On a recent expedition to Charlottesville's Friends of the Library book sale I came across a true nugget of culinary gold, the kind of illustrative cookbook I savor and collect, a fantastic book titled, What We Eat When We Eat Alone.
It is difficult to place this book in any particular genre, which explains why I discovered it hidden indiscretely under a pile of art history books in the loosely defined Art section of the sale. Part journal, part social experiment, part cookbook and illustration, writer, vegetarian chef, and slow food pioneer Deborah Madison explores the art (and science) of dining alone. Accompanied by eccentric food doodles by Madison's husband, painter Patrick McFarlin, and recipes inspired by conversations the author has with both friends and strangers, the book explores the vast range of meals and rituals people partake in while alone. From a dish as crude as sardines on toast to a meal of roast lamb and herbs so elaborate it merits a poem (see below), the art of eating alone is endlessly defined with no "wrong" approach, save perhaps the sad mustard sandwich consumed over the sink.Read More