Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A New Low on the Lunch Front

Working in the suburban ghetto as I do has been an impetus to me to bring my lunch. Now that I share a refrigerator and a microwave with 140 other people in our new building, I am opting for lunches that don’t require refrigeration or heating. Today’s menu featured a container of cottage cheese with 8 Kalamata olives, a Black Cherry-Almond CLIF Bar, and a banana with water to drink. That’s just about as unexciting as lunch could possibly get.

But to my utter surprise, my next-office neighbor brought me in a little "tasting" from his rather gourmet lunch, consisting of a bite of: grilled salmon, soba noodles, sauteed fennel, and stewed home-grown figs. Mind you, these 4 bites were a heavenly respite from my otherwise dull room-temperature lunch.

My neighbor’s generous offer reminded me that even lunch at your desk need not sink to such a low level. It just requires thinking ahead a little more than I have been inclined to do. I am more in the mode of grazing the refrig and the kitchen counter on the way out the door in the morning, as opposed to his approach of packing his lunch the night before as they sit down to dinner.

Maybe I’ll have to show him that I too can do more than open a can of tuna fish or cottage cheese. Dammit – I really do know how to cook!

What about you? Is your lunch a gourmet treat or just something to stave away hunger?


Blogger Kristin said...

Lunch?! I actually brought my lunch today because I had leftovers in the fridge and I'm going on vacation tomorrow, but normally, I just skip it. I have horrible eating habits.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Ick! I could not survive on that. It looks like something my wife would eat.

I am not terribly picky with my food - I can eat the same thing day after day. Sometimes I bring in hard boiled eggs, other times various sandwiches (coldcuts, cheese, or tuna fish), sometimes even dried sausages (the kind you can eat with bread in one hand and sausage in the other), rarely I will bring in something I need to nuke. I tried the vegetable thing (carrots) but that is soooo not me. Instead I bring a bunch of "finger" fruits. This week it is black grapes (about 1lbs worth), other times it might be blueberries, or cherries, or blackberries. I stopped eating bananas because I found them too heavy. I also found an apple was too much to commit to eating all at once - I did try slicing it up, so it is more finger food like, but, uhm, it just wasn't the same. The fruit is a good substitute for running to the vending machine and grabbing a bag of chips.

We have a water cooler that I constantly keep refilling my cup from. So I do not lack for water.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I have trouble skipping any meal, preferring instead to eat several small meals throughout the day.

Richard -- I pretty much quit eating bread last year when I realized that it was making me gain weight. So cold lunches are a challenge. I love fruit, but need some protein and fiber as well -- hence the cottage cheese and nutritional bar.

The thing I miss most of all in the new building is the hot&cold water dispenser, which I had rented for over a decade. It is disallowed in the new building. So I have to haul in large bottles of water, still refusing to drink the tap water, which tastes gross to me. I have my mid-afternoon cup of tea, using the microwave (which is finally not busy) to nuke my bottled water.

I'm finding eating at this new building to be not nearly as fun because of the long distance between me and the "kitchen", as well as the fact that I share it with so many other people. I'm sure I'll get used to it and establish a new routine. After all, I was the child who took a tuna sandwich to school every day for years and never tired of it.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

When you are teaching young children, the world revolves around snack times and lunch break! I don't even remember lunch! I just kinda graze all day on cheese and crackers, yoghurt, fruit, nuts and raisins trailmix,celery and carrot sticks, low fat sugar free muffins,and coffee or flavoured water. We actually have designated snack times before recess when you are encouraged to eat with the kids and model healthy eating so this is good for me and my diabetic diet.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- I do pretty much the same thing, but I definitely have something that I call lunch around mid-day. I like the idea of modeling good eating habits for young children. Are you back to teaching soon?

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Gordon Gekko said...

Lunch is for wimps!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

GG -- Don't you ever get hungry in the middle of the day? I would pass out if I didn't eat lunch! And what's with the new name???

12:45 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

If the kitchen is in production they feed us. I always bring something because the schedule is iffty. But same as you, cottage cheese, fruit, lettuce, veggies, yogurt, granola bars, 100 calorie pop corn. Today it was mandarin oranges, cottage cheese and lettuce. I am hungry now.

5:04 PM  
Blogger RennyBA said...

Interesting question and it gives me the opertunety to tell that Norwegian often make their own lunch bag or package with some slize of bread. I remember it also from school when mom made mine and it was always a nice surprice to open it. My favorite was to have Norwegian goat chees on the bread.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Cee said...

My default breadless lunch is a salad - zucchini, cherry tomatoes, carrots, sprouts and so on, with some cottage cheese on top, and either tuna or chopped up chicken or turkey slices. Otherwise, I have a sandwich, or cold dinner leftoevers - curry or pasta or something like that.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

OL and Cee -- We sound completely compatible!

Renny -- There is nothing better than Norwegian geitost. I would gladly eat bread topped with goat cheese!

8:49 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You might have already read this on my Friday's blog, but no, I'm taking a year off from teaching to work on my health issues..cardio and sugar! Teaching is a high energy output job that I just can't do really well right now. Am looking forward to my year off! Could even stretch right into retirement!

10:58 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I think it is less the bread and more what you put on the bread that causes weight gain.

One problem is that it is far too easy to get dense carbohydrates into our diet. I still keep bread (for lunch), but have tried to minimize pasta and rice (which I find to easy to overeat), I still keep potatoes (boiled or mashed, not as French Fries) and other vegetable around.

10:00 AM  

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