I (h)ate lunch.

lunch or something like it

Lunch is the bane of my existence.

Well. One of them, at least.

We’re not really breakfast people here—-largely because we’re really really not morning people. Still, on the rare times we do eat it, it’s either a very simple, like coffee and cereal, or it’s a fun occasion like Christmas morning, which calls for something like caramelized french toast.

But lunch? Lunch is the meal that makes me stare into the fridge with a mix of irritation, dread, and disgust.

For starters, I hate leftovers. Haaaaaaate them. Unless a meal is exceptional—-something omfg this is greatest frigging thing I have ever made—-then I am not going to want to eat it again within 24 hours.

Secondly, lunch forces me to think about dinner, which, at 11am, I am just not ready to do. Much like my hatred of leftovers, I can’t deal with eating two similar meals in the same day. If I eat pasta for lunch, I don’t want something with rice later.

Added to all this is the fact that working from home means, well, I have work to do, so anything that takes more than an hour to prepare/consume/clean up is right out (and before you suggest it, I burnt out on sandwiches of all sorts ages ago).

Where does this take me, your favorite food blogger? To some very un-food-bloggery foods, to be sure. Although I do have days of righteous lunches of a salad or some creative use of leftovers I can tolerate, I will readily (if not too publicly) admit to too many lunches of Celeste Pizza for One or mystery ramen from Chinatown, as pictured above.

So, stay-at-home parents, freelancers and the unemployed (or anyone who has to make their own lunch day after day), I ask you: how do you avoid lunch-making exhaustion?

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7 thoughts on “I (h)ate lunch.

  1. On the days that I work at home, I find myself grazing a lot more than actually making lunch. Cereal for breakfast, a piece of fruit at 11, some yogurt and more fruit or a hunk of cheese and raw vegetables at 1, a handful of almonds at 2:30.

    I also do eggs. Either in a nest, with thyme and vinegar (a variation on that one in the 101-light-meals NYT thing), or a “progressive” omelet (or whatever an omelet is called when it’s actually just scrambled eggs with stuff in it). By progressive, I mean: put butter or oil in pan. While it heats/melts, chop onion. While onion sautees, chop pepper. While pepper and onion sautee, whisk eggs. While eggs cook, shred cheese. While cheese melts, prepare garnish (chop herbs, cut tomato, whatever I’m in the mood for). The point being that since I’m doing it for one person, I can cut enough of whatever comes next in the time it takes something to cook.

    I also hate leftovers that are the same thing I ate yesterday. But I still do eat a lot of leftovers for lunches, because the leftovers are frozen from dinners made last week or last month. But I’m guessing you don’t have the freezer space for that.

  2. Sorry, but I’m like zero help because I love leftovers. I don’t work at home, but am happy to cart leftovers to the office. Cheryl’s idea of freezing leftovers so they’re kinda sorta new a week later sounds like a plan, though. Regarding soups, lentils cook up nice and quick, probably not taking much more time than your mystery ramen. They’re really versatile too; I’m sure you’ll find tons of recipes on the Intertubes. And you could take a late morning break to get them started, then let them finish cooking while you work a little more.

  3. Cheryl: I am a big fan of freezing leftovers and then eating them later when I’ve forgotten about them. This usually takes place when I’m stuck for dinner ideas, rather than lunch, but I’ll keep that in mind. I love the idea of the progressive omelet. I think now that winter is over (during which time a protein-heavy lunch almost puts me to sleep), I’ll give that a try.

    Terry: I am incredibly allergic to lentils (as well as their botanical cousin, the mung bean), one of many in my weird assortment of food allergies no one frigging else has.

  4. I will concede that the dinner-leftovers-for-lunch strategy does not always work. I usually do that on the days I work in the office, because grabbing a container of something frozen is faster than actually preparing something. But that means that I have to decide what I want for lunch at 7AM, and by lunchtime I sometimes don’t really want something as heavy as whatever I brought, so I go buy something else. Or that my husband, who is responsible for dinner those days, cooks something too similar if we don’t coordinate properly.

    OTOH, neither of those drawbacks are problems for you if you’re selecting your lunch at the time you eat it and are also the person making dinner that day.

  5. Allergic to lentils? Dang. Sorry, Kristen. What about a burrito? A tortilla, some refried beans [canned, of course], a little cheese, lettuce, salsa and whatever. Easy and plenty of variations to keep things interesting.

  6. Cheryl: Ah, but that’s what trips me up. I’m the one picking lunch AND dinner for that day, then I’m trying to plan two meals, at once, while hungry already.

    Terry: I forgot to mention this in the original post, but one of my standard go-to lunches is hummus on a big flour tortilla or lavash, with bagged salad greens or whatever raw vegetable looks good with a little salad dressing.

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