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Solo
Cover of Solo
Solo
A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One
by Anita Lo
Borrow Borrow
EATER’S COOKBOOK OF THE YEAR
From the Michelin-starred chef and Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters contestant—a hilarious, self-deprecating, gorgeous new cookbook—the ultimate guide to cooking for one. With four-color illustrations by Julia Rothman throughout.
The life of a chef can be a lonely one, with odd hours and late-night meals. But as a result, Anita Lo believes that cooking and dining for one can, and should, be blissful and empowering. In Solo, she gives us a guide to self-love through the best means possible—delicious food—in 101 accessible, contemporary, and sophisticated recipes that serve one. 
Drawn from her childhood, her years spent cooking around the world, and her extensive travels, these are globally inspired dishes from Lo’s own repertoire that cater to the home table. Think Steamed Seabass with Shiitakes; Smoky Eggplant and Scallion Frittata; Duck Bolognese; Chicken Pho; Slow Cooker Shortrib with Caramelized Endive; Broccoli Stem Slaw; Chicken Tagine with Couscous; and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie—even a New England clambake for one. (Pssst! Want to share? Don’t worry, these recipes are easily multiplied!)
EATER’S COOKBOOK OF THE YEAR
From the Michelin-starred chef and Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters contestant—a hilarious, self-deprecating, gorgeous new cookbook—the ultimate guide to cooking for one. With four-color illustrations by Julia Rothman throughout.
The life of a chef can be a lonely one, with odd hours and late-night meals. But as a result, Anita Lo believes that cooking and dining for one can, and should, be blissful and empowering. In Solo, she gives us a guide to self-love through the best means possible—delicious food—in 101 accessible, contemporary, and sophisticated recipes that serve one. 
Drawn from her childhood, her years spent cooking around the world, and her extensive travels, these are globally inspired dishes from Lo’s own repertoire that cater to the home table. Think Steamed Seabass with Shiitakes; Smoky Eggplant and Scallion Frittata; Duck Bolognese; Chicken Pho; Slow Cooker Shortrib with Caramelized Endive; Broccoli Stem Slaw; Chicken Tagine with Couscous; and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie—even a New England clambake for one. (Pssst! Want to share? Don’t worry, these recipes are easily multiplied!)
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Introduction

    I put the “Lo” in alone. I’ve been dumped almost as many times as I’ve been in relationships—and I can count those on less than two hands. Spread over my 50 year life-span, that’s a lot of solo meals! So if you take that—coupled with my many years working as a professional chef—it seems that I’m particularly well-suited to write this book. Those chefs who say they can’t cook for less than 40 people? Not me—I can do math. It is my Asian birthright.

    I’m also fanatical about waste. Waste is what makes cooking for one, at least efficiently, so difficult. My parents were Chinese and my father survived the Cultural Revolution. Food, at least at some point during their lives, was scarce; as a result, I was taught never to waste one bit. In cooking school at the Ritz Escoffier in Paris we were taught to utilize every scrap, and at Bouley—my first cooking job—the sous chef used to look through our garbage cans to make sure we weren’t wasteful. It is an economic issue, but also an ecological and social one. When I cook for myself, much of my food involves using the sometimes overlooked but just-as delicious parts of meat and vegetables. For example, I grew up eating broccoli stems as well as the florettes. Instead of discarding cabbage hearts, my mother gave them to me to snack on raw while we were cooking. We didn’t use radish leaves, but they’re virtually identical to turnip greens, so I generally cook those along with the root itself, which helps you include more dark green vegetables in your diet. And all those parts in the bag that comes inside of a chicken? If used properly, those parts are pure flavor – and another meal. Plus, cooking this way is important if you’re working with fresh ingredients or off a budget.

    The hospitalitarian in me also dictates that meals should be balanced. (Yeah, chefs are neurotic.) There always MUST be a vegetable or two. And food should vary from day to day. It should be diverse in ingredients as well as in cultural provenance. Some days you’ll want to eat light and healthy; on other days, butter is a perfectly good substitute for love. True hospitality extends to others and to oneself. Too often we forget about the latter. This book will help you to remember how to take care of yourself.

    When I’m cooking at home, I generally make ingredient-focused dishes that are fast and easy—I leave the more complicated recipes for my professional life. I’ll buy a whole chicken from a local, humane farmer, which might cost a little more, but I make sure that I use every bit. The first night I’ll break it down and place the legs and wings in a vacuum sealer bag in usable portions to freeze. If I’m alone I’ll do the same with one side of the breast, and cook the other for dinner. The bones and neck and gizzard will go into a stock right away or into the freezer for a later date; and I’ll either freeze the liver until I have enough to make a mousse or chopped liver, or I’ll make a salad with it the next day, along with the heart, for a quick bistro lunch. Yes, dining alone doesn’t mean you’re misanthropic. Nor does it have to be depressing. Cooking and dining alone can be one of the most blissful and empowering experiences you can have.

    This book is for urban dwellers who would like to cook a fabulous, sophisticated meal for themselves, regardless of their circumstance. Although I have a soft spot for the depressed, jilted single, SOLO is also for those who are happiest on their own; or those who may be part of a fractured...
About the Author-
  • ANITA LO is an acclaimed chef who worked at Bouley and Chanterelle before opening the Michelin-starred restaurant annisa in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village in 2000, which she ran until it closed in 2017. Food & Wine named her one of ten Best New Chefs in America, and The Village Voice proclaimed her Best New Restaurant Chef. She has appeared on Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America, and Chopped; in 2015, she became the first female guest chef to cook at the White House. She lives in New York City and on Long Island.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 16, 2018
    In this marvelous debut cookbook, Lo, who was chef and owner of the restaurant Annisa in New York City for 17 years, recalls, “I’ve been dumped almost as many times as I’ve been in relationships,” then lays the groundwork for a clever compilation of recipes fit for anyone, not just for the lonely-hearted. Single-serving, one-dish meals include a Japanese-inspired ochazuke made with leftover cooked rice and Korean jap chae noodles that Lo learned to make while training as a chef in Seoul. Recipes include New Orleans–style barbecued shrimp, and grilled chicken breast with cumin, limes, and served with chilaquiles (a Mexican breakfast dish of leftover tortillas). Along the way, Lo entertains with sometimes self-deprecating stories, like the one about the Icelandic artist who broke up with her after they found a dead body on a date (and the Valentine’s Day dish the experience inspired—roasted arctic char with lentils and dates). “Don’t Waste It!” tips suggest ideas for leftovers (the unused coconut milk from Thai curry chicken can then be used in caramelized bananas), and a chapter on desserts includes cakes and pies, as well as fresh grapefruit enhanced by elderflower syrup and mint. A section on ingredients and equipment provides a form for logging ingredients and dishes kept in the freezer. Lo’s quirky tone and charming illustrations make this a winner.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2018

    Lo believes being alone doesn't mean one can't eat well. In fact, sometimes it means eating better, with a little skill and preparation. Lo (a Michelin-starred veteran of Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters) doesn't compromise when it comes to good food, and this accessible collection of 101 recipes for solo cooks delivers. Lo emphasizes full flavors and simple techniques, recognizing that home cooks get hungry and tired. Her goal isn't fast food, but you won't spend all day in the kitchen{amp}mdash;unless you want to. The dishes are substantial and run the gamut from smothered chicken leg and a biscuit to kibbe with tahini sauce and japchae. Unlike some cooking-for-one titles, this volume doesn't expect the diner to eat the same thing for days in a row; the recipes are truly scaled for one, though they can easily be modified to serve more people if desired. Lo is also funny, noting how some dishes work better when you are heartbroken. VERDICT An excellent choice for anyone who cooks alone.{amp}mdash;Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2018
    The jury is out on whether cooking for a party of one is depressing or empowering. Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters contestant Lo's new book makes the case for empowerment. In the introduction, Lo deploys the faddish language of self-care to justify investing the money and the time to prepare good, fresh meals for one. But the recipes themselves?loose, creative, and international in scope?make a better argument for cooking as not just a means to an end but itself a creative and curious activity. Recipes never run more than a page, and each is paired with a brief anecdote or lesson in culinary history. In the recipes themselves, amounts are often approximations, flush with substitutes ( one small tomato cut into wedges, or 6 grape tomatoes, halved ), and the instructions are forgiving ( Don't worry too much about slicing this perfectly ). Though the directions are simple and easy to follow, many dishes include harder-to-find ethnic ingredients like kombu or Thai bird chili. And, as Lo admits, This book is for urban dwellers. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • Eater "There is no smarter cookbook out this year, filled with personality and grace, that's better at nudging us into the kitchen, in the midst of tumultuous times, to nourish ourselves. . . . Unlike many cookbooks that promise chef-driven techniques adapted for the home cook, Solo actually delivers."
  • Tejal Rao, The New York Times "A book celebrating the simple act of cooking for yourself. . . . A cookbook that speaks directly to a growing proportion of single Americans. . . . [Lo] carefully stocks her own kitchen with kimchi, tahini and dried anchovies. A touch of any of these ingredients can change the direction of a dish."
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A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One
Anita Lo
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