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Having myself over for dinner: cultivating hospitality in solitude

Author: Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence, Communications Arts and Sciences
Posted on: May 22, 2009

I recant. For many years, Iíve said that if I lived alone, or were in a situation in which I had to eat alone often, I would subsist on Wheat Thins and plain Stonyfield Farm yogurt, purchased in the large container, and occasionally eaten with in-season fruit or a pickled green bean.

But I recant, and this is why. Several months ago, I received a letter from my sister-in-law Katie. Knowing my interest in food, she recommended a book to me, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. She also wrote,

“My point in recommending this book is that I think more thought must be devoted to those of us who have spent most of our 20ís (and perhaps our 30ís??) cooking, preparing, and eating alone. Sometimes itís beautiful-one can create weird concoctions that no one but you would eat, but also it is difficult as the very essence of eating is about sharing and being a part of something bigger than oneself.”

Katieís words were convicting to me. I recalled stating my alone-menu (above) to her, and possibly others, wondering aloud how one could possibly imagine eating alone in a restaurant, and feeling self-righteously thankful that, besides the lunches I ate at my computer during days working from home, I did not have to bother with the issue of eating alone. Please forgive me, friends and family.

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