Will Read for Food: Best Cookbooks for Dining Single

By Fabiana Santana

Forget mac and cheese. Wouldn’t you love to stick your nose in a book and come out with dinner ready?

This short list of current books on food will make it easy for you to not only pass the time reading, but also get creative about cooking:

The Four Ingredient Cookbook (2002 revised edition)

Linda Coffee and Emily Cale had a vision for this book to be a cookbook for workingwomen who have little time to but love to cook. From the time the first book was released in 1990, these two ladies have taken the bestseller world by storm. What started as two busy working moms always swapping recipes with minimal ingredients has turned into a culinary phenom that has spun off a series of books including The Four Ingredient Cookbook: holiday and celebrations, The Diabetic Four Ingredient Cookbook, Low Fat & Light Four Ingredient Cookbook and a slew of others. But none has sold as many copies as the original featuring over 200 four-ingredient recipes. On a time sensitive night, the recipes can’t be easier. For those of you who love to cook, you may find that some dishes lack a certain flavor element or texture that you think it needs, or don’t appreciate the amount of packaged ingredients used and find the whole thing a bit too semi-homemade. In that case, they are the perfect recipes to build upon – a foundation of recipes that you can develop in to signature dishes by tweaking and altering certain things. That said, it is, however, an ideal book for first time cooks, college students, family vacations on the road (think RV or hotel room with a kitchenette) and anyone else who may be a little intimidated to tackle the stove alone.

Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast

The premise for this book is “good food, fast”. The recipe sections are broken up like chapters into  categories including “Every Day Easy” – speedy suppers for working women, “Instant Calmers”  – speedy soul food, “Speedy Gonzalez”  – speedy (do you see a theme here) Latino inspired recipes. “Hey Presto” features instant  Italian meals and “Storecupboard SOS”  is the perfect savior for when there is no time to shop.

Most recipes serve 2-4 (save for the holiday dinner chapter), but in true Nigella fashion, a note accompanies especially decadent recipes that says she could easily eat a serving for 2 herself (glasses houses, ladies!) and that depending on hunger or if you are adding a salad to certain dishes, the serving sizes can easily be played with. Quick breakfasts are an especially handy chapter with offerings of smoothies and fruit salads and  easy batch recipes for croissants and scrumptious muffins that you can make on Sunday, which will mean no stopping at the deli all week. So money saved, too!


Aside from the amazing recipes found in this coffee table style cookbook, Chanterelle: The Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic offers a look in to the romantic love story of Chanterelle owners David and Karen Waltuck. They opened the restaurant in 1979 with money borrowed from friends because they wanted to work together.

Their love story is sweet one complete with Chanterelle as the cherry on top.  They share images from their private photo album of the restaurant’s first days and their life together through the years. Get to the heart of the matter in the kitchen as well with a collection of recipes inspired by their love, family, friends and good food. Chanterelle has been rated among the very best restaurants in Zagat more than once and Daniel Boulud has called the restaurant” the jewel of New York” not just for the amazing food and super romantic setting (word is an engagement happens at least twice a month there), but also for the passion that Karen and David share for each other and their baby, Chanterelle. After all, who doesn’t love a good meal with a side order of love?


Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant is a compilation of essays by a diverse group of writers including Ann Patchett, Amanda Hesser, Marcella Hazan and M.F.K Fisher. Their essays act as their confessions of cooking for one and experiences dining alone. Read Beverly Lowry’s accounts of making soup in Buffalo, spend a year eating spaghetti with Haruki Murakamai, and laugh as Jonathan Ames nearly kills himself with old eggs. But he lives to tell the hilarious tale at our benefit. The pleasure of one’s own company is celebrated in this book through the stories and some recipes that are shared with the reader.

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