Wednesday, January 14, 2009

40 Ways to Love Lunch

Just because the expense-account lunch is largely a thing of the past doesn't mean that you can't still enjoy the meal, even celebrate it. Instead of depending on the kindness of menus, use a little homespun imagination.

Thinking outside the lunch box is probably the best way of getting anything good inside it.

In the comfort of your own kitchen, you can compose a lunch that's tasty, well-constructed, a bit off the beaten PB&J track -- and, most important, portable. Imagine that you're packing a picnic.

Lunch is more fun if you think pragmatically. You don't have to have seen Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" to know not to pack items that might pose a health risk. Avoid fragile things like delicate cookies and, yes, potato chips. Don't dress salads in advance -- carry a container of dressing separately -- and don't pre-cut fruits or vegetables that will brown or dry out -- pack them whole and include a paring knife.

Even if you use a Thermos, don't include items that need to be served very hot or very cold. And think about how the components of the meal work together over time: Very few dishes taste better when they're soggy.

One that does is a pan bagnat, a pressed baguette sandwich that actually gets better the longer it sits. Take a tip from bakers and South American street vendors and make a batch of empanadas, a tasty one-dish meal enclosed within whole-wheat pastry. Or use a Thermos and have hot soup for lunch.

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  1. Nice piece! love the Monty Python blurb...and you are so right about the baguette thing, we just got some on Sunday, and I let mine sit so the bread would soak up some of the oil and vinegar dressing into the bread, YUM!

  2. I agree I like my sandwiches this was as well!

  3. I love my lunch although it's very simple :)

  4. I also really look forward to my lunch. Sandwiches and a side of veggies are what I usually have but yesterday had Chinese Tea Eggs!! They were YUMMY....

  5. Is that a reference to Spam or Salmon Mousse? Reading this entry just at lunch time is killing me! Can you hear my stomach growling? Great post filled with great info and ideas!

  6. Lunch, the best meal of the day, must include avocado...

  7. I totally agree about the baguette thing. Although I have to admit that I'm quite partial to a somewhat soggy sandwich. Depending on what the filling is of course. As a child, I remember spending long summer days at the beach. My mum would pack simple cheese and tomato sandwiches. Come lunch time they were ever so slightly soggy, just the way I liked them!