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Going Solo in the Kitchen Paperback – August 25, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (August 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375703934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375703935
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Just because you are your household, don't assume eating solo limits you to having pizza, pancakes, or meat loaf in restaurants; buying them already prepared; or having to file extra portions in the freezer or the dustbin. As Jane Doerfer proves in Going Solo in the Kitchen, with no more effort than when cooking for two or more, one person can eat well and dine beautifully.

Doerfer's main strategies are to use fresh ingredients and to make friends with supermarket staff who can accommodate her needs in the land of large families. She gives detailed advice on storing foods--cooked chicken, for example, tastes better and has better texture when stored in liquid (like a sauce or broth), while potato salads and other prepared dishes keep better longer when left unsalted until just before serving.

Solo cooks do have advantages: you can eat what you want, as often as you want it, and the cost of a steak or lobster dinner is only for one.

Doerfer offers variations for recycling in case of leftovers. Her description of how to cut up a whole chicken is graphically clear (see "Chicken Management") and will save you money.

The recipes and techniques Doerfer offers will brighten the lives of solitary diners who love variety, good food, and home cooking. She provides recipes for everything you might want, from Chicken Noodle Soup to elegant Halibut with Asparagus, Cream Scones, perfectly cooked rice, and fresh, hot berry pie, made in just the right way for one. --Dana Jacobi

From Library Journal

Doerfer, who publishes a travel newsletter called Going Solo, also runs Going Solo in the Kitchen, a cooking school for cooks on their own. She provides more than 300 single-serving recipes along with the tricks and strategies she has devised to make cooking for oneself appealing, efficient, and economical. Many of the recipes include two or more variations, and there are ideas for leftovers as well. Just about all are quick and simple to prepare, and they are also tempting enough to lure "solos" used to depending on takeout or microwave dinners into the kitchen for some real food. Recommended.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The recipes I've tried have been easy and delicious.
Sue Kerns
While most recipes call for fresh ingredients, I've substituted canned and still had excellent results.
Penelope Brown
I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to cook an actual meal for just one person.
Carolyne Horton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

235 of 236 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
How refreshing to enjoy a realistic approach to cooking for one! Ingredients used throughout the cookbook are those that the average person has on hand, unlike most cookbooks on the market. In the rare event that a special ingredient is called for, an explanation is provided on how to shop for the ingredient and how to store it for maximum shelf life. Realistic freezer space is also considered, which gives this book an edge over others.
I greatly appreciate the modifications at the end of many recipes indicating what other ingredients may be substituted effectively (eg: to use chicken instead of shrimp, do this...). To me, learning a cooking technique has become more valuable after reading this book than simply memorizing a recipe. Offered suggestions for modifications illustrates the intention of each recipe (the specific process used, if you will). People say that cooking is not a mystery; it is simply a skill acquired through learning a few cooking methods and adjusting them creatively. This book helped me learn the basics so I can Finally begin to do my own exploring.
I have searched for years for a practical cookbook such as this. Since I began experimenting with recipes found in this text, my friends absolutely rave about my cooking! And for me, I have found myself declining invitations for fast food or pizza in favor of trying a new recipe in my own kitchen using a few leftovers from the previous day. I'm eating healthier, losing weight, and saving money. What could be better? Thank you for this book! Bravo!
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177 of 183 people found the following review helpful By M. Apsey on March 5, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even without a single recipe--and there are more than 350 of them if you didn't notice--this book is a wonderfully enjoyable tutorial for solo shopping in family-sized stores, managing food until it's prepared and served, varying the ingredients to match your tastes (or pantry) and finally, suggestions for leftovers right there at the end of the recipe, where they belong--sort of a thesaurus cooking concept. I love that.
Jane is nutritionally aware and savvy, with a good background in both gardening and using the stuff that comes out of one and into the kitchen to taste advantage.
But wait! There's another important dimension to this book: Jane Doerfer was not *always* a solo cook, nor was she wearing the latest in apron and kitchen gadget-fashions when she typed the manuscript (shameless plug for Le Crueuset, aside). Instead, I suspect she found herself "suddenly solo" and needing to make the best of it--which she clearly does.
This book is a good mix of earthy "touchable" and "do-able" meals and ingredients and what I might call evening bistro fare. I also found it uplifting, inspiring, and an excellent reminder of the many silver linings to be found beneath the cloud of finding yourself unexpectedly dining alone--a cloud which drives so many souls to accepting food passed through a rolled-down car-window even though they may know better.
The recipes and ideas are great and they work. The book was so well focused to my interest that I read the entire thing in a couple of sittings, taking pantry-stock notes, and folding page corners as I went along.
The hardcover is already out-of-print I see. If you are a solo cook, buy this book now, while it's still available, in stock, and in print and you will join me in thanking Jane for troubling herself to write these things down.
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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful By lovelymuse on October 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
lots of great basic advice - kitchen utensils, food storage, shopping tips. one of the best things about this book is that following nearly every recipe is a section on possible variations, and then suggestions for leftovers. perfect for someone like me who likes to plan out meals in advance. plus that sort of thing keeps me creative in the kitchen. the recipes are very user friendly, and her tone is conversationally fun. the actual recipe's themselves are good but not outstanding. I haven't disliked anything I've made from this book. I think the recipes are better in Toni Lydecker's SERVE'S ONE, but this book is definately a solid buy, especially if you are semi - new to cooking for just yourself. (another plus is that most of the recipes I've tried up-size easily if need be)
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Meyer on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book about a month ago so I could have a general reference cookbook for single-sized portions. I have found it exactly that; I just made the roasted cornish game hen tonight, and was very impressed. The other recipes in the book sound excellent, and solve a lot of the portion issues I get with other books.

That being said, a few caveats. I bought the book a reasonably experienced cook; this is an excellent reference, but not the best one to learn how to cook from. Also, the recipes are on the simple side; I use another cookbook, Solo Suppers, for more 'fancy' type dishes that better utilize the ingredients available in my neighborhood.

But if you wanted that pot roast or roast chicken or spaghetti and found dividng the recipe by four didn't quite work, this is the perfect book.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy on November 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've always disliked cooking, but I finally got fed up with warming up frozen dinners and eating take-out. It was too expensive, unhealthy, and didn't even taste that great. I wanted home-made food. So I bit the bullet and started cooking. I was pleased to find that, at last, the publishing industry has seen the need to cater (heh) to single folks--suddenly, I didn't have to worry about preparing an entree that would feed five people.

Overall I've been very pleased with this cookbook. It suits my needs almost perfectly, although I can see how it would miss some audiences: some of the recipes do require you to keep expensive, perishable ingredients on hand, and some do take a little longer to prepare than the book suggests. But I pick and choose, and I'm pretty good about figuring out which recipes I can handle (like I said, I'm a novice) and which ones are still beyond me. The ones that work, work really well. Suddenly I don't feel like a moron in front of a stove, and I've actually started to look forward to grocery shopping and cooking so I can try new things.

I wish the book had better nutritional information about the recipes, and some more precise instructions on food preparation ("Heat the oil in the skillet and add the meat"? What heat level should I use before everything turns into smoke and char? I'm new at this!). But overall, I'm very pleased. I highly recommend this book to single cooks who aren't exactly geniuses in the kitchen, and who don't want to spend hours fixing dinner, but who want home-made food that's not all out of a can. Trust me: if I can cook from this book, anybody can.
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