So much of eating is communal in nature. It's one of the great pleasures of food beyond its mere flavor or the simple fact that it fuels the body. Cooking for, or eating out with, friends or loved ones gives us a chance to share a beloved dish or a favorite restaurant. But as much as we all look forward the act of sharing something we love, we've all faced the prospect of dining or cooking alone.

Alone in the Kitchen with an EggplantAs the title implies, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant celebrates the single-place-setting moments that occur all too frequently these days. The book's editor, Jenni Ferrari-Adler, has collected essays and stories from 26 food-loving authors who revel in, rather than revile, taking meals on their own. Making appearances are pieces from Laurie Colwin, whose essay gives the book its title; Haruki Murakami; Nora Ephron; M. F. K. Fisher; and Amanda Hesser, among others.

Oftentimes, the authors' musings are accompanied by recipes that make enough for only one. We'll be excerpting one recipe each day this week, starting shortly.

But first, I'd like to note that Jenni Ferrari-Adler will be guest-blogging on Serious Eats this week. She'll be along later today, with some notes from a week spent in the Hamptons, on Long Island, New York.

And last, as always, we're giving away a copy Alone in the Kitchen. All you have to do to win one of ten (10) copies is to answer the following question in the comments below: What do you eat most often when dining or cooking alone?

Winners will be chosen at random from among the commenters. Comments will close Saturday, September 1, at noon ET. The usual contest rules apply.

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