Tuesday, September 12, 2006

School Lunch

September brings cooler weather, the hint of changing leaves, sharpened pencils, new shoes, and thoughts of Back to School.
I love this time of year. For me it is an apt time for renewal. I make New Year's resolutions in September. I set goals. I clean my closets and make stacks of books and magazines to read on the nights when I just can't go out. Ideally I cook and bake more. This year I'm going to try to move more too, enjoying the crisp weather and Indian summer sunshine before the rain begins to fall.
One thing I have never been successful at, no matter the time of year, is lunch. It is my least favorite meal of the day. My boss says it is one of her favorites because she loves leftovers. But as a girl who lives alone, leftover dinners are less leftover and more a meal cooked in two batches: one for Monday night and with a fresh steamed veggie, another for Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't really like to eat lunch out. This is partially because the choices always seem limited, it is also because those dollars add up and beyond that the servings are always a bit too big. I like to have control of lunch.
Sadly I fail at the very task I continually give myself. My lunches are notoriously boring, even to me. I can rarely get it together enough to come up with something inspired so I end up with some hodge podge version of what's in the fridge. One notable recent lunch: sauteed brussel sprouts, followed by hummus, crackers, and cheese with figs for dessert. Certainly not a gourmet lunch to die for!
My other mistake is making lunch immediately after eating breakfast. Lunch seems hours away and my stomach is full. I always under estimate how much I'll feel like eating and sometimes make very stupid decisions. Did I really think a half a peanut butter sandwich and 15 tortilla chips was going to sustain me?
I wish I could say that I thought my lunch habits would change, but sadly I don't think they will. No matter how many great one bowl salads or simple sandwiches I find recipes for, I just can't complete the final product. My pathetic interim goal? To make all my other meals and snacks great enough that I don't miss what's missing from my twelve o'clock hour-- namely fresh sliced veggies, aged cheddar, nitrate free ham and the nuttiest wheat bread.

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