By Suzanne Pirret (William Morrow/HarperOne, 2009)
Solo dining is not typically a four-star experience. Sadly, many a solitary diner has resorted to munching bowls of cereal or gobbling takeout fare while standing over the kitchen sink. According to chef Suzanne Pirret, these are all wasted opportunities for tremendous enjoyment. In the wildly funny The Pleasure Is All Mine, the stylish and astute Pirret celebrates dining alone with her collection of deluxe recipes for one. The recipes are accompanied by saucy vignettes that explain why some meals (messy foods, pricey foods, self-indulgent foods) are best enjoyed in solitude. Elegant recipes like those for tagliatelle with black truffles, steak tartare, and frisée with quince dressing are simple to prepare and require zero fancy equipment. Pirret focuses on quality ingredients over kitchen expertise and pleasure above all else, a value that is healthier than it seems at first glance. There’s not a “diet” ingredient in sight here, but when it comes to nourishment, a delightful meal made with fresh, whole-food ingredients will trump distractedly consumed processed fare every time. A great resource for anyone who eats alone now and then, this book will help you make the most of your table for one.