Just the other day a friend told me she had taken herself out for a nice lunch and a glass of wine, and enjoyed them while reading a book. All alone. It sounded wonderful and relaxing. And a little brave.
I don’t know that I have ever gone out for a real meal on my own. And I’m not sure why not. Now that I think about it, there’s something irresistible about the idea.
A table for one or a solo seat at the bar in a nice restaurant. Gleaming cutlery and sparkling glassware. A cloth napkin in your lap. Familiar restaurant sounds. The pleasure of choosing from a menu. The routine of drinks and food appearing at effortless intervals. Your book propped in front of you. The occasional glance around the busy room, then back to the unhurried enjoyment of both food and literature.
I have never sat in a restaurant as part of a snug group and looked pityingly upon a happy, intentional solo diner. That embarrassed feeling at the prospect of asking for a table for one? I’m pretty sure it’s a waste of energy. Who’s looking, anyway?
Yes, I firmly believe in shared meals and the importance of community. But must we always sing for our supper? Sometimes I want to be a community of one, alone with my own thoughts and enjoying my own company.
Why don’t we all treat ourselves to the luxury of a solo meal more often?
Of course, I eat plenty of peaceful, utilitarian solo dinners at home after work. Lately I’ve been obsessed with warm salads and have been eating them every night. The basic formula I’ve been following is this:
- A big pile of hearty salad greens
- A medium pile of warm roasted root vegetables (leftovers work great)
- A hot sliced sausage, or shreds of duck meat, or leftover hamburger or steak or…
- ½ avocado, diced
- ½ tomato, diced
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Salt lightly and pepper generously. Toss to coat with dressing. The greens will wilt just a bit, comfortingly, and the whole meal is indescribably satisfying.