One of the luxuries of living alone is that I am free to eat a pile of shredded cheese and pickles for supper, without my ears being burdened by the opinions of culinary cowards. It is, however, very easy to become lazy when the only person you’re feeding is yourself. To keep yourself interested in cooking for one, think of yourself as “the one,” i.e., someone you love deeply, or are trying to impress (for sexy reasons).
All long term relationships need maintenance, and your relationship with yourself is your longest. Just as one slides into the routine of wearing nothing but sweatpants around their spouse, one can end up cooking nothing but utilitarian plates of uninspired nourishment, and (I believe) this wears on the soul. (I recently noticed that the food I cook when my boyfriend is around is much prettier than the food I cook for me and only me, which gave me pause. If I—a double Leo—don’t value myself enough to make fully realised, beautiful meals, who will?)
To spice it up and keep things interesting, make a meal you would make for someone else, someone you have a crush on, then woo yourself with all your little culinary tips and tricks. Do not save your best recipes for other people. You deserve them, friend. Thinking this way means, you are more likely to cook things properly—rather than take shortcuts—and pay attention to your technique, and you’ll probably find yourself doing things like finishing the dish with a garnish, using the nice napkins, and sitting down to enjoy your meal (instead of eating cereal while standing at the counter). You may even break out your fancy wine glasses; go where the mood moves you!
I am, of course, not suggesting you give up your single person garbage monster ways entirely. Eating popcorn in one’s sweatpants and calling it a “grain bowl” is one of the (many) great pleasures of living alone, but try impressing yourself once a week. Feeding yourself is an act of survival, but simply surviving is very boring.