Living alone and cooking for one | Inquirer Opinion
High blood

Living alone and cooking for one

12:08 AM January 31, 2017

Living alone is not always pleasant for most senior citizens, but I am having the time of my life. When I moved from a four-bedroom-plus-study house with five full-sized bathrooms to a condo with one bedroom, two bathrooms, and a barely-there kitchen with a maid’s room converted into a pantry back in 2008, my intention was to simplify my life and to conserve funds and energy.

I moved to this building with the barest essentials and I am still in the process of decluttering. It wasn’t easy giving away most of my earthly possessions accumulated through the years, but it happened. I hurt from parting with my treasures, like expensive pots and pans, but I lack cabinet space. So I had to make a decision to cook or not to cook. Without a maid, preparing meals can be a problem.

For good health it is best to live like a dog: Eat once a day, take long walks, and sleep a lot. Meanwhile, I had to do some serious calculations and I figured that eating one meal out is more practical than buying, preparing, cooking, and washing up after a meal. It is tedious and unrealistic to cook for one. Eating out is less expensive, too, and one can have anything one wants, even some dishes that take a lot of stress to prepare at home. One can save a lot because you spend more money, unintentionally, when visiting the supermarket.

Now, the biggest decision I have to make each day is what and where to have a meal. There are at least four fast food outlets in the mall on the ground floor of my building, but I have a problem with every one of them. One is too expensive with no value for money, the other has salty food, while the other has boring, bland food. The more popular one has inconsistent servings and moldy buns.


I am somewhat dumb, and the day I discovered the mold was exactly the day I forgot my phone so I couldn’t take a picture and possibly make some good deals. Oh, well. LOL!

Now I am a big fan of eating out. You can have your choice of restaurants and have good, hassle-free, inexpensive meals. For example, tonight, I thought I’d get through the day with three boiled eggs, but it is more fun to eat out. An added bonus is meeting some senior citizens like Art L., E.R. Tagle, and Manny V., who are intelligent, witty, and funny guys. I could say good-looking, too, but that might be taking it a bit too far.

My favorite hangout place is this new Chinese restaurant which includes Korean and Japanese dishes. Last night I had a bowl of rice topped with crunchy tempura shrimps and a piece of eggplant. It had a delicious sweet sauce. I ordered as additional side dishes four more tiny fried eggplants, one sunny side up, and strange and creepy chicken feet. But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It was delicious!

Leave it to the ingenuity of the Chinese not to waste a thing. I am wondering when they will cast their attention on the beak, claws, and crown of a rooster. I think they already took care of the tongue. Serves that rooster right for cock-a-doodle-doo-ing so early in the morning, when folks are still fast asleep. The feast I had cost P200 only, minus the 10-percent tip.


Someone said that the richest man is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the least. Living simply and wanting almost nothing—that’s the key to happiness. No cars, no house, no active social life; plenty of time to read, to write, to watch TV, to meditate, to enjoy restaurant food. No traffic, no worries—that’s the life!

Shirley Wilson de las Alas, 78, lives alone happily. “I love cooking but there comes a time in one’s life when giving up certain things can contribute to one’s happiness,” she says.

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TAGS: Chinese food, Cooking, opinion, Senior citizen

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