Cooking can feel like the last thing you want to do when you are grieving. Your appetite might be gone, and shopping and cooking for one, setting the table for one, and sitting down to eat alone just reminds you of what you have lost. You might simply not have enough energy to cook (spoon theory isn't just about chronic illness). In a world where everything is packed in two, or four, or huge multipacks, cooking for one can feel very wasteful, or make you feel trapped into eating the same thing every day for a week.
When you just can't face cooking
In the early days I didn't really want to eat much, and then if I did want to eat I certainly didn't want to cook. Remember at this time, eating anything is better than eating nothing, and now is not the time to be counting calories or stressing about dieting.
There are quick and easy alternatives that get you through the bad days.
Recipe boxes and ready meals
Recipe boxes provide you with all the fresh ingredients you need, which takes the pressure of shopping away, and reduces waste. Hello Fresh and Mindful Chef provide one portion meals. Gousto recipe boxes serve two, but you can split what you make and have it the next day.
Potage, Cook and Wiltshire Farm Foods deliver single portion ready meals for the freezer (Wiltshire Farm Foods also does meals for special dietary needs) and Mindful Chef has a range of ready meals, soups and broths. Allplants and Planty deliver single portion vegan ready meals for the freezer.
Many of the plans have introductory offers, with reduced prices for the first few deliveries.
Keeping it simple
When you start to cook for yourself, keep it simple. That doesn't mean dull food, just food that can be made in single portions, prepared quickly and don't involve waste.
Learning to cook
Some people face living alone being unable to cook, or lacking confidence in their own abilities. And while all the television shows on cooking are great, they can make the whole process look really daunting. These resources are also useful for people looking for inspiration.
The two best things I bought for the kitchen were a soup maker and an air frier. My soup maker means that I can load it up with veg and stock and half an hour later I've got my five a day in a mug, with another portion for later. Some will also make smoothies, sauces and even jam.
My air frier is effectively a tiny fan oven, and means that I don't need to put the oven on when I'm cooking for one. As well as making awesome roasted vegetables, great baked potatoes (microwave them first and then finish them in the air fryer, nice crispy bacon and rather good chips, it's great for warming through bread rolls and yesterday's left-over slice of quiche.
When you have the energy, and feel like a day in the kitchen, batch cooking means you can cook in larger batches but not be stuck eating the same thing every day. You'll also have a freezer full of ready meals made exactly to your taste.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.