The Long Way Home

Chopped Haggis Omelet and Other Things We Love to Eat When We’re Alone

300px-Making_eggs_in_basketduckle-duckleHannah Bantry,

In the pantry,

Gnawing at a mutton bone;

How she gnawed it,

How she clawed it,

When she found herself alone.


I confess: When Jeff is at band practice and I’m left to my own culinary devices, I fall back on my single-girl habits: ramen noodles doused in Sriracha eaten right out of the pot (it has to be out of the pot). I like cold mushroom soup from a can, and when I’m dining at a restaurant, I spear pats of butter with the tines of a fork and eat them.  It’s the salty-creaminess that I can’t resist, conjuring my grape jelly and buttered toast obsession from childhood.

I eat pasta for breakfast and scrambled eggs for dinner. I love chocolate chip cookies first thing in the morning. One of my more recent favorite meals was a few months ago with Roya. We spent the afternoon talking for hours while eating cold beets with ham and cheese slices. It’s amazing to have  a partner-in-food-crime who will eat strange combinations, no matter the time of day.

When I’m not at home, Jeff will work on projects for hours in the studio, forgetting to eat at all. But sometimes I’ll catch him drinking pickle juice straight from the jar. It was recently that my sister reminded me of what we used to do as kids to make our mac and cheese a little tastier: add Italian dressing. She still eats mac and cheese this way when she cooks up a box for my niece and nephews. 

What do you eat when you’re alone? The guilty pleasures surrounding freaky food combinations fascinates me. Nobody talks about them, and when it is mentioned, it’s always with embarrassment.  Not only did people confess some strange-ass food dishes, they also revealed their own bizarre food rituals (like Derek, the inspiration for this blog, who is so addicted to Sour Patch Kids, he saves the leftover tart-sugar mix at the bottom of the bag so he can roll gummy worms in it). Some dishes did not sound strange or gross to me, like my friend Ralphie’s affinity for eggs in a basket, but his girlfriend pokes fun at his favorite way to eat breakfast.

It made me think about how people assign food rules — what you can and cannot eat — and how, if we break those rules (often through putting condiments on anything other than hot dogs or hamburgers), our eating habits are judged as gross. What one person may call ‘comfort food’ isn’t necessarily universal. 

The following meals are not from your grandmothers’ kitchens. 09_35_5---Haggis_web

Dan, recovering MFA graduate missing his adopted homeland, Scotland:

Last year, Alyssa was in the states for about a month and half, around the same time my dissertation was due. Suffice to say, things got weird (and fattening).

Bacon and chopped haggis omelet.

Thick cut chips, slathered in mashed potatoes and gravy, topped with ketchup and malt vinegar (the place I got this dish, across the
street, was called ‘Monster Mash’).

Panini sandwich made with tomato, goat cheese and two pieces of store-bought nan.

Nan ‘pizza’ (though in this case the nan has to be fresh, from the curry shop).

By the end of August, my dissertation was in, Alyssa was home with me, and I had gained about five pounds.Sometimes, when the mood strikes, I will roast a large head of garlic until soft and caramelized, cut the top off, squeeze out the soft garlic, and eat like pudding. Oh, and in Japan, I would buy a fresh baguette, slather it with Nutella, eat half for dinner and eat the other half for breakfast.

Stasia: images

I eat yellow mustard on my plain Lays potato chips – tastes like a pickle.

Mayo is good on everything — hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries, sausage. 

I love plain cooked ground beef as a meal. images-1

I heat pepperoni slices in the microwave for a minute.  Makes them crispy like when they are on pizza.

I love vodka with Kool Aid.  Yummy. 

Becky, mother of four:

Some of my single girl recipes:

Dinty Moore stew (looks like dog food) with sauerkraut or sour cream on top.

Slab of iceberg lettuce, Frank’s red hot, and tuna fish straight from the can, then rolled up.

Cheap tomato soup with ramen noodles crumbled on top.

Ramen noodle beef or chicken flavor packets dissolved in hot water, then throw raw and scrambled eggs on top so it cooks in broth.

Cheap white bread, toasted dark, with Isaly’s chipped ham and Heinz ketchup (my favorite).  Variation: add horseradish from the jar.

Poor man’s lasagna: slice of iceberg lettuce, crumbled cooked ground beef, ketchup, slice of lettuce, and repeat.  The hot beef wilts the lettuce.

Cheap white bread slice, peanut butter, banana slices, honey, then top off with uncooked oatmeal and another slice of bread. Yum!

Sarah, who is as obsessed about weird-ass food – or anything weird — as much as I am:

Some crap I eat:frozen_peas460

Oranges dipped in yellow mustard. 

Spaghetti-o’s right out of the can.

Frozen, clumped-together peas.

Spoonful of cream cheese with sugar sprinked on it.

Cold coffee in the evening (been sitting on my counter- or worse, in a cup- since the morning).

Alex, gifted cook who dines out frequently:I eat enough weird stuff alone at restaurants. A couple months ago at Eleven I was dipping bacon and fries into chocolate sauce. Or the time recently when I went to 21st, bought a pint of chocolate milk, had them steam it and add it to my macchiato.  Then I put ice cream into it. On a related note, due to someone telling me this, some day soon I am going to go to DQ, get an ice cream cone, put ketchup on top and stick fries into it. 


My only confession is that when I’m home alone I eat constantly.  I actually try not to have snacks around because it makes this easier.  But I guess the weird thing is that I only eat things a bite at a time.  I’ll go into the kitchen and eat a cracker.  Then I’ll leave and do something else.  I’ll go back to the kitchen and have a bite of something left over.  Then I’ll leave and do something else. I’ll go back to the kitchen and cut a tiny slice off the end of a piece of cake or banana bread or something.  Then I’ll leave and do something else. I’ll go back to the kitchen and eat a teaspoon of peanut butter.  Then I’ll leave and do something else.  I’ll go back to the kitchen and eat a handful of dry cereal. Then I’ll leave and do something else.  I’ll go back to the kitchen and ransack jars in the fridge: beets, baby corn, pickles, maraschino cherries. . . Then I’ll leave and do something else.

 Over and over all day until someone comes home.



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

add strawberry sauce, too


Comment by Bill

This is amazing – we have to have a party where we have banana dogs!


Comment by Lisa

my friend was telling me that she eats “banana hot dogs”, which is a banana on a hotdog bun (or piece of bread). the “mustard and ketchup” part is peanut butter.


Comment by s

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