Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Judith Jones

'Tis the season to eat a lot so this year I frequented many holiday gatherings.  At one party, my roommate and I were admiring the different dishes on the table and one plate in particular that was empty.  I was telling Kelly how good the empty dish had been, when its creator happened to come by.  To make conversation by being hilariously self deprecating, Kelly jokingly asked her what it is like to be able to cook food that others actually want to eat.  We were told not to worry; once we had husbands and countless wedding showers, we would have the tools AND the reason to cook well!  Now, I'm sure this was well intentioned advice, however, are you serious?  Firstly, we cook well.  Secondly, we already have a very good reason to cook well, OURSELVES!

Cooking for friends is a great reason to make food as well.
This of course ignited a million questions and thoughts.  Are we to believe even eating is better while married?  Singles cannot create and enjoy beautiful food alone?  Is this something reserved only for our paired off peers?  Women only have reason to cook when a man is around? Why do we wait around for bridal showers to get suitable kitchen tools?

Millions of Cookbooks
Certainly this can't be true but if you check out the cookbook aisle at your local bookstore or library, or scroll through the countless food blogs on Pinterest, you will see most recipes are meant to feed more than one.  Grocery stores offer better deals in bulk and the price of a good set of knives these days requires multiple incomes.

Judith and Julia 
Leave it to CBS Sunday Morning (favorite show!) to provide the antidote to this sickening societal fail.  After they profiled her and her new book, The Pleasure of Cooking for One, I knew I wanted to know more about Judith Jones.

Working as an editor for most of her life, Judith is responsible for rescuing The Diary of Anne Frank from the reject pile and turning Julia Child into a household name.  Her new cookbook was inspired by life since her husband, Evan, passed away in 1996.
Evan and Judith
While married, Judith and Evan worked together to publish some of the greatest names in the culinary world.  They also co-wrote several cookbooks and enjoyed a life filled with fine dining, cooking, and traveling.  After he died, she felt that she would also lose her vibrant culinary life.  Cooking alone could not be as enjoyable.

This is what makes her new book so amazing.  It's basically a manifesto for the single cook.  She proves that you should live out what you love regardless of who you have (or don't have) to share it with.  This is not only a book for women or those who have found themselves single after years of having a partner.  She is simply writing about the joy of cooking for yourself.  She describes the tools you need, how to make the most of the food you buy, and how to prepare new meals from leftovers.  Most importantly, Judith takes the memories she has from life with her husband as inspiration for life with herself.

I'm sure there are many other cookbooks for the single chef, but this is more than that.  It's a reminder that no matter your age, gender, or relationship status, you are entitled to live life to the fullest extent.  Judith is 85 and after having an immensely successful career she is still reinventing her work.  Those who are unafraid of evolving and moving forward end up with the most beautiful lives.

Jones with the cows she raises at Bryn Teg Farms

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! I first heard about her on CBS Sunday Morning as well and I really enjoyed hearing about the relationship this woman had with her husband and that she didn't stop doing what they loved because she didn't have him around, she just revamped it to fit her new life.

    I also really loved that they were partners in everything. Work & life. It seemed that in a time where a woman should stay home, raise babies these two were an extremely progressive couple and I like that in her life now she is still making waves by not conforming to the "appropriate" lifestyle of a widow. She lives on her own, she runs a tiny little farm, she cooks for herself and she makes it happen! She didn't remarry to fill that space left by her husband, she filled it with new and exciting activities. This woman is pretty amazing.