Food

What Do You Eat When You’re Home Alone?

baguette

Next week, the craziest thing is happening…

I’M GOING TO BE ALONE IN MY HOUSE.

After a year of everyone being around at all times — Anton singing down the hallway, Toby shouting at basketball scores, Alex tapping impossibly loudly on his keyboard — I’m going to find myself alone in the apartment without a single sound except the humming fridge.

Alex will be visiting his mom, and the boys will be sleeping downstairs (so I won’t be technically alone, but I’ll be the only one conscious).

Here’s my plan.

I’m going to get a gooey soft cheese from the grocery store, a box of crunchy crackers and some green grapes. I’m going to sip sparking water from a tall wine glass. I’m going to watch Palm Springs for the third time. I might do a Baby Foot peel. And I’m going to love it.

What do you eat when you’re home alone? Any other funny solo behavior?

P.S. A funny marriage debate, and 12 food experts on what they eat when they’re home alone.

  1. Nights alone for me = “date night”, aka me + my couch + my dogs. They get extra treats and I make a BIG bowl of braised-to-death/charred-to-a-crisp veggies (winter/summer editions) finished with too much olive oil, nutritional yeast, and fresh lemon. Dessert is a just-barely-baked, molten chocolate chip cookie followed by an early bedtime and shameless puppy-cuddling.

  2. Rach says...

    2 minute noodles!!!

    Without side eye judgement from my other half 😝

  3. Monica says...

    The last two times I was home alone(ish) I actually painted walls and did late night house projects!

    Then I made a singles batch of chocolate chip cookie butter frosting and chocolate cupcakes and ate that with a glass of cheapo red wine.

    I’m actually going away for two nights (with the baby) in June to plan our 21/22 homeschool year. I’m going to a little farm stay and will stop at our local French bakery on the way for breakfast treat!

  4. Liz says...

    This happened to me LAST NIGHT. And I forgot it was going to occur, so it was like a treat! The kids were asleep, and I drank beers and ate spicy potato chips and stove popped popcorn with olive oil. A few hours of bliss after a year after of togetherness and a new baby added to the mix.

  5. Michelle says...

    My husband volunteers with students on Sunday nights. A couple weeks ago I told my girls that I didn’t feel like cooking since it was “just us” and my 6 year old said “Let’s just do snack dinner, mom!” We piled a bunch of random stuff on the table and lounged and chatted. My husband is super low-maintenance when it comes to meals but it was still fun to feel like we were cheating the system!

  6. Eliza says...

    Not home alone, but once I was by myself in Brussels for a work trip and found myself without dinner plans. I treated myself to a lovely “dinner” of duck fat frites and a box of fine Belgian chocolates from Pierre Marcolini. I felt positively terrible afterwards…and like a little kid who had to learn the hard way that 100% indulging cravings is not always the best idea!

    • Josie says...

      Meant to add “In this delightful and much buzzed-about essay collection, 26 food writers like Nora Ephron, Laurie Colwin, Jami Attenberg, Ann Patchett, and M. F. K. Fisher invite readers into their kitchens to reflect on the secret meals and recipes for one person that they relish when no one else is looking.” Read it today!

    • Brenna says...

      I bought that too when it came out and have re-read it more than once!

  7. Julie says...

    I love love love the rare nights when I am home alone. It’s my guilty pleasure. I have a glass of wine, some yummy cheese or pate, and watch a movie of my own choice or spend hours reading completely uninterrupted! Heaven.

  8. Kay says...

    I am never alone *cue tears* but when the kids are asleep and the husband’s out smoking his joint, I make toast. There’s two kinds I’m loving, both on sourdough toast: 1) ricotta with hiney drizzled over it, and
    2)peanut butter, a squeeze of lime juice, a sprig of cilantro and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes ( I saw this on Beryl’s Youtube video and had to make it).
    Enjoy!!

    • AMK says...

      Wow fascinating about adding peanut butter!!! Will definitely try it!

    • Jessica Cash says...

      YUM!

  9. Susan M. says...

    This REALLY resonated with me. I have not yet had my home alone moment. It has been more than a year of me working at home with 2 kids e-learning and husband working at home. I have wondered: what will I actually do when I get to be alone for a few hours? The number of things revolve around in my head. I don’t have a plan!

  10. Erica says...

    Indulgence for me looks like dinner at 5 pm!

    If my husband had it his way, we’d be eating at 9 pm every night (he was raised in Peru and Italy, where it’s all about late-night dining). I always preferred an early dinner so I could have the rest of the evening to go on a walk/read/DIGEST. When we were dating, we compromised on dinner at 7-7:30 pm, and have stuck to it regularly. BUT when I’m alone, it’s all about the early bird special…and a glass of wine to wash it down!

  11. Lori says...

    I heard about this on the crappy friends podcast (actually the same one where I heard about Babyfeet) and just had to try it. Toast some sweetened coconut flakes and then mix them into whipped cream – home made or from the can…who cares? Yum

    • Lori says...

      Being nosy here, but can you say more about the situation with the boys sleeping downstairs? Is that where friends, family or kid loving neighbors like to have sleepovers?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, do you mean my kids sleeping downstairs? We lived in a parlor/garden apartment, where the parlor floor is the main space (kitchen, living room, etc) and the garden level has the bedrooms. So, our bedrooms are downstairs. Hope that makes sense!

  12. Mimi says...

    Alvarado’s bread toast with creamy peanut butter, sliced banana drizzle of agave and se salt

  13. Helen says...

    I was home alone the other day and had just bought a BIG tub of spicy hummus. And “guilt free” pita cheeks which I didn’t even mean to buy because I have absolutely no guilt eating normal pita chips and I won’t be starting now. Anyways, I caught up on Handmaids Tale which by the end I realized I ate the entire tub, somehow snuck like 2 (4) cookies in there, and finished off with a cucumber. Then I opened a summer shandy at 4pm. It was the best thing I’ve done in MONTHS.

    • Rebecca Hasse says...

      Sounds perfect!

    • Caitlin says...

      This sounds AMAZING!

  14. Lauren says...

    Thick, spicy lentil-and-potato stew topped with a handful of shredded raw carrot, homemade roasted tomato-and-jalapeno salsa with lots of lime and cilantro, and shredded Parmesan cheese; it’s what I would cobble together for my break meal when I worked at a restaurant in high school, and it is the best, most comforting combo of flavors and textures in the world. I make a pot so big that it takes me a week of glorious lunches and dinners to get through it. My husband has started calling it Lauren Surprise because there is zero mystery about what I’ll eat when he’s traveling.

    • Andrea Leet says...

      This sounds like something I could eat everyday!

    • B D says...

      Can you post this recipe?!

    • Mina says...

      Sounds amazing – could you share the recipe?

    • Lauren says...

      Sure! This is very rough, but when I wrote it out years ago the proportions were something like:
      1/2 pound dry lentils
      bay leaf
      2+ c vegetable broth (maybe more?? I just get a 32-ounce carton and see where the evening takes me)
      ~2 tbsp olive oil
      2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      1/2 onion, finely chopped
      1 carrot, finely chopped
      1 celery stalk, finely chopped
      misc. herbs and spices (see below)
      1 small-medium potato, peeled and chopped (optional; if you decide to throw this in, wait until the other veggies have already simmered for a bit)
      salt and pepper
      rough-grated Parmesan
      shredded raw carrot
      hot salsa (I make mine by roasting 4-5 big tomatoes and 3-4 jalapenos, then whizzing with a stick blender + lime juice + cilantro; let it chill for a bit if you can before using it on the stew, the temperature contrast is very satisfying!)

      Chuck the lentils in a smallish pot, cover them with broth, then add a bay leaf and simmer until they’re al dente. Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a medium stock pot, then soften the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the softened lentils and enough vegetable broth to cover them to the stock pot of softened veggies; bring the mixture to a simmer and leave it uncovered to reduce for about fifteen minutes. You’re basically making a brothless lentil stew; at the start of your simmer, add a few wintery herbs and spices (I’ve used everything from pimenton, oregano, and Penzeys Mural of Flavor to villikryd, a combination of Icelandic herbs like arctic thyme, birch and moss; I almost always add some cayenne or chile de arbol, as I LOVE spice). Once the broth has pretty much left town, remove and discard the bay leaf, season with some salt and pepper, and you’re done. Ladle into a bowl, then add a sprinkle of parmesan, a handful of shredded carrot, and a robust spoonful (or two or three) of salsa.

  15. Eileen says...

    I love this post and the comments! I plate sharp cheddar cheese and triscuits with a bowl of cream of mushroom soup on the side and watch Gilmore Girls starting with season 2. Then in the morning, make a good cup of coffee, snuggle up in bed with it and a good book for at least an hour before I get up and go work out. Just dreaming about no one crying for mom first thing in the morning seems glorious.

    • Ana D. says...

      Oh my god. That sounds so good.

    • MARINA says...

      Hey, Eileen! I’m a Gilmore Girls fan too! Just loved your plan!

  16. Steph says...

    Corn dogs (for some reason I feel the need to show restraint and eat just one around my family) and elaborate salads. Many, many cookies.

  17. Alyssa says...

    Salt & vinegar cape cod chips poured into a bowl (fancy) with a few ice cold negronis! Enjoy the quiet!

    • Dana says...

      The specificity of this simple comment (the brand of the chips, the flavor of the chips, the bowl, the multiple negronis) really fed my soul. (I also want all of those things.)

  18. K says...

    ooh, um

    A ribeye steak
    Whole Foods ready-made guacamole (the stuff feels so pricey for what it is but I like it)
    Van Leeuwen strawberry ice cream
    triple cream brie with water crackers
    frozen steak fries baked in the fat from the ribeye steak
    if not fries then olive oil potato chips
    maybe a frozen pizza (it’s a different vibe from fresh gourmet pizza)

  19. Dana says...

    My very favorite thing to eat when I’m alone is piping hot goat cheese mashed potatoes and a glass of crispy cold white wine.

    • Katie says...

      Well, you ruined your alone time cause I’m coming over to eat that NOW at your place, Dana!

    • suki says...

      I’ll see you your goat-cheese mashed potatoes and raise you FETA mashed potatoes. But ditto “crispy cold white wine”.

  20. sarah says...

    Would love to hear if you are not drinking right now? Always love hearing about sober curiosity/choices!

  21. Rose says...

    I love having a cold beer in the shower when I’m solo!

    • beth says...

      I am not a big beer drinker, but I LOVE a cold beer in the shower every now and again!

    • Kamina says...

      Yes! Seconds to shower beer! I’m Australian and think this is normal. My Irish friends heard about it and thought it was crazy. So now I wonder if it’s something endemic to certain parts of the world.

    • Emma says...

      I’m not a big drinker so I’ll often drink half a beer in the shower and pour the rest in my hair. Spa day!

  22. Stephanie says...

    I would order Thai food! My partner isn’t a fan, and since we always eat together these days, I haven’t had it in ages!

    • Jenny by the sea says...

      I feel you, Stephanie. My husband is allergic to cheese – he can’t even bear the smell, so mostly I just don’t have it in the house. Now he’s going back to the office two days a week, I am all about toasted cheese sandwiches, pizza, or that TikTok baked feta pasta for my solo lunches.

    • jrg says...

      same here! i always order a ton of thai food when my husband is away, so funny.

  23. Rosie says...

    I was alone for a month last summer, and it was amazing. My wife and daughter took a road trip to her parent’s lake house and then stayed for three weeks. I was disappointed and felt left out at first. Still, within a couple of days, I was walking around naked, eating popcorn for dinner, ordering insane quantities of Chinese food and living off the leftovers for days, and baking pies full of Farmer’s Market fruit to eat all by myself straight out of the pan. I also ran every single day and ended up losing weight despite my eating habits. I was beyond happy to see them when they got back, but I’m so excited that they’re doing it again this year, though this time I’m going to fly up for a long weekend.

    • Susan M. says...

      Love this! Full on!

    • Rebecca Hasse says...

      Sounds fantastic! Enjoy!

    • Robin says...

      Wandering around naked… yes!

  24. Karyn says...

    Agree with all of those that said a big bowl of buttery popcorn all to myself! Along with a side of chocolate and rosé. I

  25. allison says...

    When I’m alone I take that opportunity to eat all of the gloppy things from my childhood. Poutine, pot pie, cream chowders, americanized chinese with thick sticky sauce, etc. The other imperative is that I eat what I want when I want, no need to create full meals at specific times of day.

  26. Alexis says...

    I’d make a giant bowl of buttery, salty popcorn and pour a big glass of red wine. Then sit on the couch that I never get to sit on and watch my true crime docs/SVU/Katherine Heigl romcoms all day. I usually have to watch my shows on the computer or even on my phone because the TV is otherwise occupied by gaming or Waffles & Mochi (which I also love but I don’t like to share my popcorn).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Then sit on the couch that I never get to sit on ” = haha we have a fought-over couch, too!

    • Brenna says...

      Couch wars! My husband always hogged the best couch until last year when I thrifted an oversize plush velvet one that was even comfier. I was–and am–very pleased. I let him lay on it when he’s sick.

  27. DG says...

    I make rice or cous cous and top with tomato sauce and a fried egg. (Sometimes I poach the egg in the tomato sauce, sometimes I don’t.) I recently made it for my husband for the first time and he (surprisingly) liked it, too! Something comforting about it.

    Enjoy your “time off!”

  28. frozen grain free cheese pizza i love the brand against the grain from VT. whole foods sells it i think. they bake cheese into the crust and it feels like just the right amount.
    for breakfast, museli with coconut yogurt and chopped apples…
    a little sipping tequila – casa dragones or casamigos are my go-to’s.

    • Isabelle M Ellingson says...

      tequila in the evening lol ! not for breakfast.

    • Ana D. says...

      That is my favorite frozen pizza.

  29. S says...

    sounds like a dream. brie and blueberries and bread. i’m caring for my husband, stage IV cancer, and 4yo, i’m grateful for them, but i’m exhausted.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds really hard, S. sending you a big hug xoxo

    • Liz says...

      Oh, S. My dad had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Caring for loved ones through this is so sacred and so hard. I’m thinking of you and your husband and your kiddo. Hoping for as much joy and peace for you all as possible.

    • b says...

      Liz and S, sending you both gentle hugs.

    • Storm says...

      Just saw your comment and wanted to send you some love from afar. There is nothing much that I, a stranger on the Internet, can do but please know that I am thinking about you and your family. Oh, and blueberries with brie sounds sensational, I will definitely try this – and I will get the fancy bread from the bakery in your honour.

    • Jen says...

      Sending hugs and well-wishes.

  30. Elspeth says...

    Ooh I have the house to myself this weekend, loving these ideas!!

  31. Hayley B says...

    Instant noodles with deep fried slices of SPAM! Just me?

    If I feel like being a smidge healthier I’ll bake up slices of spam in the oven until they’re good and crispy, then arrange them on slices of wholemeal bread and top them off with generous dollops of ketchup, for a spam sandwich 🥪 straight out of my childhood. There’s nothing remotely leafy, veggie-adjacent or even a slice of cheese or fresh tomato in it, just straight up processed meat and ketchup. Delish!!

    • Maryn says...

      Oooooh spam. Now I want some. Yum.

  32. Jessica says...

    Greasy pizza and Titanic for the upteenth time followed by my nightly tub and COJ perusing. I’m not just saying this! You guys are part of my nightly ritual. I can’t go to bed without seeing what my friends over here are up to.

  33. Karin says...

    The last time I was alone was 14.5 months ago and I had a Five Guys cheeseburger and fries (and their fries are enough to feed a family!) and a piece of chocolate cream pie while watching Netflix.

    Have an adult child back living at home now, so I may never be alone again, but if I am I will re-create that evening.

    • Dana says...

      YES! Second the Five Guys. It’s my go-to alone delivery meal. (My kid is allergic to peanuts, so because they fry in peanut oil I *have* to wait til she’s asleep to eat them. It feels EXTRA decadent and sneaky that way.) The other day my husband said “you know, I like Five Guys too. We can order it when I’m actually home.” But…I think that would kind of ruin it.

  34. Sarah says...

    One of my absolute favorite things about living alone (and there are many) is that I get to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, all by myself! :D

  35. Siobhan says...

    Oil-popped popcorn with lots of melted butter. And salt and parmesan cheese. I really don’t like sharing popcorn with anyone!

  36. Ali says...

    Do the foot peel now so when they’re gone next week you can do the peeling part!

  37. Sara says...

    I would kill for a night alone. But also, I think I’d spend a lot of time looking out the front door waiting for my people to come back! It’s complicated.

    If I could, though, I’d eat several slices of that very bad-for-you garlic toast from the freezer selection along with a bag of salad mix from the produce area, followed by a pint of ice cream. Very little cooking happening when I’m alone.

  38. April says...

    Nachos!

  39. Alexandra says...

    My go-to snack is this: I buy a chèvre log at Trader Joe’s, bake it in the oven until its get warm, melty, and crispy around the edges, put it in a bowl topped with honey and sometimes chopped nuts, then scoop it up with crackers. Heaven.

    • Laura says...

      YUM. I’m trying this!

    • A says...

      Um what?! This sounds so good! Definitely going to try.

  40. gg says...

    about to give birth to my second baby and a few months ago I got an Airbnb ALONE (10 minutes away from home), ate crackers and cashew cheese, watched trashy TV and did face masks! so nice and I recommend to everyone!

    • Thuy says...

      Good for you, so wish I did that!

  41. Lenneke says...

    pastasalad with loads of goatcheese. I eat a huge bowl, preferably in bed.

    • Ana D. says...

      Oh holy night. That’s amazing.

  42. bev says...

    I enjoy cooking as a relaxing creative hobby so sometimes I’ll make a recipe I pick up by watching youtube. Recently I fell into an Indian cooking loop in YT and while I don’t understand any of the language and there are often no translations I look up the name and a recipe and so this weekend I will be trying Dhokla. I have a huge selection of GF flours in the pantry and this one uses chickpea flour as well as being vegan so I can’t wait to taste it!

    I live in the suburbs far from anything exotic so this is a fun way to amuse myself and try another culture’s food.

    • Emilie says...

      I love this idea, Bev!! Especially when we can’t travel :) Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jillian Leigh Tijerina says...

      I love this, Bev!! What a beautiful way of exploring from home. Excited to hear how it turns out!

  43. Courtney says...

    The last time this happened to me (for longer than a 20-minute stretch) was July 3, 2020 when my husband took the two older kids on a trip and the baby was at daycare. It will be happening again in a few weeks and I CAN’T WAIT. I take the day off so I can really appreciate it. I’ll treat myself to fancy coffee in the morning, eat junk food without the kids bugging me for some. binge stuff no one else wants to watch (last year it was the entire season of Never Have I Ever), get whatever takeout I want and eat it on the couch, maybe take a nap, do a workout and take a shower with no interruptions. The baby (now toddler) will come back at some point but once he’s in bed it will be more of the same, but with wine!

    • Courtney says...

      Oh and as for what I’ll eat … probably Lucky Charms at some point :) If I’m really feeling lazy (but also fancy?), I’ll microwave a truffle mac and cheese for dinner and have that with red wine.

    • Meredith says...

      I am so excited for you!
      It has been so hard to get alone time this year, and it is so revitalizing.

  44. Annie says...

    Egg noodles with butter and fresh grated parmesan

    • Josephine says...

      Yes. Always this.

  45. Laura says...

    I love to make guacamole and eat it with tortilla chips! Also, a sliced baguette topped with roasted garlic (goes on like butter, oh my goodness, so yummy!) and brie or camembert, a glass of red wine if I have it. For take-out, I’ll usually order sushi (avocado rolls are the best!). Enjoy your quiet time!

  46. Cheryl says...

    When I used to travel for business, or on those rare occasions when I get the house to myself, my routine is always the same: I make a mini charcuterie board with “special” cheeses and crackers that I don’t usually buy, fancy honey or fig jam, nuts like choc covered almonds, etc. I pour myself some wine, pick at the mini board, and watch something like historical drama or something else that my husband would veto. As an introvert (and cheese addict), these occasions are pure bliss.

  47. Emily Dietsch says...

    usually i abandon meals entirely and go full-time grazer, just shuffling around and nibbling on a handful of this or a small plateful of that.

    it tends to be really healthy stuff–which probably seems counterintuitive! but it feels refreshing to me, since my guy is a stereotypical meat-and-potatoes eater and i don’t get to max out on fresh, light things often with him.

    oh, and baked potatoes with really hot salsa. i LOVE them but most people find them disgusting (or at least perplexing).

    • Rachel says...

      Same!! My boyfriend is a “need to eat animal protein for every meal” type of guy also, so when he is out of town I love to whip up pasta based vegetarian meals or order from our local bougie pizza place rather than get our standard pepperoni order :)

  48. Kara says...

    Linguini with clam sauce (the kind from a can) with extra chopped clams thrown in and a crusty bread. No one else in my family likes this dish so it is my ultimate eating alone comfort food.

    I’ve actually been scouring Airbnb lately, looking for just the right little cabin that is cozy, scenic, cheap, and close to home, so I can get away for a weekend alone. I’ll make a big pot of linguini to eat all by myself and, I don’t know, just stare out a window for two to three hours in silence? Sounds heavenly.

  49. Megan says...

    I recently had a brief window of alone time where my husband and kiddo were both out of the house together and I enjoyed it by lounging on the couch and listening to some music (Cat Power) the kiddo would have immediately objected to.
    I didn’t have any snacks or special foods, but I do have to say there’s nothing like making a big bowl of guacamole that you don’t have to share with anyone. And you can double dip! Ha.

    • Rosalie says...

      Oh, Cat Power! Also my perfect alone music.

  50. al says...

    word to the wise on the baby foot – I did this early pandemic, and while the skin sloughing off was medium-gratifying, later in the summer I was absolutely plagued with blisters in shoes I had already worn in. The soft feet won’t last as long as the reminder that some calluses are friends!

  51. Joy says...

    I love time alone in my house with my things. I’m an introvert so I need alone time to recharge. It’s been more than a year with my kids and husband (who I dearly love to spend time with!) always around, and I’ve felt just… sort of half-charged for the past 6 months or so. I definitely took time alone for granted pre-parenthood.

    • Nina says...

      Joy- I can very much relate to the half-charged comment. Having a day alone, while I would miss husband and kid, sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

  52. Cg says...

    For a while, I was eating tortilla chips with pico de gallo every day. Literally I’d have cereal in the morning. Then tortilla chips and salsa for lunch, and then again at dinner.

    I must’ve been deficient in some vitamin or something from tomatoes.

    • Jill says...

      Hahaha!! “Deficient in some vitamin or something”.
      Perfect comment, CG.

  53. Sarah says...

    I was miraculously home alone recently when my husband volunteered to take our kids skiing for the day. I slept in, finished a book, made brunch, started a Jane Austen miniseries, went for a run, finished the Jane Austen miniseries, and took a nap. When I woke up it was 2 pm. Moral of the story: I would be WAY more productive without my family.

  54. Gwen says...

    My husband just started a new job that requires him to travel for up to 4 weeks at a time during the summer. Red meat upsets his stomach and he is not a fan of broccoli or cauliflower, so I have been taking the opportunity to eat all the steak and cruciferous veggies I please. Typically I experiment with new recipes, but I am taking it easy and going for really simple foods that don’t need a complicated recipe and also using more convenience items. For example, last night I cooked some chicken breasts using our sous-vide stick and ate that over a bagged salad kit. It helps make up for not having an extra set of hands around the house.

  55. Lauren says...

    So this can obviously only be posted by me anonymously on the internet. But my go to meal when I’m alone in the house: totinos pizza (you know, the cardboard-like dirt cheap ones), cheese popcorn (the orange colored one. . . Cheddar?), and buttered noodles with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese (the type from the green shaker that can live for 22 years in your fridge and taste just fine). LIVING. MY. DREAM.

    • K says...

      Hahaha there are basically two types of responses on here: the people who make special, fancy food and the people who eat garbage. I’m with you – Team Garbage Food!

  56. Bay says...

    I’ve gotten a box of the fanciest, avant guard chocolates I can find because I never do that and it is so fun to have it all to yourself, haha. Very indulgent. Chocolate bonbon’s are so amazing lately.

  57. hali says...

    This is disgusting, I am aware: my favorite solo meal is microwaved frozen broccoli (not sure why, but frozen really fits the bill here, probably because it’s fast and no clean up), cottage cheese, and salsa. Preferably the junky kind of salsa, like a pace picante mild. My husband turns his nose up a little at all three of these foods and would be HORRIFIED to be served a bowl of them together. But the one or two times a year I get to enjoy it, it’s usually in a dark and quiet living room with my feet up. What a treat.

    I’m also also a HUGE, HUGE fan of raw carrots with mustard… don’t knock it til you try it.

    More widely palatable indulgences include: Sourdough toast with butter and jam. Baked sweet potato out of the foil with salt. Dark chocolate by the brick-load. And chunks of that cheese from TJs that has salty crystals in it. Also, a slice of day old refrigerated cake cut straight from the cake with a fork and delivered promptly into my mouth.

    • Mel says...

      I am 100% on board with the microwaved frozen broccoli and cottage cheese. If we don’t have salsa, I’ll top it with garlic salt. If we don’t have frozen broccoli, frozen Brussels sprouts are great too. This is what I eat when I work late and the kids are asleep when I get home

    • Shannon Waterman says...

      Since you seem into trying stuff…peanut butter and dill pickles. You won’t regret it. Aim for pb that is natural. That is all. So very delicious!

  58. Annie says...

    Yay, Joanna! Sounds like a dream. I’m with you on the soft/stinky cheese. Other solo eats I’ve enjoyed recently (more-so for lunches): avocado toast with fried egg, or this upgraded ramen: https://iamafoodblog.com/tiktok-ramen/

  59. Mouse says...

    Fancy snack dinner! Glass of rose or Lillet, olives, cheese, crackers, slices of cucumber. Or a salad of lots of different kinds of greens. Or, lately, that bizarrely yummy celery and sardine salad with olives, capers, lemon. Basically anything that is NOT substantial. My husband is a builder and he needs DINNER most of the time, so it’s lovely when I’m alone to eat more like I used to do.

  60. soama says...

    Your baguette photo reminded me of what I love to make occasionally: garlic bread on a split, toasted baguette, swiped into warm, gooey, high-end fondu. Eaten slowly while watching an anticipated movie.

    • soama says...

      ugh! “your” lol

  61. Kate says...

    I live with three roommates, and yesterday evening I suddenly realized I was alone in the house. This NEVER happens. It felt briefly exciting to have the whole place to myself. In hindsight, that might explain why I ate an entire chocolate bar for dinner…

    • Kristiana says...

      Amen. What a treat when the housemates are gone.

  62. maywyn says...

    As I read this post, I began missing homemade plum roll ups from a specialized deli market.

  63. Hilary says...

    My all-time favorite alone ritual is sadly on hold (damn you to the moon, pandemic) but when I used to travel to SF for work, I’d go for a long walk or run, then sweatily walk down the street to my favorite Thai place for takeout brown rice and pumpkin curry. On the way back into the hotel, I’d stop by the bar and pick up a glass of champagne, real cutlery and a bowl. After a hot shower, I would plate up my curry, slide on some under-eye gel patches, watch the shows my husband doesn’t like (Jane the Virgin, holla) and eat IN BED with nobody to be mad that the sheets smell faintly of curry.

    It is my ultimate luxury and I can’t WAIT to get back to doing this once a month!

    • rme says...

      I love how incredibly specific this is 😂

    • Jaime says...

      MA GIRL!

    • Sarah says...

      Which Thai place tho 😛

    • AMK says...

      This sounds amazing!!!!

    • Alexandra says...

      I wish I could erase part of my brain so I could binge watch Jane the Virgin again. God I love that show.

    • Courtney says...

      Alexandra, I just rewatched it again and it was so great. Just as much fun as the first time–I laughed and cried every single episode!

  64. Sarah says...

    Velveeta Mac&Cheese and an entire box of Kix. I know, I know, not great for health; but I cannot stop. It was almost ten years before my husband caught on to the fact that I would buy one box of Velveeta shells and a box of Kix and gleefully eat those two items anytime he was away for more than one night.

    • Jaime Rosenzweig says...

      HAHA I do the same with Annie’s gluten free mac n cheese in a box. Eating it standing on one leg in the kitchen watching Bravo is *chef’s kiss*

  65. Tess says...

    Oh, I can’t WAIT for this to happen! (We’re still in lockdown here.)

    What I would do is go to my favourite trattoria and order EVERYTHING my husband / kids can’t deal with. Aka, anything with cheese or good taste. And have a feast in my pj’s while reading a book in SILENCE with dimmed light. Probably after I took a long shower without interuptions. And then go to bed early ALONE, preferably between clean sheets.

    Can you read how excited I get about this prospect, hahaha!

  66. mimi says...

    Alone, I’ll make salty cheese and pickled jalapeno quesadillas, which are a totally guilty snack as I am technically allergic to both gluten and cheese if I have more than one or two servings. I get super congested or even a big sinus headache. So I try not to do it. I’ve begun to find good GF, vegan version’s, but still – it is junk food so I rarely go there.

    • Lindsay says...

      Mimi, I’ve got to plug Siete foods tortillas! I like the chickpea flour ones, and I’m not even gluten free. I even converted my housemate (also not gluten free) I’ve found them at whole foods and organic supermarkets :)

    • Anne says...

      Ditto on Siete!! I can’t tolerate gluten or dairy either and their almond flour tortillas are SO delish!!

  67. Katie S. says...

    I try to use everything in the fridge that’s going bad! Which, let’s face it, usually makes for a weird meal that most people wouldn’t want to eat but I don’t mind. Yesterday I cooked brussel sprouts and put them in a tuna salad. C’est la vie.

  68. Kate says...

    OMG girl, I love this! Sounds heavenly. I have no idea how I would survive without these kinds of quiet times!

  69. Jane says...

    I blast “adults ears only” Prince music and also have cheese and crackers for dinner.

    • angela says...

      Cheese and crackers is so under-rated. Or. . . just me? Anyway I haven’t had it in ages and you’ve reminded me just how great it is.

  70. Amanda says...

    I love the book, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone.
    Essays from different writers on exactly this topic. It’s wonderful! (Nora Ephron, Jami Attenberg, M.F.K. Fisher, Jonathan Ames, and Laurie Colwin are are just some of the writers included.)

    • Laura says...

      I just came to post the same thing! One of my favorite books for sure.

    • Kerri says...

      Same!! The chapter on asparagus had me laughing so hard.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I also came here to recommend the same book! One of my longtime favorites and probably my earliest introduction to personal essays which I now love. I remember loving the essay by the author who didn’t want to admit to a colleague that his “plans” for the night were his go-to dinner for one – these things really matter!

  71. Sounds heavenly :)) yes it’s always charcuterie for the win! When friends say they’ve never heard of charcuterie I’m like “WHAAAAT?! Lemme tell you all about it….” Enjoy your well-deserved solo time xo

  72. liz says...

    My husband works out of state a month at a time and the first night he’s away I relish the quiet house and the chance to eat anything I want alone on the couch. I go all in with 90’s romantic comedy movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding and love to eat chips and salsa without hearing his loud chewing right next to me :)

  73. Agnès says...

    I just spent 5 days alone after a year of being glued to my child and husband. I survived on rice and beans. I SLEPt, i rested. I have so much energy now! I did nothing spécial, i really rested. It s going to be fantastic Joanna! Love from Paris

  74. Irina says...

    It depends on how long I’m home alone for. If it’s just one meal, it’s likely to be snack-y stuff, involving minimal or no cooking. Possibly eaten right from a skillet if there is cooking involved. If I’m home alone for longer, which hasn’t happened in many years but used to happen occasionally when my husband would travel to visit his family overseas for 2-3 weeks at a time, then I do get into cooking. Those times are my opportunities to make foods that I love but he does not. They are still pretty simple dishes, but they involve ingredients like caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, grains, and tofu that do not normally make it into our shared meals. (I still use all of these ingredients to make lunches for myself even when we are together, and will sometimes make a separate dinner for myself as well, but I do usually try to make dinner a shared meal.)

  75. K says...

    Omg what a dream! I have a hard time going to bed at 3am when my husband and kids have gone to sleep and the home is finally completely quiet! (Although Id like to not wait until then!) Adrenaline rush. Yes to a good cheese and crackers! Also, ramen, fried dumplings, quesadillas, chocolate ice cream, watching dramas that make me cry with no interruptions, going to the bathroom solo, and lying across the entire couch!

  76. Emm says...

    As soon as i learn my partner will be out of town for work or any reason, I buy a box of frozen Mac and cheese. My first night solo I heat it up and savor it. I don’t know why this is the thing for me but it is.

    • sarah says...

      I do this too! Evol is a brand I can find here, they make a decadent truffle white cheddar mac that is perfect for 1 person

  77. Lola says...

    My partner can’t have acidic foods, so when he’s gone I make guacamole for dinner and load it up with garlic, lemon and onion. Plus no one is going to smell my breathe. I eat it with Chica’s chips and a cold Mango Cart beer. So satisfying.

  78. Ana says...

    Nachos and the most expensive bottle of wine we have. I am SOOOO jealous! I haven’t been alone in our house once since the pandemic. If my husband only knew what I’ve cooked up in my head to get him out the door! I’m dying to just lay in the middle of the living room and stare up at the ceiling for no reason and not have to explain anything to anyone why. Enjoy!

  79. Amy says...

    Pan-fried Trader Joe’s pork gyoza and garlicky broccoli. All the food comes together in under 10 minutes, and it hits my craving for takeout. That plus a glass of wine and reality TV makes for a perfect solo night for me!

    • Hannah says...

      OK I have a very serious question… How do you manage to pan fry the gyoza without hot oil splattering all over your kitchen? I’ve tried to follow the directions on the bag to fry them in oil for a few minutes and then add water.. It ends in disaster every time! Help!

    • angela says...

      Use a lid? I used to make their vegetable gyoza and that’s what I did. The oil is virtually gone by the time you pour the water but – be holding the lid as you pour the water and put it on immediately until you can hear the water has mostly evaporated. I do always have to wipe down the stovetop after regardless of lid. The price you pay!

    • Anna says...

      Hannah- use a pan with a lid! If you don’t have one, use a ceramic plate or tin foil over a normal frying pan.

  80. Robin says...

    When I know I’ll be home alone I prepare my menu weeks ahead of time. Dinners are quick and easy, but I’ll make elaborate breakfasts and desserts all for myself. Homemade brownies, apple pies, or Dutch babies with strawberry sauce (all of which are both breakfast and dessert). Once the baking is done I relax with a drink, do some journaling, and have a good cry. It’s rejuvenating.

    • Cecile says...

      Robin, I want to be you! Does the journaling get you crying?

    • Robin says...

      Sometimes the journaling leads to a cry, but other times I feel inspired about life and don’t shed any tears… really it’s just that being alone gives me the space to be reflective and let the emotions come.

  81. celeste says...

    Grocery store sushi. And I LOVE Baby Foot!

  82. Lisa says...

    I had this in December – my husband and kids went away for four nights. I watched a LOT of the west wing, got takeaway and also just ate a lot of chocolate ice cream and popcorn without anyone wanting me to share.

  83. Kim says...

    Cereal over the sink. When I don’t need to cook or clean or eat with my three teens and husband, I like the simplicity (and easy clean-up) of one bowl and a spoon.

  84. Abby says...

    One of my favorite books, “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone”, reflections from a handful of writers on their favorite recipes and on what they cook when it’s just themselves. Could be a nice accompaniment to your cheese and crackers spread <3

    • Elena says...

      YES! This is has been on my nightstand to read wistfully.

    • Jessica says...

      I love this book, too!

  85. Marisa says...

    My husband is actually away this week, and my daughter is staying with me. She has the same taste I do in almost everything, so I get to do what (I) want AND have company! Lots of vegetable heavy meals, yummy take out from a place my husband doesn’t care for, pedicures, and watching the new show “Made For Love” on HBO. Perfect mother/daughter time :)

  86. Ann says...

    I get sushi because I’m the only one in the family that eats it.

  87. Sherrie says...

    scrambled eggs toast with best jam.

  88. Cecily says...

    My happy place is standing in my kitchen in my underwear cutting slices of cheese off a big block, slathering them in mustard, and eating piece after piece while staring blissfully off into space. For as long as I want, with no one ever coming into the kitchen to stop me or judge me.

    • Lily says...

      OMG amazing. I understand perfectly.

    • Lily says...

      STARING BLISSFULLY OFF INTO SPACE.

    • Melissa Rosen says...

      Peanut butter and wine!

  89. Sophia says...

    Ramen with spinach as my meal. Slightly overdone popcorn with sherry as my snack. And if I’ll be alone for more than an hour (rare), Eva is coming out. dame.com

  90. Annelise says...

    Herr’s Salt and Pepper Kettle chips!

  91. AE says...

    Always popcorn. Always crab legs. Always something sweet (often butter pecan ice cream because my husband can’t it so usually we do not have it in the house). And, most often, nude. I love delicious little days/weekends alone.

  92. Syd says...

    My home alone meal is either a salad with whatever is in the fridge/cupboards (pickled red onions, avocado, cucumber, nuts, seeds, grilled veg) but always featuring grilled halloumi OR a fried egg sandwich. Then I put on home renovation shows or just watch home tours on youtube while working on whatever new granny handicraft I decided to learn that week and eat coffee flavored ice-cream. A perfect evening.

    • Cheryl says...

      Ah yes, coffee ice cream! Even better with chopped Oreos mixed in!

  93. Lisa Lee says...

    I am a food evangelist for tins of sardines and other fish!!! There are such delicious brands from around the globe with glorious label designs, and it is all very sustainable to eat smaller fish.

  94. Sarah says...

    My spouse was fully vaccinated a few weeks before I was, and recently I had a WHOLE WEEK alone in the house while he was visiting family. I planned an entire week of meals that I love that he doesn’t care for – shakshuka and anything with runny eggs, noodles with kimchi, butter, and gochujang adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, and tofu and pickled veggie bowls.

    As someone who lived alone for six years and LOVED it (somewhat unexpectedly), having some space to myself for a week was very restoring after the two of us working from home 24/7 for over a year. There is something so thrilling about ONLY planning for yourself when thinking of a meal. Have a wonderful time!!!

    • K says...

      What is this kimchi noodles recipe you talk about? Sounds delicious…

  95. An entire package of cheese fondue and a baguette while watching Sex and the City episodes. Perfection.

  96. Meghan says...

    baby foot peel!!

  97. Julie says...

    I usually eat something I know my son would not… I save recipes for the occasions when it will be just me. They tend to be more “exotic” meals (ie: Asian or middle Eastern meals, or vegan based meals with certain spices or herbs he would never touch).

  98. Lisa says...

    You mean every meal I have eaten for the last year?!?

    • Emily R says...

      Ha ha ha. That’s me too. I’m always home alone!

    • Danielle says...

      Yeah, this is me. There’s zero novelty involved in trying to figure out what to feed myself for another solo dinner as my dog stares into my eyes. I finally broke down and got one of those meal subscription services so that something nutritionally balanced would end up being made at least twice a week.

  99. Jessica says...

    I make myself charcuterie plates if I’m feeling fancy. Sometime in my late 20’s I started to always have at least two good cheeses, a smattering of pickled things or olives, radishes and a dry salami in my fridge at all times for this very reason – so I could spontaneously give myself or a guest a nice cocktail moment. This is what I make if I have the energy and ambition to try to catch up on the New Yorker.
    If I’m exhausted, and just want to turn on a Jane Austen movie, I make comfort pasta. Mine has tomato cream sauce, which consists of whatever marinara I can dredge up from the fridge or freezer, some cream or sour cream, a smooshed garlic clove, a smidge of harissa from a jar in the back of my fridge and whatever green herb I can find (usually oregano from the garden). There’s parmesan or some thawed shrimp & lemon zest in there too, if I’m lucky.

  100. Kate says...

    My favorite home-alone indulgences are: a ball of mozzarella, baguette w good butter, jam out of the jar

  101. Sadie says...

    When my roommate is gone I plug in my electric guitar–turn that baby up–and sing at the top of my lungs! We both work from home so sometimes I’ll even do it for a midday break if she pops out for an errand.

  102. suki says...

    One of my favorite food bloggers has an entire section devoted to the things she eats when she’s alone, Mandy Lee of Lady and Pups. Her blog recipes are truly amazing and now she has a book. She has also got great instruction videos on Food52’s youtube channel. Just a fan here with no affiliation but cannot recommend her work highly enough, even just as reading!

    I love all her video’s (her flattened crispy chicken one is growing to be renowned) but here’s her latest one:
    Super-Crispy Chicken Smash Burger | At Home With Us
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MycXfmVMZp4

  103. Emma says...

    Ah I love this – even though I have been living alone for almost 9 years. I seem to always have social/romantic plans lately so I love a Sunday night alone to cook. I have a folder of “food” screenshots on my phone that I’ll browse through, decide what I want to make (usually pasta or a comforting, savory dish), shop for everything and open up a bottle of wine or make a vodka gimlet while I start cooking around 4PM. Then I always have a movie or new episode of something I’ve been saving up and it’s the BEST, most cozy night any time of year.

    • Sadie says...

      I love a Sunday night tradition <3

  104. Ruth says...

    This was me when my kids were asleep and my husband was at a baseball game last night! I was practically giddy. I sat around in my underwear, read my book (Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead — highly recommend!) and had an extra piece of cake. IT WAS AMAZING!

  105. J says...

    Isn’t it funny that once a weekend all alone might feel like a bit of a downer and now…now it’s absolutely indulgent! For me, it’s cheese and red wine, a trader joe’s burrata, prosciutto, and arugula pizza, and chocolate chips dumped directly into the jar of PB, while watching grey’s season 1.

    • Ashley Schuette says...

      Chocolate chips dumped into a jar of PB, that’s genius!

    • M says...

      You’re my soul sister.

    • Joanna says...

      I usually do the peanut butter on a spoon covered in chocolate chips, but this is SUCH a better idea!

    • rme says...

      Grey’s season 1! Lol same.

  106. Linda says...

    sushi + fried chicken + a bottle of wine. while i watch tv or read. and imean a full bottle of wine where i get drunk and sleep and can just head to bed and not worry about waking up early for the kids or putting the kids to bed.

  107. sarah says...

    In the days when I lived with roommates and had the rare moment where I was home alone, I always loved making a big bowl of pasta with Rao’s red sauce and sausage (accompanied, of course, by a glass of red wine). Now, I live with my fiance and I love the ritual of having this same meal if he’s gone for the night. One night when I was home alone recently, I rewatched This is 40, which resonated in a completely new way now that I’ve entered my 30s and I’m on the brink of marriage. I was in tears laughing watching it all by myself. :)

  108. E says...

    My husband is a firefighter, so I’m normally home alone 1/3 of the time. Recently, he switched departments and has been in the training phase of his new department so he’s been home every night for a couple of months now. When he’s home we make a “normal” dinner, but a small part of me looks forward to him being back on the line next month and returning to my routine of a sheet pan of roasted broccoli for dinner, then retiring to bed with a kombucha and my tablet to indulge in whatever crap TV my heart desires!

  109. kash says...

    ohhh that sounds so lovely, jo!!

    i love to eat anchovies on plain, salted potato chips and a tin of smoked mussels on crackers. really, anything pungent/fishy/salty that a) gives me bad breath and b) that i feel absolutely unwilling to share, because i want to eat it ALL. someone who asks me for a “taste” of my anchovies on kettle chips… i will do it because otherwise i’ll look like scrooge… but i will be mad about it

    • becklin says...

      Have you ever tried pickled herring? I love it on brown bread with butter.

  110. Brittany says...

    You just described heaven.

  111. Elena says...

    Amanda Hesser (of the NYT and Foor52 and gosh-everything-else fame) has a fantastic early book called “Cooking for Mr. Latte” where she writes about meeting her hubby (to whom she is still married to this day). There’s a whole chapter on what she calls “Single Girl Dinners.” It’s fantastic. The idea is that each one of us has *that* go-to dinner that you’re talking about. Highly recommend the book for a solo weekend read! It’s light-hearted and charming and relatable and has tons of great recipes!

    On a related note, I have a 9-month old baby and SO SO SO miss being alone and cooking just for me.

    • I really enjoyed that book! The duck recipe was so good (not one of the make it for yourself meals). I need to make it again.

  112. verena says...

    This is THE DREAM. Enjoy!

  113. Every week when my husband is out for guy’s night, I make Sarah Copeland’s one-pot pasta that you guys shared here. Every. Single. Week. The single pot is easy enough to keep me motivated to cook (fewer dishes for a single meal) and there’s something so perfect about the pasta, veggie and loads of parmesan combination.

    It’s the best home-alone recipe.

  114. Emily says...

    My husband says I go slightly feral when he leaves, but it’s my favorite. I eat random things that are languishing in the house and requires zero preparation, I stay in my jammies all day, and I often sleep in what he refers to as a “nest” of blankets and pillows on the couch. One time (pre-pandemic), a nice Whole Foods employee asked me what I was looking to pair my wine with that night and when I said “trail mix” he laughed until he realized I was not joking and then found me a lovely red that really complemented the raisins and m&ms.

    • Sadie says...

      lol, trail mix

    • Erin says...

      hahaha the deadpan of “trail mix” made me lol

    • Rachel Koehne says...

      “slightly feral” is so accurate, though! if you’re not going to be leaving the house or just want to be in your natural, comfortable, raccoon-person state… go for it! :)

    • Lily says...

      “slightly feral” is exactly right.

    • Rachel Adrianna says...

      Having lived with my mom most of my life (I’m 31 and I still love it since we’re best friends) I go a bit batty when she goes on vacation or something without me. Last time, I watched an old Cher concert documentary and ate an entire container of (baked) Pillsbury Honey Butter Biscuits. Clearly, I thrive without accountability ;)

    • Kristy Lin says...

      oh gosh slightly feral…when I’m alone I often sleep with the lights on/laptop playing Netflix, or sometimes fall asleep on the couch and wake up to shower at 3 am. While I do enjoy the guilty pleasure Netflix binge, I much prefer daytime alone time! Night usually gives me the heebie-jeebies

  115. Rue says...

    Short answer: pasta with lemon juice, herbs, and grated romano, OR Indian food, homemade or takeout.

    Long answer: I lived solo for seven years and always felt really sad about the way we consider and describe the experiences of living alone, as if it were both exotic and scandalous. I now live with a partner, and I do appreciate an occasional night alone, but it made me feel like I was living in a zoo or museum exhibit when I lived alone ‘full time’ and friends would describe their alone time the way people sometimes describe desert as this impossibly decadent, rich, slightly bad thing.

    I don’t know, just the title of this post made me want to go hug all my friends who live solo, and have the occasional decadent night in, but also have plenty of regular nights at home that happen to also be alone.

    • SL says...

      Yes! ! It’s strange and sometimes insulting the way the world treats women (dont see this happening with men. Ever) being alone even if it’s under the guise of a compliment or treat. Sigh. I really felt this comment.

    • Hanna says...

      That‘s so funny! I‘ve been living alone now for five years (with no end in sight at the moment, haha) and reading the post (and all the comments) actually made me think about how much I‘m enjoying life at the moment (and living alone!). I think it‘s the best :D

    • Lily says...

      I love this post but I can definitely imagine how it would have felt a little bit like a gut-punch when I was going through the “ambiguous grief” of not having a partner. Maybe just a line acknowledging all the readers out there who are already eating and spending evenings alone, and how they feel about it.

    • Meredith says...

      Thanks for this, Rue. I didn’t want to post a note about this in fear of sounding bitter, but I have to say…this post made me deeply sad. I’m so tired of being alone. The aloneness of an unchosen singlehood has felt magnified this past year. I think a parallel thing happened with folks with kids, especially young kids; whatever status we have was magnified like 1000%. I’m so grateful for the good things in my life, and I know some people love living alone. But it’s really hard for me. I wish we were friends in real life, I would take that hug in a heartbeat! Thanks for making me feel seen. ❤️

    • Morgan says...

      I scrolled through a ton of comments hoping to find my people, and i’m so glad you’re here. Thank you Rue and Meredith and Lily for making me feel a little less alone for a moment.
      I’ve lived alone for years and value my independence and the life I’ve built, but the deep loneliness of the pandemic isolation (and still mourning a relationship that ended almost six months ago now… jeeze!) feels really painful right now. My city just announced another three weeks of total lockdown and stay-at-home order, so it will be some time before I get to spend time with another human again. I’d give anything for someone to enjoy a meal with these days!
      I know that time alone to recharge feels so good after lots of chaos, but this post did trigger the self-pity tears for me tonight.

    • Jessica says...

      Thanks for acknowledging this, Rue. This has been a really hard year to live alone, and I feel like it’s mostly been fetishized by my friends with partners and kids. I get that they’re desperate for even a minute to themselves, but it does get old being treated like being single is some kind of magically easy and carefree existence. Because you can’t actually just eat cheese in your underwear every night, you know? And if you did, it would quickly lose its magic.

    • Kate says...

      You ladies are my soulmates. Thank you for voicing this. I feel exactly the same way. <3

    • Rue says...

      10/10 would be friends with you all in real life! Also thank you for bearing with my typo on desert vs dessert. I’m an earth scientist and my devices frequently autocorrect to landscape/nature/earth terms!

      My brother lives probably within blocks of Joanna and fam. I talked to him yesterday and he is not doing well. They live in what’s essentially a 0.5 bedroom apartment with two kids under three and are at their wits end. I sent him a book and when I told him a real paper book for grownups would be arriving he was in awe. Reading! He sort of forgot about reading for himself. And I want to gift him and my parent friends all the air and light that comes with a night to focus on yourself. I just also want to hug my friends who feel the sting of someone describing their “oh my gosh, I could never!” night in, for whom it may be a struggle to balance the loneliness and the feeling of caring for yourself in a healthy and positive way while alone. We all need so much love and care, especially coming out of this pandemic, but also really all the time, I think.

  116. Sarah says...

    It is popcorn with a lavish amount of butter, salt, and nutritional yeast, literal goblets of white wine, and Sex & the City reruns. To be alone in the house on a Friday night is to be a queen.

    • Erin says...

      I have never felt a comment so deep in my soul. Yes to all of this.

  117. Katie says...

    I get in the guest room bed with the dog at watch Netflix. The dog’s not usually allowed on furniture and we don’t have a TV in our bedroom, so the whole experience feels very luxurious!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

    • Ruth says...

      TRUTH

    • Julie says...

      This is so true at our house!

    • I just read that comment out loud to my husband – 100% accurate

    • Maryann says...

      Ha!!!! oh that tweet – so good.
      My spouse, who is a laid back, sounds like he is murdering his keyboard every day. All day.

  118. Seraphim says...

    Every year (last year excepted), my husband takes our two kids away over Labor Day weekend to visit his family, so I have three days alone in the house. It is by far my favorite vacation of the year. I get big, messy projects done around the house while blasting 70’s and 80’s music, I don’t make plans with anyone, I get up and go to sleep whenever I want to, I don’t cook at all and just eat cheese plates and salad the entire time, I watch chick flicks and ‘bonnet’ shows at night with the dog. It is the best.

  119. J says...

    Wine and potato chips for dinner. Every time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YESSSSSSS!

  120. Katie says...

    I live alone so…lots of things! I definitely have things like pie and cereal for dinner sometimes, just because I can. My favorite solo meals are grilled cheeses, though! A caprese grilled cheese with fresh mozzarella is always amazing, as is a French toast grilled cheese with brie, apple slices and rosemary.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooooh we are food soulmates :)

    • Katie says...

      Team Bread and Cheese!!! ❤

  121. mariasole says...

    A ton of spaghetti with lemon juice and salt butter. It’s so easy and comfortable and you don’t have to seem polite while eating spaghetti because you are..alone…wish you the best time! I am alone with my kids once or twice a month and sometimes it’s heavy but I have a lot of quality time with myself and I could rewatch all the 6 seasons of girls:) without any guilt!

  122. Haley says...

    Living the dream! I loved Palm Springs. Maybe it’s time for a re-watch? The Baby Foot thing has become so popular. Would love to hear what you think. I heard the Barefoot Scientist brand is better than Baby Foot.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh, curious to check out barefoot scientist. thanks for the rec!

  123. E says...

    Hi Joanna! I’ve noticed you mention a few times recently that you’re not drinking. I would love a post about that (if you’re comfortable sharing of course). I just started drinking again after a self-imposed 3-month hiatus and I feel like it really improved my relationship with alcohol. As someone who has strong habit-forming tendencies, it can be hard to break a bad cycle once it’s started, and the break allowed me to evaluate my relationship with drinking. I would love to hear other opinions on it from people who are sober or have intentionally reduced their alcohol intake. For me now, drinking looks like not exceeding a single drink a couple times a week. Maybe a glass of wine with dinner but that’s it, and that’s a change I feel comfortable with and happy about

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hi E! thank you for your note! I would love to talk more about it. basically I was drinking ~2 glasses of wine per night regularly for YEARS, and my grip on alcohol felt slippery. so I wanted to take a break and reevaluate. in February, my friends decided to go on a health kick together for three weeks (whole foods, 10K steps per day, no wine) so we did it over text and supported each other. then I just kept going with it. I haven’t had much to drink since then — although I had wine when my dad visited last week. honestly, i felt TERRIBLE the next day and realized how much better I feel when I’m not drinking. I’m much more awake, energetic, clear-headed, etc. so I’m not really drinking anymore, I guess!

      that’s it basically:) but I’d love to do a post about it and see how other people are feeling around alcohol.

      here are a few posts, too, in case these are compelling:
      https://cupofjo.com/2019/05/why-i-decided-to-quit-drinking/
      https://cupofjo.com/2020/09/two-next-level-mocktails/
      https://cupofjo.com/2021/03/best-non-alcoholic-beer-reviews/

    • JM says...

      Would love a post as well, I think a lot of people had to (or have to) re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol after quarantine… most friends I have said it felt like a slippery slop!

    • Kristin says...

      I would love a post about this too!

      As someone that only drank socially pre-pandemic, I now make myself one delicious cocktail a night after work. It is such a nice end to the work day and helps me to turn my office-brain off. With that said, I still do have 2-3 drinks if I see friends outside for a meal so I try to account for that by skipping my nightly cocktail routine as needed.

      I am probably drinking 5-6 drinks per week, which seems like a lot… It’s also something that I don’t feel ready to give up!

    • Katie says...

      Love all of this and your honest answer Jo! Getting divorced right before the pandemic hit and missing having my kids in the house half the time definitely made my grip on alcohol feel slippery. I haven’t had a drink in a week and in the past couple days have started to feel SO much better and have been sleeping 1,000x more soundly. Highly recommend to anyone considering a break!!!

    • Kim says...

      Same! Actually after the Non-Alcoholic beers round-up post here, my husband and I switched to the Athletic Beer brand, and it has been so helpful in these early days trying to cut back! :)

    • Whitney says...

      Yes to this! I quit drinking 9 years ago because it just didn’t serve me anymore. No regrets. However I always felt uncomfortable mentioning it in social situations. Like someone would judge me for not drinking. I realized recently, I JUST DON’T CARE. I’m being authentic to myself and it doesn’t matter what people think.

    • rose says...

      Joanna, do you prefer walking in the morning or the evening? Or do you just go whenever? I am trying to set up a routine for walking, (I can only do 3 miles at present because my sedentary computer life has atrophied my feet and they ache during longer trips – though the horror of being that out of shape is motivating, and 10K steps/5 miles is the goal).

    • rose says...

      Oh yes, I’ve stopped alcohol as well. Luckily I’ve just lost all desire for it! From a past post here I discovered the Lugunita’s HOPS and it is now an occasional treat. I plan to try them all – the referrals from that post but that’s the first one and I like it so much.

    • E says...

      Thank you for the thoughtful responses Joanna and everyone else :) and yes, better sleep, less anxiety, and just feeling better have been so encouraging! Love this community

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Rose, I generally try to squeeze in a few shorter walks during the day (walking the boys to school, dashing to the grocery store, etc.) and then do one longer walk at night (usually from 5-6, when the boys have screen time). That will typically add up to 10K steps.

      When I started in February, my legs would ache — my feet hurt (I actually upgraded my sneakers, which immediately helped) and my shins hurt, kind of like shin splints (I think the new shoes helped with that, too). After a couple weeks, that all went away. Now I can walk for as long as I want and it feels really, really good.

      I imagine that you’ll be able to pretty quickly ramp up to your goal steps! Now I crave walks and love them so much. They also make me feel so good/happy/calm. :)

  124. Scarlett says...

    Give me a loaf of warm sourdough and some grassfed butter and i’m good to go.

  125. Mikayla says...

    OMG Joanna me too! My husband and his friends are (finally) all vaccinated so they are all going out for a beer and pizza tomorrow and I cannot overstate how thrilled I am to NOT be invited. But I am so stumped as to what to do during those few hours. It has been so long since I’ve been home alone that I can hardly remember how to spend it. The only things I know for sure is that it will involve rose wine and avocado – the only two things my ever-hungry man will not consume. Please report back on how you enjoyed your time alone!

    Everyone else, I need your wisdom! Will be taking notes.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      How fun, Mikayla!!!!! Have you seen Palm Springs? :)

    • Mikayla says...

      Haha, looks like I will be checking it out! Thanks for the rec :)

  126. Ellie says...

    This is what my mom would call a ‘French dinner’ when we were little (minus the wine). It made dinner feel so special even if it was just thrown together. To this day, I love having ‘French dinner’ and some of my friends have adopted the idea with their kids too. Enjoy!

  127. Stacey says...

    Here’s what I do when I’m home alone: make a huuuuuge bowl of popcorn, drench it in nutritional yeast, and eat it over the course of several hours while watching a Bollywood movie, supplemented with several gin and tonics along the way. Then, because no one is home, I get up and dance like a tipsy idiot to all the musical numbers. Evenings like that are truly one of my great pleasures in life.

    • Tenley says...

      Stacey, this sounds amaaazing! I live alone and eating popcorn for dinner is one of my favorite lazy/indulgent habits. Adding Bollywood sounds like a game changer!

  128. Laura says...

    shellfish!!! So random, I know, but I loooove shellfish and my husband detests it, so as an avid home cook, I never get to unleash the magic of fresh steamed crab legs or perfectly seared scallops at home. On the VERY rare occasion I find myself alone these days, I splurge and usually just eat my beloved crustaceans without any accompaniment, slurping the juices in front of You’ve Got Mail.

    • Katie says...

      If this were my habit I would call them “selfish shellfish” days because the shellfish are mine and I don’t have to share!!!! 😂

  129. Denise says...

    What do I eat when I’m home alone? Cheetos. But the better question is what DON’T I eat when I’m home alone. LOL. Have fun on your own! I hope you enjoy every minute. Enjoying it fully will make your family’s return so much sweeter when they come back.

  130. Betsy says...

    I LOVE being alone for dinner. I can indulge the child in me. Some of my favorites are: PB on toast, with a glass of chocolate milk, plain buttered noodles, just cheese nachos with salsa, scrambled eggs and toast, TJ’s truffle mushroom pizza, Kraft mac & cheese. My boyfriend isn’t gone nearly enough.

  131. Dawn says...

    I make Smitten Kitchen’s single-serving stovetop mac and cheese whenever I’m home alone. I eat it from a mug alongside a plate of lemony greens. I cook a lot for others but it’s nice to have a special meal that I only cook for myself.

  132. Jo says...

    So jealous!!

    My son just returned to in-person school.. now if only I can find a way to send the spouse to office too haha

  133. Leslie-Anne says...

    Today I am home alone (how rare and strange) and I’m grazing and definitely NOT cooking any meals. For me this is a special treat. Also, I’m dancing along with the radio :)

  134. Chelsi Rodriguez says...

    Probably going to gross some people out, but I make velveeta shells and cheese! Usually with a wine (probably bota box). it was my favorite thing as a kid to make on Friday nights after hitting up blockbuster and having a friend stay the night.

    If not that probably box brownies! (or both).

    I like to binge something completely ridiculous like The Hills (and not The Hills “New Beginnings” because of course).

    • Chelsi Rodriguez says...

      and now* the hills “new beginnings”. I do not discriminate against MTV reality television.

    • Heidi says...

      High fiving you on the Velveeta mac and cheese. When I was a kid that was our “special occasion” mac and cheese… so much opulence and nostalgia. :)
      And yes! The Hills, The City, Laguna Beach… all of them.

    • Jennifer says...

      Solidarity on the mac n cheese. I buy my kids the Amy’s Creamy mac n cheese just to feel virtuous since there is the word “organic” on the box, but in all reality I buy it for myself so I can eat their leftovers.

      So a box all to myself on a Friday night with the best bottle of Prosecco….sounds amazing.

  135. katie says...

    My favorite “vacation” in recent time was when my husband took our kids away for the weekend this past February. A clean, quite house all to myself for a weekend- epic!

  136. Sarah says...

    Oh my gosh! That sounds heavenly. As much as I love(d) spending more time with my kids and husband during the pandemic, I am an introvert and need some time by myself to recharge. It was one of the hardest things to get used to during the pandemic (other than you know, making what seemed like life and death choices every time we ventured from the house).

    There’s not much better than a bowl of gooey chocolate and caramel ice cream, an old fashioned, and a goofy murder mystery (a la Death in Paradise). Or if I’m in the mood for something salt, some “nachos” – tortilla chips with melted cheese. Maybe some salsa verde if I’m feeling fancy.

    • Denise says...

      I love Death in Paradise! They are also good sick-day reruns.

    • Annie says...

      Nail hit, on the head. Testify.

    • Mandy says...

      This sounds like my kinda night! Love death in paradise!

    • Sara says...

      Death in Paradise is such a fun watch! And chips & cheese is the perfect solo food – I used to enjoy this as an afterschool snack!

    • Sharon in Scotland says...

      The audio-descriptive DIP is on in the background as I read all these comments, so soothing

  137. courtney says...

    For some reason, I have a habit of buying cottage cheese when my partner is gone. There’s certainly no reason not to buy it anytime, but I find myself exclusively buying it when he’s out, like it’s a special treat. I then cut up pickles into it and grind black pepper on top and it is the best snack ever.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      whoa, cottage cheese with pickles and black pepper sounds so intriguing!

    • Laura says...

      After years of disliking cottage cheese & peaches, I’ve recently discovered the savory cottage cheese route and love it! We add shredded carrots and diced cucumber, red onion, bell peppers, etc. Top with everything bagel seasoning for a cool, refreshing lunch.

    • Aimee says...

      One of my grossest/favorite snacks ever is cottage cheese with lots of fresh chive, scooped up and eaten with thick, wavy potato chips. (Has to be the thick, wavy ones because regular chips are too wimpy to transport the cottage cheese.) Your pickles version sounds intriguing….

    • Lauren Materne says...

      Mine is cottage cheese with pickled beets, so the pickles idea is extremely interesting! My husband and I eat predominantly vegan food and he’s a little judgy when I go outside the vegan box to satisfy a craving here or there. He’s going to be away for some trips this summer and I will definitely be trying this cottage cheese+pickles+black pepper combo!

    • Lori Biesecker says...

      Cottage cheese sprinkled heavily w/ fresh-ground black pepper and drizzled very generously with extra-virgin olive oil is one of my favorite snacks. Slices of crisp cuke on the side don’t hurt, either. And now that I found out Lactaid Cottage Cheese is a thing, I get to have it again whenever I want!

  138. Amanda G says...

    Oh! This is good! Same situation, everyone is around *all the time* and my husband permanently works from home (since before the pandemic) so its probably been almost 2-4 years since I have been home ALONE!
    My favorite thing would be when husband headed to the lake before me or I came home early and had a night to myself.
    That precious night alone included a Totinos 3 Meat or Combination Party Pizza and a super indulging desert like a thick slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk. Of course, all while watching a favorite show or movie(Steel Magnolias!). Id need something snacky too so maybe popcorn or chips and sauce.
    My girlfriend once shared her go to home alone meal was Chinese food in bed! I love it!

    • Danielle says...

      Oh my gosh I always buy a Totino’s pizza when my husband is out of town. And a slice of chocolate cake from the grocery store. A box of kid’s cereal is also not out of the question.

  139. Kate says...

    I can appreciate the excitement of a mom having peace and quiet for the first time in a while, but some of us actually just live alone. What I eat while I’m alone is just… what I eat. My “funny solo behavior” is just… my behavior. I don’t know why solo living is being othered. (I know, I’m no fun)

    • A mom says...

      I think this blog pays plenty of attention to the needs and habits of all types of people. Give it a rest.

    • Kelly says...

      Having a variety of perspectives and reading comments from readers who aren’t afraid to speak up when something rubs them the wrong way is one things I LOVE about this blog. Thanks for speaking up, Kate. Your perspective matters too!

    • katie says...

      I lived alone for 12+ years. If I didn’t go out on a Friday or Saturday, I’d indulge myself at home in ways I wouldn’t during the week. I’d consider that a special solo meal. In fact, I indulge myself the same way now when my husband is away. I like the little rituals I have developed over the years and some of those, I prefer to still do alone.

      I don’t think this is meant to “other” anyone.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, I’m so sorry if it came across that way, Kate! For funny solo behavior, I actually meant the release of things you do when you’re finally alone when usual roommates/partners/parents/etc aren’t home (walk around naked? eat weird things? look through their stuff?) — which is different from regular life living on your own.

      Here are a few posts about living solo, in case that’s helpful:
      https://cupofjo.com/2016/07/introvert-in-nyc/
      https://cupofjo.com/2018/03/tips-for-living-in-small-spaces/
      https://cupofjo.com/2020/08/help-im-moving-into-my-own-place/
      https://cupofjo.com/2015/04/on-living-alone/
      https://cupofjo.com/2017/03/mari-andrew-illustrator/
      https://cupofjo.com/2018/11/haley-nahman-apartment/
      https://cupofjo.com/2021/02/brooklyn-studio-apartment-tour/
      https://cupofjo.com/2017/05/treehouse-apartment-tour-dc/

    • laura says...

      “funny solo behavior” for me, is synonymous with “secret single behavior.” it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re single or live alone, but it describes the little quirks that one only feels comfortable doing within your own solitude.

      here’s a lot of other ones!
      https://repeller.com/secret-single-behavior/

    • H says...

      Hey Kate, I live alone as well and reading the post and commenta actually made me appreciate it even more! I definitely eat weird meals at weird times a lot of the time and I‘m so happy about it – it actually helped me heal from an eating disorder.

      Posts like this help me find the beauty in my daily life and the things that are just ‚normal‘ for me.

    • Kristina says...

      I’ve lived alone for 20 years (!!) so solo behavior = my everyday life. But I love these posts — they make me think of my everyday life as though it were someone else’s luxurious vacation, which is both hilarious and also sometimes helpful reframing.

    • Christina says...

      Kate, I don’t think solo living is being othered, I think it’s being appreciated! Sending love to you this week. I hope as you are enjoying a cheese stick and popcorn or eating a full meal you’ve made for yourself, you can take a moment and think, “gosh, I bet some harried overwrought mother would be so jealous of my life right now.” Because they so, totally are. ;)

    • Meredith says...

      I’m with Kate on this one. I must not be understanding the distinction you make here, Joanna — “the release of things you do when you’re finally alone when usual roommates/partners/parents/etc aren’t home (walk around naked? eat weird things? look through their stuff?) — which is different from regular life living on your own.” So what does this “release of things” look like for those of us who don’t have those “usual” people around? Anyway, I’m certainly not here to gripe (especially given some of the insensitive and gaslighting comments being made in response to Kate, yikes!). I have lots of friends with young kids, and I totally get it. But I’ll just say: Kate — I see you, I hear you, I’m with you. I wish we could all find ways to connect across these lines of different experience more fully. Take a big hug over the internet.

    • Danielle says...

      Kate, I’m chiming in to say, “yep.” This post hit me in an ouch, too.

    • Jessica says...

      Hi Kate, I see you and hear you, and feel the same.

  140. Karen says...

    Popcorn and white wine is 100% a complete meal!

  141. Nicole says...

    Joanna, this sounds like heaven! I’m so glad you’re going to have this time for Y-O-U. I use those rare moments of total solo time to indulge in things I love but rarely get to do all in one evening (aka Middle Age Rebellion): Thai or Vietnamese food delivery, SATC reruns, long jr-high-style calls with a girlfriend, some good chilled rose or Sauv Blanc, then early to bed with a book. Paradise! 🥰

    • Agnes says...

      I must be middle aged now, because I do ALL of these too. Haha. I can’t believe at my age I still have friends who can talk with me on the phone for an hour on a weeknight, it’s ridiculous haha

    • Nicole says...

      A wonderful and delightful thing in middle age, isn’t it? Cheers to you, Agnes!🍷💕😊

  142. Thao says...

    Oh this is fun! I love setting up a snack bar on the ledge of my bathtub. Combinations like apple slices and ssamjang, smoked salmon with roasted seaweed (the salt!), a bowl of Jeni’s ice cream (peach biscuit flavor, sprinkled with peanuts). Then I read a novel until I get super prune-y in the bath. Then I watch TikTok videos until the water is freezing cold. Sometimes, in the mix, I’ll text “Would You Rather?” questions to my friends or fill an Amazon wishlist with really unnecessary items. It’s bliss!

    • Alexis says...

      All of this sounds delightful!

    • Elspeth says...

      Snack bar in the bath?! YES!

  143. Emily says...

    This absolutely KILLS my husband, but when he’s not home I eat microwave quesadillas. He’s like “SERIOUSLY, you can’t be bothered to make them on the stove??” I just want to be full quickly, and 45 seconds on high fulfills that need.

    • Lesley says...

      Hahaha! This drives my husband crazy too. I sometimes indulge in nice and fancy things when my husband and kid are gone. And other times I eat like a toddler and microwave a quesadilla or pizza rolls or those cheese filled pretzel things in the freezer and watch crappy TV and have no one bothering me or asking me for bites or judging me for being a 42 year old woman with a plate of microwaved cheesy treats and a ramekin or ranch. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM!!!

  144. Laura says...

    Oh yes this is the dream. I love my husband and I do eat mostly whatever I want when he’s around, but there’s something so lovely about just doing exactly what I want when I’m alone. He’s not a fan of Indian food so I love getting takeout and watching Pretty Little Liars for the 800th time. I also second the creamy cheese (Humboldt Fog is a favorite) with fig jam and the rosemary raisin crackers from TJs.

  145. HJM says...

    I make “cheese chips” which are basically nachos…. tortilla chips with shredded cheese melted in the microwave. Sometimes I drizzle on Greek yogurt and salsa/hot sauce and I’ll add jarred jalapenos and/or a sliced avocado if I have them on hand. So good.

    • Ilka says...

      Wait, I do this but I just call it nachos! LOL

    • Becka Freed says...

      Microwave nachos are the best! I justify them as ways to remind myself what all my hot sauces taste like :)

    • Marisa says...

      If anything smaller than a dinner plate is used, my daughter and I call these “mini-chos”. Otherwise it’s just “chips & cheese”. My favorite solo supper!

  146. A big bowl of angel hair pasta with store bought pesto + a glass of wine + Sex in the City reruns = my perfect night alone in my house. :)

    • Laura says...

      Angel hair truly is the best with pesto!! I make a dish that adds shrimp and cherry tomatoes and it’s soo nice in the summer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg this sounds so good. I LOVE angel hair.

  147. Meg says...

    I’m lucky to have the house to myself frequently (pre-pandemic that is) because my husband travels for work a lot.

    One of my most favorite things in the world when home alone is: Browse food blogs for a somewhat-complicated new recipe to try, Go to the store to get the ingredients and some good wine, Turn on music or a podcast in the kitchen, Spend a few hours making an amazing meal for just myself, Interspersed with dancing breaks in the kitchen and talking to my cat, Sit on the couch to eat said meal and drink wine while watching a show. ITS THE BEST.

    • katie says...

      Pre-pandemic, my husband traveled a lot too. I miss my alone time!

      My favorite Friday or Saturday night meal if he’s away is some kind of cheese, crackers and a tin of smoked oysters (which I realize most people, including my husband, thinks is disgusting). Oh, and wine.

      I settle in on the couch and watch my a guilty pleasure, like Clueless or anything Amanda Bynes (pre-meltdown). Yes, I unabashedly watch teen movies. I’ll throw in Sandra Bullock too for good measure.