Food writer, author, and chef Klancy Miller on the art of cooking to please — and show love to — you, and only you.
– KEYS SOULCARE
As we enter a season defined by abundance, we’re curious about cultivating it within.
From 2000 to 2004, Klancy Miller was a chef-in-training in Paris. In love with her new city, she spent her time there reckoning with the desire to eat well but not spend all of her money on restaurants and groceries. Years later, she turned that inner tussle into her first book, Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself, a mix of memories and her best recipes.
“If I were to boil it down into a mission statement, it would be that I want to encourage people to nurture themselves and nourish themselves,” says Klancy, who’s also written about food and cooking for Cherry Bombe, Bon Appetit and The Washington Post. “We often think of extending generosity and love towards other people through food. And my thinking is that I am just as worthy of the generosity that I would extend to somebody else. You are just as worthy of that generosity towards yourself as your partner, your kids, your family, your best friends, et cetera.”
To infuse your solo meals with fun and flavor, follow Klancy’s Rituals:
Cater to your appetite… and your energy
“Sometimes, I’ll ask myself if I really am in a high-energy cooking mode or not,” says Klancy. “If not, then I’m not going to make an elaborate meal. Maybe I’ll just poach some fish and broil vegetables. And that’s simple, but so cool.”
Have fun with it
“Going to a farmer’s market is really fun for me because it lets my imagination play a bit,” says the chef, who encourages people not to be shy about asking sellers for ingredient prep ideas. “I’ll admit, I’m a person that enjoys the learning that comes with a trip to the grocery store… so my advice is to make a field trip out of it!”
Appetize your ears, too
“Make yourself a [cooking and eating] playlist, get into the mood, and create an ambiance,” advises Klancy, whose current favorite background tracks include the recent Patti LaBelle-meets-Gladys-Knight Verzuz and anything by Erykah Badu. “I recently went down a Nick Hakim rabbit hole after hearing [Badu] collaborate with him for the first time,” she added.
Love a sauce? Buy the sauce
“As a cookbook author and chef, I officially sign off on people buying condiments that help them elevate their meals — sometimes you don’t feel like being the person who made the sauce!” says Klancy, who sides with solo diners who don’t love the monotony of leftovers night after night… “Prepare your protein or a salad, put an amazing sauce on it, and you have, like, a next-level meal.”
(Speaking of sauces, she lists Basbaas, Omsom, and Haven’s Kitchen among her go-to’s, in addition to her own lemon-garlic tahini vinaigrette recipe which is incredible on everything from roasted veggies to fish and chicken.)
Are you in the habit of cooking for just you? Share your go-to rituals or anything that inspired you from this piece in the comments.