Many Chowhounds scorn the trappings of civilization when eating alone—food can be enjoyed straight from the pot while standing up in the kitchen, and even eaten with the fingers. “It’s one reason I like to eat meat on bones when I’m alone—so I don’t have to worry about what I look like,” says chowser. But others enjoy the ceremony of carefully plating food when eating solo. “Character is defined by what you do when no one is looking,” says INDIANRIVERFL. “I have no idea where the statement comes from, but I heartily agree. Living alone, I enjoy taking the extra 5 minutes to arrange things in a nice manner. The more involved the prep and execution, the more trouble I go to on the plate.”

luciaannek finds this practice a lot of fun: “Last time I ate alone, I made lamb chops in a yogurt marinade with rice, salad and spicy eggplant sauce. It was great! I plated it on the huge white plates my family has for special occasions and carefully placed the salad and rice in the middle, leaned the chops on top, and drizzled over the sauce. I’m pretty sure I garnished it with parsley.”

The act of carefully plating food for oneself is a reminder that food affects all senses, not just taste. “I’ve always found it to be part of the natural progression of making sure you’re having a good meal—no matter how simple,” says weezieduzzit. “People are visual and having a nicely plated meal is feeding another of the senses. It’s part of the complete experience, part of the sense of accomplishment.”

Discuss: Dining Alone at Home – Plating

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