Cooking for one and dining out solo are a lot like cilantro. You either love it or hate it. At Single Edition, we enjoyed the collection of essays in "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone," which captured both the liberating and delectable moments that we experience in the privacy of our kitchens and in our public eateries.

Here is just one excerpt which captures the spirit of the compilation:

"There's no point going to great strides to concoct something spectacular for myself, because I simply won't appreciate it on my own.

On the other hand, if I wash down that bag of cashews on the counter with a glass of wine and call it dinner, I'm going to feel as though I belong living under a bridge."

Let's face it: the truth about eating alone, despite our best intentions, is that nine times out of ten we eat badly. We eat inadequate food; we eat it too fast; and we eat it slouched over a computer or sprawled in front of a television, with all the enlightened social skills of seagulls. I'm convinced that this affects the way we live our lives afterward. It's no doubt why I've been scuffing around in worn-out slippers and a slouchy turtleneck for days, avoiding the future. (It's probably why the whole world seems to be falling apart at the seams.)

Whether you love or hate the "just for one" food experience, there is no need to go it alone, especially with the countless number of culinary activities and excursions in which you can take part during the summer months. Here are just a few ideas to help you get started:

Walking Tours

Whether you are new to town, have no weekend plans or are visiting another city, gourmet walking tours are a great way to get exercise, sunlight and insight into a city's culinary history, architecture and culture. Local tour companies and independent guides are aplenty, and day-long tours typically include food tastings as well as a glimpse of the best local markets, dining spots and hidden gastronomic treasures.

When planning a culinary site-seeing tour, consider your interests and how those interests might be connected to food. It may be as simple as an obsession with ethnic cuisine or a kid-friendly learning activity for a parent-child outing. You can easily find tours to match your interests on the internet, through local city guides/magazines or the culinary institutes and tourism agencies in your area. Or check out, another great resource which lets you find local experts who run events in your city.

Cooking Intensives

If you are looking to hone up on your knife skills or don't have time to travel overseas to learn how to prepare fresh Greek fare, a hands-on cooking class is the solution. Day, night and intensive programs are springing up everywhere, not just the at local culinary institutes. In fact, many celebrity chefs such as David Bouley are extending their brands by offering private on-location education. Be sure to check your favorite chef, restaurant or hotel to see what they have to offer. Classes will typically last 3-5 hours, are available as a one time event or series and include up to 20 students. The best part is that you get to reap the benefits of the meal you assembled, assuming you did not select the basics of blades course!

Cooking Vacations

Getting away can sometimes be overwhelming for the solo traveler. But throw in some good food and wine, a fabulous villa or farmhouse and some independent travelers for an unforgettable experience. Don't want to focus just on food? Tasting Places offers a cooking and shopping combo in Italy, while Active Gourmet Travels lets you divide the time with yoga, cycling or other activities of choice. But if you want to focus on food, try Holiday on the Menu's comprehensive selection of trips.

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