I was looking forward to Labor Day weekend because I had a huge St. Lawrence Market lobster, alive, in my fridge. How lucky am I to work a block away from the market recently named best in the world by National Geographic. Best in the WORLD. My intentions were to eat said large lobster, all alone in my backyard on Saturday afternoon.
So I wake up, dilly dally around the house. Drag myself around picking up wrappers, putting caps on pens. I unearth the largest pot I own, fill it with water and season it with as much salt as an ocean-creature would appreciate. I heard once you should fill up the pot with water straight from the ocean –but Toronto west is currently lacking.
I bring the lobster into the backyard and take some selfies (no?).
Then she goes in quickly, quietly – no hissing, throbbing, clanging against the lid.
I wait 15 minutes until she turns a recognizable red, a la Cuban Vacation ’08. I carry her outside on a plate.
How to Eat Alone:
1. Choose a complicated meal to eat, not necessarily to cook.
Eating alone should be a form of meditation. The more “work” involved – in slicing through a thick steak, cracking seafood shells, nibbling nooks and crannies of a chicken until the bone is clean – the more you will be able to separate yourself from the uncomfortable notion of being alone, checking you phone, and thinking… at all.
2. Eat as slowly as possible.
It took me an hour to eat my entire lobster. I cracked one single leg at a time, sucked the salty juices out, laid back on the grass. I stared it in the eyes to see if it was still alive (don’t animal’s eyes freak you out?!). This will contribute to the meditative aspect of eating alone and unwinding…so don’t be too starved and gulp it all down in one go.
3. Try to eat outside.
There simply aren’t as many living things inside to look at. Everything is static indoors. Framed pictures, okaaay…you’ve seen them a million times. Oh, a smudge on the wall. Must clean that – put it on a to-do list. Magazines…thinking. You are doing too much thinking.
If you can eat your meal alone outside, go have a look. Turn the corner and sit in the park. There are things flying everywhere out there! Planes in the sky, birds, bees are still a thing…I know because I got stung for the first time the other day.
4. Forget etiquette.
If you are already outside, alone, in the great outdoors listening to the world and trying to stop thinking for a while then drop the habits which are for other people: no napkins, cutlery only if you need it, eat with your hands, let things fall off the plate onto grass, skip a chair, sit on the ground, sprawl a little. Let some kind of sauce drip down a neck, a chin, an arm. And leave it there.
Does eating alone make you feel uncomfortable? Do you rush through it? And a better question yet…what’s your favourite food to eat alone?