This is the eight installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers, musicians, politicians and other smart people think you ought to know about. Today's contributor is hip hop star Jean Grae. Stay apprised of her many goings-on at JeanGrae.com and on Twitter @jeangreasy.
If you’re like me, you’re single.
Also, a bunch of other things, but that’s probably not best to get into right now.
So here you are. Standing outside the window of a fancy restaurant watching your ex have dinner with someone...NOT YOU.
It’s raining. The lighting inside of the restaurant is warm, amber, romantic. The tables are filled with couples whose torsos stretch gently over the candlelit tables in effort to be closer to each other, as they speak in hushed, soft tones.
You can hear them smile through the window.
You pull your trench coat tighter around your sweats and thin hoodie.
Is...? Oh no. Your ex pulls out a tiny jewelry box and starts to get out of his chair. His date gasps, brings her hand to her heart.
Just at that moment, rain that has been collecting on the ledge over your head, overflows, dumping a bucket's worth of cold water directly on you. You scream. Everyone in the restaurant turns to look at you. Your ex squints in disbelief, mouths your name.
IS THAT WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO!??!?!
It’s a rough day to be eating alone. Just cause you know. You KNOW that people are having super romantic dinners. You hate them. You love people generally, but today is rough.
I understand. It’s okay.
Eat this stuff and feel better. I got your back, homie.
1. TV Dinners
Anything that is really on some “single serving” stylee. Or a Lean Cuisine meal, or a Hot Pocket.
I get a TV dinner probably once every five years or so. They remind me of my mom. No, she didn’t serve us TV dinners all the time. My mom was and still is, a fabulous cook. She was doing a lot: running a record label, making albums, raising kids, managing my dad. Every once in a while she just got us a damn TV dinner.
Fried chicken with the tiny brownie and the corn and mashed potatoes? Feels like memories. Even though my mom really liked the Salisbury steak dinner. I secretly liked it. I still secretly like it.
Sometimes on tour, TV dinners are the only thing left to get in hotels that don’t have 24 hour room service. I will tear a TV dinner up with a quickness. But hey, a TV dinner on Valentine’s Day isn’t a bad thing. You’re just going straight for the stereotypical jugular. Yes, they will judge you at the checkout counter and you’re okay with that.
Also, TV dinners have gotten a lot better. Kashi has a line of frozen entrees. There’s Amy’s Kitchen, Organic Bistro...blah blah. If you really care.
Plus, you don’t have to wash any plates and you have room for the five bottles of Malbec you’re going to drink to numb the pain.
2. Five Bottles of Malbec (or whatever other red wine get out of here with white wine in February, for drowning sadness, you SAVAGE)
Yeah. I believe this counts as “eating” if you’re gonna have 5 bottles.
You don’t have to break the bank, if you’re on a budget. Grab you some Graffigna Centenario and go for it. Or any other selection of a great under $20 wine.
Okay, you’re probably not going to get through five bottles of wine by yourself. You probably also shouldn’t, because no one wants alcohol poisoning.
Hey, it’s wine, it’s delicious. Have some. Also, get a really nice candle. A big one that smells yummy.
Put some jazz on. Run a bubble bath. HIDE YOUR PHONE FROM YOURSELF.
Keep eating wine. LEAVE THAT PHONE ALONE!
3. MAD CARBS AND DAIRY AND OIL AND SNACKS, YO
Get a loaf of great bread. From a bakery. Or a supermarket. Whatever you want. I don’t know what you want. Something with olives in it? Rosemary? Sundried tomatoes? None of the above? Baguette? Focaccia?
It’s up to you.
Now, get things that will go with this bread.
A great olive oil.
A wonderful pesto.
A tapenade (I’m thinking about this anchovy and black tapenade that I had recently. OMG YES SO GOOD.)
Olives. A gang of mixed olives.
Sea salt chocolate.
An Asian pear.
Meats. Prosciutto...whatever, man.
CHEESE. CHEESE AND MORE CHEESE.
Get you some GOOD damn cheese.
You could even make some Burrata. Dear lord, you should make some Burrata. It’s an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. Yes. Exactly.
Anyways, it’s not that hard to learn how to make. I’ve done it. It’s delicious and amazing and now you will know how to make cheese and THAT, is sexy. Make some Burrata and level up in life. People get excited when you tell them you make cheese. THEN THEY WILL MARRY YOU. OH!
Put everything on a big chopping board or a wooden whatever. Sit there. Eat it.
4. Butter Poached Lobster Tail and Filet Mignon
I like this one a lot because it feels like, “What people feel is the expensive date thing to have, but people in movies and not really in 2013, but I’m sure a lot of people actually feel this way still, you could probably find someone like that, which is not a bad thing, because COME ON, I f***ing love lobster and steak and who doesn’t want butter, so really it’s still a great thing I’m sure I could put a modern twist on it.”
I’m not going to give you recipes for this, because you’re on the internet and you would be so lazy to not just type that into Google. What’s wrong with you? That’s probably why you’re single. Type it in, dummyface.
5. A Pizza and Salad
There are some different ways to go about this. I think whichever is fine. It’s up to you, man. See, what’s cool about being single is that it’s all up to you. You can do what you want. You don’t have to worry about who doesn’t like what topping. Nah, man. Cool. So.
Order a pizza if you want. Get whatever you want.
Or. Get some pizza dough. Or those super handy ready for topping pizza crusts. Then, get WHATEVER YOU WANT TO PUT ON THEM!
It’s fun. It’s an activity and it’s delicious.
My favorite pizza that I made last year included prawns and white truffles. Yes, man.
Now. Make a great salad. I mean a really beautiful salad.
Go daffodil greens, watercress, or maybe endive. Go arugula and shave some asiago, with Meyer lemon and black pepper. Use herbs, get edible flowers and sprinkle those on it (awesome).
Make a gorgeous, fresh representation of what you think new love can be. It’s a nice way to choose ingredients for a salad. Don’t overdress it. The lighter the better.
Honorable mention: Vodka. Just vodka.
How will you be spending your Valentine's day? Ms. Grae is here for you. Spill it out in the comments below.
Tales from the Dating Trenches
I'd pick either item 4 or 5. Although if we switch the vodka to rum...
Nothing vegan on v-day.
Who doesn't want a man who hits it with such skill that he makes your head hit the headboard till you see God? But if that's not gonna happen on Valentine's Day you can always laugh out loud and eat well. Two outta three aint bad; thanks for some excellent advice Jean!
Will you marry me?
Some of this is something that I would eat with my partner or friends anyway! #3 (bread, topping, and cheese meal) sounds like the cheese selection I bring to Thanksgiving dinner!
One of my fave Hip-Hop artists of all time. Love this article. I'm not a fan of Valentines day (or any other holiday really, hehe). I think they're all overrated. That being said, I like your approach about treating yourself. I know what it's like to not have anything and I always promised myself that when I was an adult I would never live like that again, if I didn't have to.
She doesn't look like an X-Men
I'm single too, but I LOVE Valentine's Day! I like to see all of the couples-the ones who actually do like each other. It's sad to see an unhappy couple out for dinner, you look at them and you know the jump-off is at home getting ready for the nightcap. Sad.
Anyway, I don't share your disdain for Val Day; if I came across any of my exes proposing, new fiancee would get nothing from me but condolences.
But I loved your article- and I'm going to give some of your recipes a shot!
I have read very few articles that made me laugh out loud and salivate at the same time. I would have dinner with you anytime, Jean! Good food and lotsa laughs - a winner in my books! Cheers!
Miss Greasy, thank you for this dope, I gotta agree with Fean Frae obviously a woman with taste, and imagine having a name that sounds so much like that super hero Jean Gray, damn....
CNN, meet legit news organization "rock bottom."
You're on a blog called "Eatocracy." Did you expect an article on Boko Harem?
Hi, this article really was good. Brought a smile to my eyes!
Let's see, VD was yesterday <- :))
I had beanies and wienies. My cat had medicine and veterinarian-issued food that he wouldn't eat. Yes I'm a cat lady but who cares. My cat's on the mend, I have a job, today was payday. Happy VD to all!!
Thanks, Lauren. Beanies and weanies are such a good suggestion. I usually get them when there is a weather crisis at hand.
I feel like I always need to be doing the most appropriate food thing at the time.
This is why I ended up with 4 cans of franks and beans for Sandy. I was so mad. Also, gassy.
I/m glad your kitty katty is feeling better. GO KITTY KATTY!!! MEND!!! MEND!!!
yeah my cat had tuna... :)
VD? No thanks.
Maybe if you hadn't destroyed your skin with those nasty tattoos you would be able to find a companion that didn't treat you badly.
For real? Men like you make me glad to be single.
Ha! Yeah ... Your Mom fat boy ! I don't have as many as Ms. Fean Frae but I have a decent amount and if you don't like her art , Kiss her ass! Btw Fean Frae sounds like a response to somebody when they ask your name and you really don't want to tell them but you have to so you mumble like "I'm Fean Frae " and they ask "What , what did you say " and you say "I'm Jean , Damn it ! JEAN Motha luvin GRAE !" hahahaha
Thank God it's over for another year!
We lived through it. We all gon' be okay. Whhheeeeeeeeeeeeew!!! BTW JJ... that's just a cool ass name. I always wanted my name to be something like that. Mad hanging out and cool.
"What's your name, kid?"
That never happened to me. : (
I was going to have...I don't know, food. It's Thursday. What's the big deal?
None at all.
I mean, what's the big deal in naming yourself "relmfoxdale" on a website? Why not, "Steve" or "Jane" (I'm not assuming a sex here.)
So, pretty much. You know what the big deal is. Thanks for being all devil's advocat-ey. Good luck with that, b.
Hey Jean. I'm up for dinner with ya anytime. But for tonight I think I'll make it chili dogs for 1. Port wine for 3.
you seem super cool. I would have that meal with you. Thanks, man. I like you.
Thank you –
As a single woman on another Valentine Day – this article absolutely made my day – think I'll go straight to the honorable mention!
Happy VD to all my single sisters out there!
I went absolutely straight to the honorable mention. You know!!!! *hi fives*
My vote is the vodka!
Your vote is CORRECT. YOU KNOW HOW TO VOTE.
Hilarious. Thank you
I'm actually in a relationship, and I think V-Day is overrated. Who the hell wants stuffed animals and mystery chocolates? I'm not 22 anymore. I told my boyfriend I don't want to go out tonight and wait an hour for a table, and that's WITH a reservation! We're gonna get some take out, eat in our pajamas, and have Girl Scout Cookies for dessert; done!
I bet your awesome between the s h e e t s
I'm not quite sure what an S, H, E, E, T or S is short for. I'm good at everything, so I'm gonna go ahead and say, yes.
I'm so with ya! In my house, every day is Valentine's Day.
(I can't believe I just wasted two minutes of my life reading that article...worst ever.)
So not true. Your mom was the worst 2 minutes ever.
Welcome to Loserville.
Are you saying that as the greeter for Loserville? They MAKE YOU SAY THAT? What a crappy job. Damn, bro. Sorry. Gimmie a hug. Hug it out.
A recipe list for CNN? Is there anything you don't do, Jean Grae?!
Completely unappreciate you are...
Thanks, Leah! I was going to say that I don't do Bat Mitzvahs, but that is a lie.
This is precisely why Jean Grae is one of my favorite artists of all time. She sounds so much like me.... I've decided against pitying myself today and will spend the evening throwing down in the dance studio instead of sulking and carrying on. It's just one stupid day anyway, and then it's all over. NEXT!!
I hope it went well, CAF.
Can of Four Loko and a package of Krunch Klondike Bars.
...and what would you do for those bars?
I will spend this day first having enjoyed a good night's sleep without all the snoring, farting, cell phone beeping/chirping in the middle of the night....good riddance you broke a$$, uncircumcised heathen..... Then I will go to work and thank God I make enough money to not only pay my mortgage but also treat myself to a fine meal at Popeyes.....hahahhaha!!! I can do whatever I like, when I like and that suits me just fine. Happy V-day!
This is hilarious!!!! I just got rid of someone similar. Ha!!!
I think this about says it all...
Kelly's music is terrible. I want to shoot myself in the face when I hear her on the radio
that was sooooooo much! I still enjoy you for saying like... everything. ever. so. Yeah. Kudos.
Happy Single Awareness Day
Single is the new not single.
Salad? Pizza? Put the salad on the pizza and put a little Italian dressing on it. Surprisingly delicious, and thanks to those greens, it's verified low-calorie!
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY... AH ha ha ha! This is the stupidest holiday of the year... Well actually it ties with Halloween! LOL
Jean Grae is the cutest little so-and-so. All her overspilling tenderness and vulnerability kill me.
Jean, do you wanna come to Montreal for valentines?
I want to come to Montreal anytime that it is not -35 outside. You guys are fantastic.
What a hilarious article! Thanks.
I'M ASKING FOR A FRIEND NAMED, "JEAN" KAT. Gosh.
This is an amazing piece of work. The author is clearly a genius and also ADORABLE.
We should chip in to buy her a car...with a coffee machine in it. She looks like she likes coffee.
I just know stuff like that.
Let's also get her a really hot date. I bet she would like that. I just want mys–PEOPLE, to be happy.
We want this for you, "Fean"! And you are getting marriage proposals on my Facebook post. I mean Jean is.
I didn't reply correctly. I've just begun drinking. Lemme get out of here.
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