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Lunch Love Letter

June 16, 2010

I love All Over Albany’s lunch week.  And that’s not just because I got to write a post for them.  It’s because I love lunch.

Lunch has been my favorite meal for a long time.

Breakfast, second breakfast, second lunch, dinner and supper all have their charms.  But lunch is an oasis in the day.  On some occasions, I do not get to sit down for a proper midday meal, and it completely sours my mood.  Taking the time to sit and reflect over a plate of good food really reenergizes and reinvigorates the soul.

Plus if you plan to eat something heavy, my understanding is that it is better to do so earlier in the day, rather than closer to bedtime.  At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself when I sit down to lunches of ridiculous size.

High school was the first time I was able to be truly independent in my lunch choices.  We were allowed to leave the school premises and find whatever food was within driving distance of our lunch break.

The vast majority of my peers would hightail it to Burger King or McDonald’s only to wait in long lines and wolf their food in the car on the way back to campus.  Even at that tender young age, I thought this was pure folly.  Especially when there was this great Mediterranean grocery nearby that lovingly made delicious falafel sandwiches.  And there was never a line.  In fact, I was generally the only person there.

But I would bring my falafel back to school and eat my trophy at a picnic table with some of my friends.

In college, lunch was my major meal of the day.  Sometimes it would stretch for two hours, and include a nap.  If I timed it just right, I could get in for lunch before they closed down breakfast.  The advantage of doing so was that I could get fried eggs with my lunch.

You see, this was in Philadelphia, and every other day the cafeteria would serve cheese steaks.  They weren’t very good on their own, but if you put three over-easy eggs, bacon, and plenty of sautéed onions on top of the sandwich they got a lot better.

Luckily the benches in the booths were pretty long, and after eating a sandwich like this, you could stretch out and read the paper.  After a while, I would be ready to go back for round two.

Ultimately I was able to ingest a days worth of calories and only pay for one meal.  Pretty smart, no?

I already wrote about the joys of making Italian sausage sandwiches during those salad days in California before I found work in advertising.  Despite the difficulty of the times, thinking of those homemade lunches still fills me with warm and happy feelings.

And when I started working, it was the business lunches that really helped ignite my current love of food.

Even when there wasn’t a linen tablecloth meal on the schedule, it would have been unthinkable to pack a brown bag lunch.  If I was going to be working, I was going to get to enjoy going out for a lunch.  Or at the very least, have something tasty brought in.

When time permitted I would take a leisurely sojourn for a dim sum feast.  On other days I would bring back “a salad that ate like a cheeseburger” to enjoy while reviewing documents at my desk.

These days lunch continues to have a hold on me.  Like those unemployed days of my youth, I am fortunate enough to get to actually cook my own midday meals to order.  Yesterday a made a toasty grilled cheese sandwich, slow cooked in the cast iron skillet with plenty of fat, that used up the last of my garlic scape “pesto” inspired by the haul from our CSA.

Today I may try to go out for something with a high likelihood of failure, but the potential for stunning success.  But there will be more on that to come.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 16, 2010 9:46 am

    Jealous of you cooking your own midday meal! Enjoy.

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