The Pleasures of Cooking for One

( 26 )

Overview

From the legendary editor of some of the world’s greatest cooks—including Julia Child and James Beard—a passionate and practical book about the joys of cooking for one.

Here, in convincing fashion, Judith Jones demonstrates that cooking for yourself presents unparalleled possibilities for both pleasure and experimentation: you can utilize whatever ingredients appeal, using farmers’ markets and specialty shops to enrich your palate and improve your health; you can feel free to ...

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The Pleasures of Cooking for One

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Overview

From the legendary editor of some of the world’s greatest cooks—including Julia Child and James Beard—a passionate and practical book about the joys of cooking for one.

Here, in convincing fashion, Judith Jones demonstrates that cooking for yourself presents unparalleled possibilities for both pleasure and experimentation: you can utilize whatever ingredients appeal, using farmers’ markets and specialty shops to enrich your palate and improve your health; you can feel free to fail, since a meal for one doesn’t have to be perfect; and you can use leftovers to innovate—in the course of a week, the remains of beef bourguignon might be reimagined as a ragù, pork tenderloin may become a stir-fry, a cup or two of wild rice produces both a refreshing pilaf and a rich pancake, and red snapper can be reinvented as a summery salad. It’s a fulfilling and immensely economical process, one perfectly suited for our times—although, as Jones points out, cooking for one also means we can occasionally indulge ourselves in a favorite treat.

Throughout, Jones is both our instructor and our mentor, suggesting basic recipes—such as tomato sauce, preserved lemons, pesto, and homemade stock—that all cooks should have on hand; teaching us how to improvise using an ingenious strategy of building meals through the week; and supplying us with a lifetime’s worth of tips and shortcuts. From Child’s advice for buying fresh meat to Beard’s challenge to beginning crêpe-makers and Lidia Bastianich’s tips for cooking perfectly sauced pasta, Jones’s book presents a wealth of acquired knowledge from our finest cooks.

The Pleasures of Cooking for One is a vibrant, wise celebration of food and enjoying our own company from one of our most treasured cooking experts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
*Nominated for a James Beard Foundation Book Award in General Cooking*

“Cooking when you’re on your own can be a challenge . . . Thank goodness for Judith Jones!  The redoubtable editor conclusively demonstrates that the joie de manger belongs to everyone, not just breeders, honeymooners and clans.”
            -National Public Radio 10 Best Cookbooks of 2009

“Judith Jones . . . is a skilled food and recipe writer, perhaps the most accomplished working today. This collection of simple but special recipes is written with confidence, clarity and humanity, with no extra words. Recipes like minced chicken on toast and ratatouille read like enduring holdovers from decades past, offering a welcome simplicity of flavor.”
            -Denver Post Best Cookbooks of 2009
 
“[Judith Jones’s] wise pep talk of a cookbook is also a manifesto: she encourages readers to experience food with all of the senses . . . Those who’ve taken to takeout rather than gorging on recipes designed to feed four to six will find this restorative book an encouraging friend in the kitchen.”
            -Christine Muhlke, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Lively, practical, and passionate.”
            -Sarah DiGregorio, The Village Voice
 
“Marvelous . . . The book contains excellent advice on outfitting a kitchen for one, planning for leftovers, stocking a pantry, and so on.  It also contains some great recipes ranging from the elegant . . . to more elemental fare . . . The author’s long experience editing cookbooks means the recipes are crystal clear and you can readily imagine the results . . . The Pleasures of Cooking for One is a delightful cookbook, packed with sage advice and great recipes.”
            -Kevin D. Weeks, about.com
 
“In The Tenth Muse, Jones wrote about cooking for oneself, warning that a subtle conspiracy among the food industry, anti-feminist sources, and a pleasure-hating diet industry had convinced women living along that ‘it wasn’t worth it’ to cook for themselves . . . In The Pleasures of Cooking for One, Jones takes on this cultural message and refutes it utterly. She enthusiastically illustrates exactly how to cook delicious, nourishing, and soul-satisfying meals for oneself . . . Best of all, The Pleasures of Cooking for One is suitable for any single person of any gender, whether heading to college at 18 or widowed at 83.”
            -Kate Thornberry, The Austin Chronicle
 
“A warm-hearted approach to the joys of slicing, dicing, mixing, and cooking for one . . . Consider Pleasures a visit from your best friend who is also a superb, savvy cook, encouraging you to be creative and treat yourself well.”
            -The Sacramento Bee
 
“Worthwhile for those looking for variation in the weekly routine.  And chances are, you’ll feel great when you’ve finished.”
            -Amanda Gold, San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Elegant . . . [Some of the recipes] are so brilliantly simple . . . that we can’t wait for our next dinner for one.”
            -Tasting Table
 
“[Judith Jones’s] genteel manifesto for living well alone is a charming combination of common sense and luxury . . . Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn to cook, really cook, for one person.”
            -Library Journal
 
“[A] civilized, unfussy guide to cooking—and cooking well—for solitary diners . . . [Jones] doesn’t skip desserts, entertaining, or self-indulgence, and best of all, her whole book benefits from the diverse and cumulative gleanings of work with many of the great cooks and cookbook writers (including Julia Child, of course) of the latter half of the 20th century.”
            -Publishers Weekly
 
“Delightful . . . Jones provides round after round of savory treats for solo diners.”
            -Vick Mickunas, Dayton Daily News
 
 

Christine Muhlke
[Jones's] wise pep talk of a cookbook…is also a manifesto: she encourages readers to experience food with all the senses and to pester supermarkets to sell individual cuts of meat rather than giant value-pack sizes that are downright discriminatory…Those who've taken to takeout rather than gorging on recipes designed to feed four to six will find this restorative book an encouraging friend in the kitchen.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Longtime Knopf editor and executive Jones follows up her recent food memoir with this civilized, unfussy guide to cooking—and cooking well—for solitary diners, for “those... who want to roll up [their] sleeves and enjoy, from day to day, one of the great satisfactions of life.” Forming and revising cooking strategy is a cornerstone of her digressive, folksy approach, so she provides lists of equipment deemed essential, suggestions for dealing with packaging that coerces individuals into buying—and then wasting—more than necessary, and tips for storing spoilage-prone foods. Her other key to enjoying cooking—while reducing the costs of eating—is flexibility. She shares her personal credo about culinary language and exactness, and with many protein-based dishes includes ideas for variations and “second” and “third rounds,” as she refers to leftovers. She doesn't skip desserts, entertaining or self-indulgence, and best of all, her whole book benefits from the diverse and cumulative gleanings of work with many of the great cooks and cookbook writers (including Julia Child, of course) of the latter half of the 20th century. (Oct.)
The Barnes & Noble Review
If you were to buy just one cookbook this year, my recommendation -- unless you routinely cook for a crowd -- would be Judith Jones's tremendously appealing, sensible yet inspiring The Pleasures of Cooking for One. Amid all the coffee-table-sized cookbooks by big-name restaurant and television chefs, Jones's modest little volume is perfectly, tastefully scaled to its subject. But don't let its diminutive size deceive you, and don't dismiss it if you cook for a household of two or even four: this book is packed with suggestions for body- and soul-satisfying sustenance and no-nonsense tips that Jones picked up during her long career at Knopf, where she has edited the crème de la crème of the culinary stratosphere, including Julia Child and James Beard.

Widowed 13 years ago, Jones confesses that it took a while to discover the satisfactions of cooking for one. She points out that with only yourself to please, you can indulge your whims and experiment more freely. One of the challenges is to scale back quantities so you're not eating the same thing for days on end. Jones offers recipes for quick mini-batches of soups, a treasury of thrifty ideas for variations and leftovers, and advice on cajoling your butcher to sell you a single pork tenderloin (they usually come in packets of two) to prepare several different ways during the course of a week: Lemony Scaloppine, mini Roast Tenderloin, Pork Stir-fry with Vegetables.

The allure of her book -- and not just for single cooks -- is her wise and economical approach to menu planning and time management. Prepare enough rich Boeuf Bourguignon on a leisurely weekend so you'll have leftovers to make what she calls Second and Third Rounds on worknights: a quick Beef and Kidney Pie and a meaty pasta sauce. Similarly, Moroccan-Style Lamb Shanks with Potatoes and Peas can become Couscous with Lamb, Onions, and Raisins, while leftover fish is easily transformed into fish cakes or fish salad. Most of her recipes, including a nestful of egg preparations and one-dish meals, can be whipped together in 30 minutes or less.

This is comfort food but not nursery fare, civilized grown-up dining complete with candlelight, wine, and a cheese course -- as opposed to scarfing takeout pizza while standing at the sink. Alas, the big problem with cooking for one Jones doesn't solve is that there's no one else to do the dishes. --Heller McAlpin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307270726
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 132,108
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Jones is senior editor and vice president at Alfred A. Knopf. She is the co-author with Evan Jones (her late husband) of three books: The Book of Bread; Knead It, Punch It, Bake It!; and The Book of New New England Cookery. She also collaborated with Angus Cameron on The L. L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook. She has contributed to Vogue, Saveur, Departures, and Gourmet magazines. In 2006, she was awarded the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in New York City and Vermont.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

4 Star

(4)

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(4)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It is a pleasure cooking for one

    If you love The Art of French Cooking, but are daunted by the leftovers, this is the cookbook you have been looking for. It allows you to create wonderful meals that make "just enough". These recipes are not for the faint of heart and do require some work (no 30-minute meals here). But if you enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking yourself a wonderful meal, make sure and pick this book up!

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A JEWEL OF A COOKBOOK

    This pretty little book is so encouraging that I was moved to write the author a thank you note. Not only is it practical with it's second and third round suggestions, it is inpirational--"Try it. No one's looking." This is like having Judith Jones in your kitchen cooking alongside you. We singles would do well to all purchase this one and get back to enjoying food for the pure pleasure of it. Thank you, Judith.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Remarkable + practical book by a Cookbook Editor

    A simple concept and a very nice execution. Judith Jones has joined her love of food with the practicality of small portions into one publication. Noted for her skilled editing work with Julia Child + Simone Beck's landmark, "Mastering the Art of French Coooking" she brings a long history + love of good food to this book.
    Judith Jones employs 2 techniques in this book, for those cooking for themselves: a) Some recipes have been reduced to 1 to 2 portion size ingredients; and b) Recipes to create a basic meal, the leftovers of which are then tweaked to generate a 2nd and 3rd version of the original recipe.
    While the book includes information of techniques, such as cooking in parchment paper, bread making, etc., this book is probably best for someone with some cooking experience, since the illustrations and photographs are limited. In other words, this is not a HOW TO COOK book, but rather how to adjust to suit the needs of a small household.
    I've enjoyed all the books which Judith Jones has written for her love of food and the memories associated with good meals.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    Truly a Pleasure

    Judith Jones gave the world Julia Child, and now she has given those of us who find ourselves setting a table for one ways to make our meals a pleasurable experience. Her writing comes across as soothing. Her instructions are clear. Her recipes are easy to execute. Her ideas for "second rounds" (not that awful word, leftovers) open up categories of groceries that I had thought were reserved for multi-person households and dinner parties. I'm working my way through her recipes and enjoying the experience.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    Take good care of yourself.

    This is a great little cook book aimed at the single gourmet chef. The recipes are sophisticated, but uncomplicated. Got me out of my rut and helped me to expand my list of recipe "regular go-to's". Ms. Jones makes great suggestions for how to effortlessly keep a solid assortment of ingredients on hand. I love it! Try the "Potato Dish for Julia" or the "Fennel Apple and Walnut Salad" and you'll be hooked. Bon Appetit!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    Written just for me? Who knew I was not the only person carefull

    Written just for me? Who knew I was not the only person carefully storing up the ingredients to make a tiny but correct cassoulet?

    A completely restorative book. I cook often for myself. I like to eat well, but not to be wasteful. I don't eat much meat but when I do, I try to be respectful of the whole animal and use all of it. I like French techniques but Ms. Jones has been exposed to the best of many cuisines and does not limit herself in style or approach.

    I have several "cooking for one books," only one or two of which I have found to have much application in the kitchen. This one I used on the first day of receipt (cooking my first perfect souffle, I might add) and I haven't stopped. When I compare this to another book ordered on the same day, which listed only soy sauce and salt as condiments to keep things simple...well there is no comparison.

    She does expect you will already know how to cook. This is not for college students burning their first bowl of top ramen; it's for someone with basic knowledge who wants to enjoy what they eat, regardless of party size. I'm a former vegetarian and eat little meat now but have no problem with the meat recipes here. They are well thought out and allow you to eat better raised, more humane and good tasting meat if you choose. I won't use all the recipes in here but I'm sure to try more than 50% and that's quite an achievement. I may even try a kidney pie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Very Gormet

    I have been cooking for two or one my entire adult life. I was looking for a good everyday cookbook for one to use in my later years. This is a good reference book, but it is not a good everyday cookbook.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    Delightful and informative!

    Practical and old standby recipes made interesting again. The cheese recommendations are delightful. I've recommended this book to friends and they love it. Enjoy!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2012

    A Joy for the Cook

    This book is a pleasure to both read and use. Written by a woman who loves cooking, it begins with instructions for the single person, followed by a narrative and recipes covering a wide range of foods. Easy to understand, with full instructions, the recipes use available ingredients and result in tasty meals.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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