The concept behind Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, Dinner in One, is exactly as advertised: every recipe—from miso glazed salmon with sugar snap peas, to butternut squash cavatelli, to a ricotta olive oil pound cake—can be done in a singular pot, pan, or bowl.
The beloved New York Times food writer began writing it during the early days of the pandemic. Clark, like the rest of us, was making every single meal from the confines of her home kitchen—resulting in a sink pile-up that never seemed to die down, like a twisted Groundhog Day of dishes. “That’s when it really hits you—how many dishes you use in a day, especially when you are cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your home family,” she tells Vogue.
Like the rest of us, Clark hates dishes. But unlike the rest of us, she had the skillset to do something about it: the cookbook author had long been translating recipes by professional chefs into streamlined versions for the home cook. So over the following year, she developed—and collected—an extensive group of recipes that are elevated yet easy to clean up for us all. The result? A comprehensive cookbook full of weeknight staples, entertaining crowd-pleasers, and delicious desserts. It’ll serve you, your family, your friends, and most of all, your sanity, for years to come.
Below, a Q&A with Clark—as well as a recipe for her creamy goat cheese pasta—ahead of Dinner in One’s publication on September 6.
Vogue: This cookbook really speaks to me because I hate dishes.
Melissa Clark: Don’t we all! I hope this helps you out.
You wrote that the origin story for this cookbook was your time shadowing chefs in professional kitchens. You saw them use all these different pots and plans—and then realized that they have professional dishwashers helping them. This, in turn, has inspired a lifetime of streamlining for you.
I was always shocked at the way that chefs expected home cooks to use as many pots and pans and dishes as they do when they wrote cookbooks—because this is the thing: they had staff and dishwashers, who were there cleaning up behind them. We home cooks did not. I was more tolerant of dishes before I had kids thirteen years ago. Then everything felt like it was so much more work. I thought “okay, something has to give—and it’s got to be the dishes.” So I began to streamline. I said, “I’m going to reduce these dishes even more and get it down to as minimal preparation as possible.” Do I really need to get out another bowl? Or can I wipe out this bowl? Can’t I use the same spoon to stir these two things?