 6 P.M.:

Braised Onion Sauce


Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter


Southern Grits


When your neighbors might stop by (but you hope they don't):

Pimm's Cup


Gnocchi Verde


When dinner is going to be dessert instead:

Honey-Lime Strawberries & Lemon-Buttermilk Sherbet


Plum Galette with Whole-Wheat Crust


Roasted Strawberry Milkshake with Buttermilk and Mint


When you stayed at happy hour longer than you were expecting:

Scrambled Egg Tacos with Avocado

What's your favorite meal to cook for yourself? Share with us in the comments below!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Long Reads, Editors' Picks, Roundup