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What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes Hardcover – Apr 16 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith (April 16 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423604962
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423604969
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Deborah Madison is the author of nine cookbooks and countless articles on food, cooking, and farming. Currently she blogs for Gourmet and Culinate.

He is the creator of Pat's Downtown Club, featured on CBS Sunday Morning. He has received numerous awards and fellowships for his painting. He works out of his studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xaa30afc0) out of 5 stars 32 reviews
141 of 146 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa35be70) out of 5 stars Mostly stereotypes about gender and those who eat alone Oct. 23 2009
By Erika S. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I had really high hopes for this book. I am in my mid-twenties, live alone (which I love), and am an avid cook, so this book piqued my interest. I was quite disappointed. First of all, a book about eating and dining alone should not be written in the first person plural ("we think" "we talked to" etc). Second of all, the book is nearly completely based on gender stereotypes of how men and women cook and eat (some of it is funny, but it quickly moves from funny to irritating). Finally, despite the fact that Madison has written a book about eating and cooking for one, she not only confesses that she doesn't like eating alone (which is fine), but goes so far as to say that she felt such pity for an "obviously single" woman buying a boneless chicken breast one Saturday evening that she wanted to invite the woman over for dinner. So much for the idea of enjoying cooking for yourself, taking care of yourself, and all the other things that she discusses in the book as the benefits of dining alone. (plus, what does an "obviously single" woman look like?)

I've used and loved many of Madison's cookbooks, particularly Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and her farmer's market cookbook, but this one is, in my opinion, a throwaway. Save your money and get "Alone in the kitchen with an eggplant" instead.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa162318) out of 5 stars This review is for the Kindle version. Aug. 15 2009
By L. MB - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read this book, and made a few of the dishes. They are easy to fix and most have 5-6 ingredients that are easily found in the local market. The book talks a lot about farmers markets and gardens and such. But, really the shopping center worked for me. Most of the meals were made quickly, and are written for 2 but can be easily doubled. I have noticed that I have increased, with little effort, the fruits and vegies I eat by just making and taking my lunch to work out of this book. I just prep the night before, sometimes fully cook, then heat in microwave if it needs to be warmed. The narrative in the book is entertaining, the art work is fun, and the food turns out well. So, overall this is my favorite cookbook. I have a couple others on Kindle, that I don't recall if I've reviewed, but this is the one I use the most.
**As far as formatting goes:
I own a kindle 2 and DX and have this on both. I prefer to read/cook off the DX because the format is set out on the "page" slighly more appealing. But I take the k2 to the store to shop for ingredients and have no trouble reading the recipes from it. So, if I didn't own the DX I could use it to cook from as well. The TOC are linked, BUT the index is not linked. The recipes are all listed in the index, not the TOC. At first this annoyed me, but I made a work around. I just go to the index, find the recipe I want -or am interested in-then do a search from there and it goes to page. Works great.

I highly recommend this cookbook. It is easy, fun, and has a lot of variety, Plus works great on the DX, and above average (for a cookbook) on K2.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa162120) out of 5 stars I laughed out loud July 2 2009
By Debra Daniels-zeller - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin have written a great quirky book about favorite solo meals and how we indulge ourselves when no one is watching. It's a behind the scenes look at our lives and our values. I laughed out loud at some of the bizzare foods people craved from their childhoods like fried Spam and grape jelly and hungered to feast on foods like asparagus roasted for an entire week of solo snacking. Deborah's writing was great, but I confess that Patrick's surprisingly bold pictures compelled me to search through the book and smile at his creativity before reading the whole thing. This is the kind of fun book anyone could enjoy.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa162354) out of 5 stars I love this book! June 18 2009
By Annie Slocum - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deborah Madison is my all time favorite cookbook author and this book is a wonderful collaboration with her husband, Patrick McFarlin whose fantastic illustrations add so much to the book. I could not put the book down and laughed a lot of the way through it. It is a fun book to read and I have found my self totally addicted to avocado tacos since I read about them! I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in food on any level!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa162744) out of 5 stars Good recipes, but more a READING book than a cookbook Jan. 18 2013
By Esther Schindler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the past few years, I've regularly found myself at home with the cats while my husband goes on 10-day business trips. To keep myself sane, entertained, and fed, I've gotten in the habit of grabbing a "cooking for one" cookbook from the library, each time he goes away. Eventually, I figure, I'll find a recipe collection that suits every one of my solo-foodie needs. I like this book a lot, but it's not so wonderful that I'm going to keep it around.

The cookbook has an excellent pedigree. The two authors include Deborah Madison and her artist partner (husband? well, she mentions they've been together for 20 years). Madison is the author of several excellent cookbooks. Among them is Greens Cookbook, one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, which has earned many honorable food stains over the past 20 years. (This cookbook isn't vegetarian, but it's very vegetarian-friendly; you shouldn't be drawn to or frightened away in that regard.) So I feel that the recipes can all be _trusted_, and she has the gift of giving excellent instructions. There are 100 recipes, and they are all over the map, from "what to eat" ideas that are meant to be inspiration for when you just want to throw things together but didn't happen to think of THIS, to meals in which you go all-out for yourself.

The premise behind the entire book is that, over many years, Madison and McFarlin got in the habit of asking people, "What do you eat when you eat alone?" and keeping track of the answers. Some of the people they queried are well-known chefs, others ordinary folks like you-and-me, such as someone they met on a vacation. The authors categorize the answers by theme, write a whole bunch of interesting anecdotal analysis (such as how solo men and women eat differently), and then supply recipes for the most interesting answers, the dishes that you and I probably do want a little help with. So instead of "take some kale or spinach or whatever you have on hand and mix it with some Whatever," Madison gives you a tested recipe that helps you figure out how much kale-and-whatever you should buy at the store. Yet the laid-back descriptions are a reminder that you're cooking for yourself, after all, and if you want to throw in more garlic, who's gonna stop you?

For example, there's a chapter called "Saved by sardines, rescued by pasta," reflecting a relatively high use of tinned fish (my own solo-meal is likely to involve tuna), which Madison reassures us is a healthy choice with lots of Omega-3s, and -- more often by men -- pasta dishes with sauces made while you wait for the water to boil. She follows it up with recipes for sardines on toast; pickled onion rings; salmon cakes; tuna spread with capers; spaghetti with tuna and capers; green penne with potatoes and broccoli; spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and capers; hungry man's pasta with arugula and almond pesto; and short pasta with cauliflower, pepper flakes, and parsley-walnut crumbs. As the list demonstrates, few of these could be described as exotic, and if you're an accomplished cook you can probably make the dish just from the descriptions. But I think the strength here is in "encouragement to stretch yourself a little" and "Hmm, that does sound like a good combination." Both of which are valuable.

A good chunk of the book is targeted at ME: a person who occasionally has the freedom to eat anything she darned well chooses, when the family is away. There's also a chapter at the end for meals you cook with a purpose, such as "What you cook for dinner when you aim to seduce your guest" (which I find more _interesting_ than anything else; for instance, plenty of people cook a hunk of meat or delicate fish, but seduction menus don't include chicken). But the authors also pay attention to people who live on their own all the time, including young folks who newly cooking for themselves (such as a college student who realizes that she doesn't exactly know how to roast a chicken, and then what to do with the leftovers). For these readers in particular, there are suggestions for how to cook a batch of something and then use it in different ways, and reassurance that you're perfectly normal if you just graze for a few days, then make up a big batch of Bolognese sauce for yourself. This is somewhat different from the "Let's cook a whole meal for one" premise (and recipes) in Cooking for One: A Seasonal Guide to the Pleasure of Preparing Delicious Meals for Yourself or Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One. But in the long term it might be more realistic. I think it's just a matter of what you want, and how you prefer to cook.

There were a few things that sounded very good to me in this book, such as the aforementioned salmon cakes, "polenta with corn, scallions, and sauteed shrimp," and "exotic rice pudding on demand." But none of them made me say aloud, "Oh I gotta make THAT," and as it turned out I never did any cooking on my husband's last trip (I was traveling too).

Bottom line: I really liked reading this book, and if you cook for yourself even randomly, I think you'll enjoy it too. But it may spend more time in the living room than in the kitchen -- which is just fine with me.