Kitchen & Pantry

Lunch for one: children’s party meal

When I created the “Cooking for One” section in my food blog, I had very selfish motivations. At the time, my daughters were still living at home (Sam was in first year high school; Alex was in the 6th grade), Speedy was working full time and, five days a week, there was just me at home for lunch. I wrote back then: “Most times, I’m too lazy to cook. I survive on sandwiches and whatever leftovers there are from the previous night’s meal. Then, one day, I realized that being alone on weekdays is the best opportunity for experimenting and cooking dishes that might not look nor sound too attractive to my kids.”

That was over six years ago. Sam and Alex are both off to college, Speedy is semi-retired and he is home for lunch most weekdays. I really ought to create a “Cooking for Two” section but lunch is often a sandwich affair and there is already a sandwich section. Note though that the sandwiches that Speedy and I enjoy these days aren’t the same as the hurriedly made things I used to fix for myself six years ago. These are sandwiches worth photographing and sharing. Just go take a look.

Yesterday, however, was one of those rare days when I was home alone for lunch. Speedy had to make an emergency trip to the girls’ condo because Alex needed her cocktail dress and dress shoes for the gala night of the latest theatrical production that she’s involved in. Speedy, the doting father, brought her dress and shoes. I was planning on making a simple pasta dish for lunch when I realized how much cooked food there was in the fridge. Three sticks of beef satay from the night before (we were so full we couldn’t finish them all) and a bowl of mac and cheese left over from the cooked meals that the girls brought back to the condo the previous weekend. All I needed to do was reheat.

But then pasta without toast sounded incomplete. I like my pasta paired with buttery garlicky toast. So, after the taking out a stick of beef satay and the bowl of pasta from the fridge, I also took out two slices of my herbed and spiced butter.

As I took photos of my lunch (it’s an automatic thing already after food blogging for more than eight years), I realized how much it looked like a plate from a children’s party — pasta, barbecue and bread. But the similarity is really more apparent than real. Pasta in children’s parties often means spaghetti with red sauce. Barbecue wouldn’t be flavored with things like ginger, galangal, coriander paste peanut butter — that would be too complex for the palate of the average kid. And the toast? I doubt kids would eat toast with visible specks of green leaves. Well, except my kids, maybe. They were introduced to those things when they were still quite young.

There is no recipe to post at this point as the pasta dish you see in the photo above is just a simpler version of the mac and cheese in Christmassy colors. Additionally, you might also be interested in looking over the other mac and cheese recipes in the archive.

Mac and cheese with prawns and asparagus
Baked mac and cheese
Mac and cheese with ham and oyster mushrooms

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