Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Recommendation: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

In Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone, Nora Ephron, Ann Patchett, Steve Almond, and others provide essays about the experiences of eating alone, along with a scattering of recipes designed to feed one.

I read this on vacation, which was unfortunate because the book made me want to go out immediately to buy ingredients to cook myself a fabulous meal. In particular, Phoebe Nobles' Asparagus Superhero made me sad that the asparagus season is over for the year.

The thread that connects all the pieces in the book is that feeding yourself, when you're by yourself, is an acceptably selfish act. When you don't have to worry about the needs and wants of another person, you can cook whatever you want. Whether you choose to treat yourself to a nice place setting and garnishes, or eat straight out of the pot, it is all about what feels best to you. (Personally, I tend to run the gamut between cooking lovely dinners for myself with fancy ingredients to having cornflakes for dinner.)

I didn't connect quite as much to the section on eating out alone. I've done it and I'd do it again, especially when traveling, but I think that restaurants are fundamentally a social experience for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spinster of the Week: Shakespeare's Beatrice

Okay, so she caves and agrees to marry Benedick at the end of the play, but who couldn't love the woman who said:

(...) He that have a beard is more than a youth, and he that have no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in ernest of the berrord and lead his apes into hell.

Leonato: Well then, go you into hell?

No, but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, 'Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven. Here's no place for you maids.' So deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter. For the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there we live as merry as the day is long.

Furthermore, Beatrice is clearly not going to get married just for the heck of it. When the very eligible prince presents himself as a suitor, she turns him down with charm and wit. Because that's how she rolls.

Woman places ad to 'barter' her Jeep for a husband

Sigh. - Woman places ad to 'barter' her Jeep for a husband

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Not to Woo a Spinster

So, of course I am still delighted with the spinster lifestyle, but recently I've been taking a little dip in the online dating pool. Folks, it's a jungle out there, but at least I'm learning something. Here is a "dos and don'ts" I have compiled based on my experience.

  • Be interesting, but not too interesting. One or two cool hobbies? Great. Seven or eight (none of which you can stop talking about long enough to let me get a word in edgewise) make me think that you're desperately trying to keep me from figuring out how boring you actually are.

  • I know I "deserve happiness," thanks. You don't really need to tell me that, and when you do, it is awfully patronizing and it kind of makes me want to punch you in the nose. Furthermore, I am pretty darn happy already, and whether or not you want to go to a movie with me is not going to have much bearing on my joy levels.

  • You don't have to be rolling in the dough, but please at least make sure you have enough cash and/or room on your debit card to pay a small tab if you've invited me for drinks or coffee. This is particularly relevant if you have just made a big show of refusing my attempt to pay half.

  • On a somewhat related note, if you live with one or both parents, please at least have the decency to be slightly ashamed of yourself and/or have a really good explanation.

  • Look at and remember my profile. If you have to ask what I do for a living after viewing it, you don't meet the minimum reading comprehension requirement.

  • You don't get to be sulky and posessive until we've at least had coffee. Sometimes it takes me awhile to return a message. Maybe because I'm busy with something else, maybe because the last thing you said was kinda weird and I'm not sure how to respond to it, maybe it was charming and I'm trying to come up with an equally witty response. Whatever the case, taking a little spin on your Huffy bike is not attractive.

  • If you message me telling me you'd "like to paint" me, please make it clear whether you mean "paint a picture" or "swirl paint on the cold skin of my lifeless corpse." Frankly, both are rather creepy, but there's obviously an exponential increase for the latter meaning.

  • It's okay to have exes and it's okay to talk about them eventually. But if the first thing you type after the compulsory "Hello, how are you?" message includes the phrase "I don't care if she was cheating on me, she was an awful girlfriend," you might want to get back to me after after you've finished your summer stay at Camp Bitter.

  • Don't list any hobbies that I have to look up on Urban Dictionary. I don't care if there's a slight chance you might really be talking about actual plumbing projects. Just don't do it.