Cooking for Two

Hannah just moved out about a week ago, and I’m developing new routines in the kitchen.

There are some foods that Hannah enjoys eating that I don’t care for, or that contain ingredient I shouldn’t eat. Already I’m noticing that the fridge is less cluttered, without the “Hannah foods” that Jack and I are unlikely to eat. I’m also just cooking DIFFERENTLY. I’m perfectly content to make a stew on Sunday or Monday and then reheat it every night for dinner- but Hannah likes more variety from day to day. So there are far fewer leftovers in my fridge now. Instead of having small amounts of leftovers from various nights’ meals, I put all the leftovers into a soup early in the week and then there’s just one thing in the “meat corner” of the refrigerator, instead of half a dozen.

I’ve always had to keep Hannah’s preferences in mind when cooking Shabbos dinners. The last couple of years, after Leah moved out and Hannah would often go away for Shabbos, I got into the habit of serving Shabbos leftovers for Sunday night’s dinner. That meant that I needed to make things she liked to eat, even if she wasn’t going to be home. It was generally easier to make slightly more food on Friday than it was to have to prepare any dishes on Sunday.

That’s not the case anymore. For the past two weeks, I continued to make a whole chicken on Friday night, even though I don’t really like the white meat. The first week worked out OK, because there was one night when Leah and Hannah were both here for dinner, and Hannah was home for another night or two before moving out, and the chicken got finished. But last week, when I was the only one eating the chicken, I served the roast chicken twice and finished the dark meat. Then I made a stew with the rest, and it took me all week to finish it. I didn’t have any beef or fresh fish for dinners this week at all.

I still have two whole chickens in my freezer, and I will use them up in the same way- but I won’t make them two weeks in a row. This week I bought a package of chicken thighs for my Shabbos dinner, and a package of deli sliced turkey breast for Jack. I bought and froze a family pack of ground beef so I can make a meatball stew for next week’s dinners.

I’m done with making vegetarian soups for Hannah to melt cheese into. I’ve been making those since she was 12 or 13, and I used to make a small batch every single day. I’m much more satisfied with broth based soups with meat added.

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