LAURINBURG — A group of single adults spiced up their kitchen repertoire in a “Cooking for One” seminar on Thursday offered by Hospice of Scotland County and Scotland County Cooperative Extension.
Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences agent Sharon English led the class of 17, many living alone after the loss of their spouses, toward overcoming the impulse to subsist entirely on takeout.
“It’s for convenience that we do it a lot of the time — it’s easier, it’s just me,” English said. “But cooking at home is healthier because you’re able to control what goes in it, you’re able to control the quantity that you want, and also it can save you money.”
Participants began by mixing small quantities of blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, flour, and butter into miniature pastry shells for individual pies, which were baked and eaten following a meal of meatloaf — baked in muffin tins with extra portions easily frozen for up to three months and reheated — with salad and potatoes.
English equated serving sizes with common household objects, such as a deck of cards for a serving of meat and a nickel the diameter of a spaghetti serving. She also shared tips for reducing beloved recipes designed to serve four or more, cooking in batches to divide and freeze in small portions, and re-purposing leftovers to avoid eating the same dish every day for a week.
“I challenge people to cook from your pantry,” she said. “See what you’ve got at home and use it up. Sometimes we keep buying the same things over because we don’t stop and look.”
The participants also exchanged tips such as freezing bread and bread dough and when and where to find the best sales on food. As a finale, they mixed spice blends from jars of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, sage, salt, and basil.
Although they may live alone, English encouraged the class to make cooking a social activity in order to lighten the workload and eat a variety of food.
“Maybe get some friends together, cook together, and halve it,” she said. “That gives you that social outlet and gives you a chance to try something different.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.