While there are many cookbooks that provide recipes suitable for feeding families, the library of cookbooks for single eaters is fairly small. Stephanie Bostic, a nutritionist at the Harvard School of Public Health, adds a new volume to the bookshelves with One Bowl: Simple Healthy Recipes for One, a stylish resource for those who usually dine alone.
Bostic’s emphasis is on healthy cooking, with vegetarian dishes dominating the recipe collection—but she avoids the preachy, tedious exhortations that characterize so many health-conscious books. Instead, she lets her enthusiasm for natural ingredients, ethnic-inspired recipes, and unusual flavors do the sales pitch to persuade singles to cook for themselves rather than rely on takeout and packaged foods. She is also an effective vegetable evangelist, injecting several items from the produce aisle into each recipe and sidebar note.
In addition to sixty interesting recipes, the book provides basic shopping and cooking tips, nutrition facts, and ways to stock the single person’s pantry and kitchen. This information is tucked into traditional cookbook chapters, i.e., breakfasts, soups and salads, desserts, and other categories. The design is clean, with one recipe per page. The type is large, the cooking techniques are simple and well-explained, and the overall effect is encouraging rather than daunting, especially for the novice cook. All of the recipes in One Bowl can be adapted to seasonal ingredients and the reader’s palate or dietary needs.
A few simple tweaks could improve this cookbook. It has only six color photographs, and they all reside on the covers. A cookbook benefits greatly from a generous number of photos, so that readers can view a dish or a technique they are trying for the first time. Also, a few recipes seem better suited to larger serving sizes, such as one that calls for one-eighth of a head of cabbage and another that requires half of a small eggplant.
According to U.S. Census figures from 2000, 25.5 percent of Americans live in single-person households—so this book will certainly help fill an important niche. Although kitchen veterans will enjoy the many unusual recipes, with the nutrition and basic-cooking information, One Bowl: Simple Healthy Recipes for One also targets newbie cooks, making it a great choice for a recent graduate.