How to summer – cooking for self

The joys of solo summer afternoons at home

There is an urban legend that cooking for one is cumbersome.

Back when I used to go into the office and have physical lunches with colleagues, that was the most popular excuse I heard from my peers in single households. They cannot be more wrong.

Cooking for one is the most fun a girl (or a guy) can have. Here’s how.

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Twenty Two

Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.

— Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life

My earliest food memory is the rainbow-colored nian gao from my grandfather.

Like many Chinese grandpas in downtown Yangon, he likes to go on a walk in the mornings. On his way back, he buys me these brightly colored, multi-layered Chinese rice cakes from a neighborhood street vendor in Chinatown, which is where I have spent a good portion of my childhood.

With a little linguistic twists and turns, the Chinese characters that make up the words “nian” and “gao” signify a more prosperous year or a better future outlook. This summarizes how my grandpa treats me: he calls me by my Chinese name “Precious Child” and after his morning walks, he hands me over “prosperity” disguised in the form of rice cakes.

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