“I am so into traditional cooking… but I only cook for one!” said Olivia B.
We so often do large batches of kefir, sprouted grains, nuts, etc. for large families or people who eat them every day, but this doesn't work for Olivia.
She is wondering how to live a traditional cooking lifestyle for just herself.
This is a great question, Olivia, and I know you're not the only one because we often hear from people who are single, married but their spouse is not on board with healthy eating, newly married without children, or “empty-nesters”.
Whatever the situation may be, on today's #AskWardee I'm sharing five tips to help you cook traditional foods for one (or two!)… you'll get all the benefits of the healthy, nutritious foods without as much work or waste! 🙂
Watch, listen, or read below!
The Question: How To Cook Traditional Foods For One
Olivia B. asked:
I am so into traditional cooking. I love how meditative and yet exciting it is to make kefir or sourdough, and how I can feel the nourishment coming from homemade broth and fermented vegetables. But here’s the thing… I only cook for one!
It seems like many traditional foods (kefir, sourdough starters, kombucha, large batches of sprouted grains or nuts) were made for large families or people who consume them every day. I am single and a student in college. I live at home right now and am the only person who drinks kefir, for example (no one else is into the taste). Since I don’t drink 2 to 3 cups of it every day, I am constantly putting it to sleep in my fridge until I finish off a batch. I don’t even want to try a sourdough starter since my family members are almost all low-carb, and I can’t eat bread that fast! How should I fit a traditional cooking lifestyle for one person?
This is such a great question, Olivia. You can definitely cook traditional foods… just for one (or two)!
Here are my suggestions — they all come down to scaling down and taking advantage of the fridge/freezer!
Tip #1 — Scale Recipes Down
Nearly all traditional foods — like all recipes — can be scaled down.
And you can even keep a small sourdough starter, by feeding with what I call “daily maintenance amounts” as I shared in this #AskWardee 052 episode.
However, you don't always need to scale down because…
Tip #2 — “Stop” Or “Slow” Things Down In The Fridge Or Freezer
Yes, we do tend to make big batches of things when we're feeding families. Yet, even a normal recipe's yield may be too much for one person. As you well know, Olivia. 🙂
So… cook reasonable amounts and freeze portions for later. For instance…
With bread, bake, then slice, then freeze. Frozen by the slice, each piece thaws and toasts easily in the toaster in single serve portions! You can do this with English muffins (slice in half before freezing), pancakes, and waffles, too!
Even cakes or quick breads can be cut into individual pieces and each frozen wrapped separately in parchment paper or plastic wrap. I do this a lot for certain family members who are the only ones eating a certain dish.
Same thing with broth, beans, rice, and soups. And again, to make it easiest for you to thaw and reheat single portions, freeze in single portions. You can use ziploc bags or invest in freezer containers. Whatever will work with your family's freezer and budget.
And as you might know, many traditional foods are living foods — like ferments.
Putting them in the fridge slows them down — they continue to age, but slowly. Putting them in the freezer stops the aging. So continue to put your kefir in the fridge. Or freezer! And foods like sauerkraut can be frozen, too. 🙂
Sourdough starter keeps well in the fridge for a week at a time. So, if you only want to use it one day a week, store it in the fridge (after having been fed) for a week before pulling it out again and building it up to use.
And if you are soaking/dehydrating nuts or seeds, store them in the freezer so they'll last longer. Really, everyone should be storing nuts in the fridge or freezer to prevent rancidity, anyway!
Tip #3 — Key Bulk Foods That Store Well
If your family has room for food storage, there are certain foods you can keep on hand that will last for years (provided they are stored in the dark and cool and away from moisture).
Take whole grains, for example. Sprouted grains (you sprout them, dry them, then store them so they're ready to mill — here's how).
Beans are another example of a bulk food that stores well. You'll save money by buying bulk, yet you don't have to worry about spoilage if you keep them in their dry state in storage, ready to cook when needed.
Want more information about how to make buying in bulk more affordable? Check out Community Food Co-Ops (What They Are & How to Find One).
Tip #4 — Prep Foods “On Demand”
If you or your family have or can invest in some key tools, you can prepare some traditional foods “on demand” rather than in large batches.
For instance, if you have a Mockmill (the home stone grain mill I recommend), you can mill your flour in exactly the quantities you need. Because whole grains store better than flour, this prevents any bulk flour purchases from going rancid and allows you to save money because you can buy larger quantities of whole grains at bulk prices.
Your mill can produce flour for bread or baked goods recipes, for coating fried foods like chicken, and even cracking grains that you cook up into porridge. Do just what you need for the meal in front of you.
Another example is a waffle maker to make waffles “on demand”. You can keep batter in the fridge for a few days and make waffles as you need them. Or, if you like batch cooking, make enough for a week and freeze to pop in the toaster. We have and love this ceramic coated waffle iron.
Tip #5 — Single Serve To-Go Meals
Finally, because you're a student, you probably find yourself packing lunches or meals for on the go, right?
Why not pre-prep a few day's worth of lunches in convenient to-go containers or jars?
Whole grains, veggies, boiled eggs, and salads with dressings can be layered in jars or to-go containers. Put the dressing on the bottom so it doesn't make anything soggy. Then each day, grab one on your way out the door!
- FREE Traditional Cooking Video Series
- 6 Simple Steps To Getting Started With Traditional Foods #AskWardee 013
- #AskWardee 052 — feeding your starter with daily maintenance amounts so you don't have any extra
- Ceramic coated waffle iron
- Mockmill — get 2 free eBooks from me with your purchase
- How To Make Healing Homemade Broths & Stocks
- How To Make Milk Kefir (& why it's so good for you!)
- Perfect Soaked Rice (Instant Pot or any pressure cooker!)
- Cooking Dried Beans
- How & Why To Soak & Dehydrate Nuts & Seeds
- How To Sprout Grains
- Sourdough English Muffins
- Oh-So Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes
- Sourdough Waffles
- 2 Sourdough Routines With Einkorn— Daily & Weekly Care
- How To Make a Sourdough Starter
- 33 Nourishing Main Dish Salads
- 25 Fermented Fruits & Chutneys
- Fermented Cranberry-Orange Relish
- Easy-To-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs
- How To Make Sauerkraut In A Stoneware Crock
- 10 Traditional Cooking Tips For The New Wife On A Budget… With Basic Pantry & Equipment Lists!
- My Spouse Won’t Eat Real Food! Help!
- Community Food Co-Ops (What They Are & How to Find One)
The #AskWardee Show is the live weekly show devoted to answering your niggling questions about Traditional Cooking: whether it's your sourdough starter, your sauerkraut, preserving foods, broth, superfoods or anything else to do with Traditional Cooking or your GNOWFGLINS lifestyle.
I share tips and resources, plus answer your questions about Traditional Cooking!
When: Wednesdays at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern
What If You Can't Make It?
Don't worry. You can catch the replays or listen to the podcast!
- Come back here to AskWardee.TV; all replays will be up within hours of airing live; the print notes are always posted at the same time I go live.
- Go to Traditional Cooking School on Facebook to view the Facebook Live replay.
- Subscribe to the #AskWardee podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, or the Podcasts app. While you're there, be sure to leave a rating and review!
Want To Get YOUR Question Answered?
Here's how to submit your question. If we answer it on #AskWardee, you'll get a gift!
- Tweet your question to @TradCookSchool on Twitter; use hashtag #AskWardee
- Send an email to wardee at AskWardee dot tv — add #AskWardee to your email so I know it's for the show
Please do NOT add future questions for #AskWardee to the comments of this post because they might get missed!
If you cook Traditional Foods for one (or two), please share your tips in the comments!
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