Eating dinner solo can often seem like a sad state of affairs. How lonely! How sad! Is it even worth bothering to cook?!
Of course, sometimes this is true, and eating alone can be desperately sad if it’s not out of choice, if you’ve been let down by friends or family, or if loneliness is something you particularly struggle with.
However, when it is a choice, embarking upon a meal all on your lonesome can be strangely heartening and indulgent. Here are just a few reasons why…
1. You feel quite daring
Asking for a table for one in a restaurant promises quite a thrill. You win extra points if you manage to wrangle a whole booth to yourself.
2. You can eat standing up at the counter
There’s no need to lay the table for just you. Instead, you get to louchely stand at the counter, wolfing down dinner straight from the pan – it just makes everything taste better for some reason.
3. There’s far less washing up
One pan, one plate, one set of cutlery – the dishwasher can be relieved of its duties, the washing up takes two minutes, and you get more time to potter about watching telly and having a bath.
4. Anything on toast goes
It’s amazing how often you can treat yourself to ‘something on toast’ for dinner when it’s just you eating. A couple of spears of asparagus; a poached egg; bolognese sauce from the night before and the last of the cheese; a stray onion bahji, lettuce and a squeeze of lemon – it’s leftovers heaven.
5. You look elegant
Eating alone in a restaurant with a glass of wine and a book is impossibly sophisticated.
6. You can make weird concoctions for yourself that you just couldn’t serve to other people
There’s no one there to watch you dunk chips in peanut butter, or swirl hummus through your pasta – this can only be a good thing.
7. There is no limit on how much you can eat…
… because you don’t have to share it, or be polite over a second helping, or save it for someone else’s packed lunch the next day.
8. You can multitask without someone else getting offended
Search the internet, fill in that paperwork, put Netflix on, dance to the radio while eating one-handed. No fellow diner, means no having to make conversation. You can do whatever you want.
9. You can add a load of ketchup/mayonnaise/sriracha/salt to your plate
There’s no one there to raise a judgemental eyebrow, and no chef to offend, because you cooked it.
10. There’s something very Nigella about it
Silky dressing gown optional, but plundering the fridge alone feels incredibly decadent. And yes, you can have a slab of chocolate cake for your dinner. It’s the ultimate ‘me’ time.