Food for a creative life: pretty meals for a solo oldie

The creative life requires food. As a solo oldie I eat intuitively. Mostly good food, pretty food, quick food eaten alone at home. This is the food that nobody else sees, so I thought you might be interested in what I’ve eaten over the last two days. I’m interested too, as every meal is a random compilation of whatever happens to be in the fridge. Usually I decide what to eat on the second last stair as I hurry downstairs from my office to the kitchen.

By the way, I’m seriously lucky to have my own teeth and have no age-related changes that affect my eating.

Like you, I have more than enough information about food values and the immense value of food with less meat and more fruit, veges and whole grains. (It’s impossible not to know.) But that’s second nature now, just a habit when I’m food-shopping. If you live and work alone at home and there’s not much processed food in the house, you can’t help having colourful and healthy meals. My meals are not a “diet” โ€” horrible word. They are meals. And given that basis, my meals and snacks are yummy and not consciously, purposefully constructed on nutrition.

Pretty breakfasts are tweaked, not changed

It’s comforting to find a breakfast you love and just stick to it, don’t you think? Mine is two or three fruits chopped up, with yoghurt, granola and milk keffir, plus small glass of kombucha. The keffir and kombucha are home made: I tried them long ago for health reasons and carried on because they are yummy. I forgot to take a photo but it’s always a very pretty meal.

Yesterday’s lunch

On a flowery old dinner plate, sour-dough bread, braised mushrooms and shiny spinach
Spinach and mushrooms on toast

Shiny spinach with a dash of fish sauce. Mushrooms braised with a dash of cream. On fabulous sourdough ryebread, which was kind of overpowering so I ate it separately.

Disgusting after-lunch snack for a greedy oldie

Tim Tams were on special and I greedily ate two. Here they are garnished with the disgustingly rich and stiff coconut cream, left over from the night before. And coffee, but how many cups of coffee do you want to see? I have about three most days, some of them decaff.

Last night’s solo oldie’s dinner

Salad of cos lettuce, daikon, carrot and mandarin. Thai fish soup. A glass of red wine.
Yummy dinner of fish soup and salad

So last night I made a quick fish soup with the remains of the stiff coconut cream (much diluted), potato, hoki, laksa powder (because I’d run out of red curry paste), and half a tin of chopped tomatoes. Salad was cos lettuce, daikon, carrot and mandarin. Yummy.

Post-pilates snack for an old person

Half a slice of avocado on rye sourdough. The other half is in my tummy.

Here I am at my desk, back from an early swim and Pilates class, hungry as usual. So it’s more of that sourdough rye bread, this time nicely matched to bland avocado. Notice the Japanese cup? It tells the truth: “SIP, SIP, YUMMY!

What I’m working on

I see that you noticed notes on my desk. On top, scribbled on an old envelope, notes about the difference between environmental economics and ecological economics. Why? My big job this week is rejigging the script of my play, The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People. (By the way, I am old but not extremely old.) One character, 90 years old, is an economist who got his PhD in 1958, when Keynesian theory ruled in Cambridge. He’s gamely examining mainstream theories in the light of climate crisis. Also you might have noticed the lyrics for Aloha ‘Oe, a lovely Hawaiian dance that our group is learning.

Below, as another insight into my creative life, is the other side of the desk. More notes on various strands of economics. An orange marker for my diary, to mark dates for AirBnB guests. A bit of a calculator for working out the budget for The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People. Oh yes, a notice from the hospital about an appointment.

Messy desk of a creative person on a roll.
The creative life: messy desk of an old person on a roll.

What a mess! Now I have to go hard at the writing for the next four hours. Then the notes will be torn up as litter for my cat. Who may have a creative life, but it is certainly not visible to the naked eye.

Enjoy your day. Enjoy your food!

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22 thoughts on “Food for a creative life: pretty meals for a solo oldie

  1. Myra says:

    Love this piece Rachel. Thankyou. I have a favourite 7 veges 7 spices soup which I cook in my rice cooker. Takes about 10 minutes prep and 40 minutes cooking. One of my favourite winter soups. And of course always better the next day. Includes red lentils and any other six veges. Cayenne, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, and salt are the seven flavours I use. Hope you are well. Iโ€™m off to Japan today for three weeks, travelling alone from North to South. Very excited.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Hey Miraz, that sounds such a great draft for a soup. It would be delicious but different every time. I’m thrilled to hear about your trip to Japan. You will love it. Keep us posted!

  2. This post is delightful. It was interesting to read about your food, along with your comments.

  3. Cathy Cade says:

    Most of my meals are inventions concocted to finish up stuff in the fridge before it goes off!
    I object to paying more for stuff packaged in smaller amounts. In fact, I try to avoid packaging altogether these days, but it can be a wrench leaving behind some of those bulk-buy offers. My shopping habits are ingrained from the decades when I was cooking for six (and whoever else came home with the sprogs or turned up on the doorstep).

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I understand. Bulk buying for a small household can often waste money, not save it!

  4. chattykerry says:

    I rather like the idea of that disgusting snack…๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It was delish. For a change.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    My husband likes to cook big quantities of soups and stews. I package them up in freezer containers and put them in our freezer. I actually had to buy a second freezer a few years ago to hold all his blueberries and tomatoes. We always have something to eat around here! For breakfast I have a slice of toast from a bread I have been making for many years–lots of grains and seeds–with almond butter. Lunch is usually leftover from aforementioned dinners.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What satisfying patterns we develop with precious years of practice.

  6. Are Tim Tams chocolate covered graham crackers? How astute of you to know we’d all be eyeing your notes! Actually, quite refreshing to see us creatives – no matter our age – make such lovely messes when we’re ‘on a roll’.

  7. alison41 says:

    Your meals look good. One of the perks of solo living is eating whatever takes your fancy, whenever it takes your fancy, and not having to cater to accommodate others’ food fads and fancies. Bon appetit!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Yes it is a blessing and I make the most of it.

  8. Sadje says:

    Youโ€™re awesome Rachel! Such healthy lifestyle. An inspiration to people like me.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Really? Somehow that happened!? I can’t take much credit because I grew up when snacks meant apples and everyone had a vege garden. That’s one huge advantage of being an old Kiwi.

      1. Sadje says:

        The advantage of growing up in a health conscious era.

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        It was not so much health-conscious as simple.

      3. Sadje says:

        Yes it was. No โ€˜junkโ€™ Food available

      4. Rachel McAlpine says:

        It certainly was healthy!

      5. Sadje says:

        It was

  9. cedar51 says:

    In the last few years, when I was struggling with gut issues, I’ve rejigged many times – and about 2 months ago, I suddenly realised that what I’d done with breakfast was the best idea. I have porridge with additions – at this point tblspn of LSA, some toasted coconut, sprinkle of cinnamon, with milk. And then take a cup of milk with a new med, that needs that kind of liquid. I no longer drink tea or coffee..

    Sometimes an hour later I will add toast with honey or lemon curd

    Lunch is whatever is left over, if not a toasted sannie – but that’s not time dependent, often it’s mid arvo (my new meds suppresses my need to eat, I forget the time), snack which follows with yoghurt and something else, like crackers. Fruit – often when I go for local walk, an apple (there’s an empty section, that I biff the core into…

    Dinner is more constructed, but sometimes limited as I’m still finding my way with some food items.

    I’ve been trying and mostly succeeding to cut out sweet things, but one item I found I could tolerate in those gut years was marshmallows!

    I do not like the look of raw meat, I buy mostly organic burgers;. Recently I’ve adventured into canned goods, like beans, I’ve found more frozen vegetables.

    My gut issues and indirectly me are way better and I’ve no stress about what it is that is fueling me ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You have reminded me of just how different we all are, not just from each other but at different stages of our lives. I am glad you have worked out a regime that works well for you.

  10. candidkay says:

    I love that you make yourself healthy meals! So many people who live alone don’t and I think it’s a really nourishing (body and soul) part of life they miss.

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