Holly Hughes has lived in New York City since 1978, although there isn’t a day she doesn’t dream about moving. She is the founder and editor of 13 editions (and counting) of the annual Best Food Writing anthology. Her past also includes stints as the executive editor of Fodor’s Travel Publications, writer of 12 travel guides for Frommer’s (including 500 Places to See Before They Disappear and 500 Places to Take the Kids Before They Grow Up), and the author of 13 novels for adolescent girls. She and her husband Bob Ward have raised 3 children in NYC and the last of them is heading for college next fall. (Did anyone say “road trip”?) This essay originally appeared in Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (Riverhead Books‚ 2008).
Eating alone? Ah‚ that would be luxury. Cooking alone? That’s an entirely different thing—that I do every night. Or to be more precise‚ every night I am the only person in my kitchen whose activities are directed toward producing a meal for group consumption. There are other people in the kitchen‚ all right‚ but they are busy doing homework‚ or playing with the cat‚ or watching tv‚ or sneaking snacks to spoil their appetites‚ or arguing with the cook (me). They never offer to help with the cooking. No‚ they are simply hanging around‚ bored‚ at loose ends‚ just waiting to be fed.
“What are you going to put on that chicken?”
“What would you like me to put on that chicken?”
“I hate it when you do the tomato sauce.”
“Then what would you like me to put on that chicken?”
“Remember the time you made it with sweet peppers and onions?”
“Want me to do that again?”
“I specially hated it with the peppers and onions.”