Chopping scallions

Learning to Cook for One, Two or 22

Gone are the bachelorette days of a glass of wine and some crackers for dinner, but as a married woman in her twenties, the kitchen and I are still getting to know each other. We’re past the point of acquaintances and some may even say the kitchen and I are friends. We would probably be each other’s emergency contacts but may need a few more years before we’d be ready to go on vacation together.

My husband and I don’t have kids yet, and I am fortunate to be able to work from home, so this means that I am usually the one to get dinner going. I actually love to cook, mostly because I love to eat, and coming from a family of six I am used to entertaining and cooking family-style meals. However, downsizing my cooking habits to just my husband and I, on top of timing meals alongside his predictable and steady (that’s sarcasm) schedule has taken some adjustments. Seemingly, two people don’t require an entire box of pasta.

Cooking realistic portion sizes was my first hurdle in the kitchen. I either needed to take the time to measure out serving sizes or hit the commissary for Tupperware containers for all the leftovers we always ended up with. Cooking too much inadvertently became my way of meal prepping. Just as I was getting used to meals for two, overnight trainings and field exercises challenged this notion and let me know I should also figure out how to cook for just one. Trips to the commissary became sparser as meals for me became an assortment of random things. Hello, again, bachelorette days. You didn’t go too far!

Finally, when both routines made sense, my kitchen and I would be tasked with entertaining and hosting friends. The amount of people coming over is always TBD. A big pot of chili and some snacks means we are set for two to 22 guests!

It only seems natural that the familiar unpredictability of the military spills over into the kitchen. The genuine, open-door policy becomes part of the culture and one of the best ways to connect with new friends. For this crew, friends and family are always welcome. Whether we’re ready for you or not, chances are there is some leftover pasta we could use help eating. What are your favorite recipes?

Nora Anderson
Written By Nora Anderson
Army Spouse

Nora became a brand-new milspouse in 2018. Her first lesson: 12 moves as an Army brat will never be enough preparation for this whirlwind life.

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