Hello, and welcome back to What's Cooking?, the open thread where you get to share your brilliant thoughts, advice, recipes and opinions on all things food-related. This week I'd like to talk about packed lunches, and how you keep them tasty and interesting.
Photo by Mr.TinDC.
Your midday meal can be a joyous break or a bleak affair, depending on how you plan it, so I want to know how you make your work lunch happy. Some questions to get you going:
- What kind of lunch-carrying container do you use? Do you like an insulated bag, a classic square lunchbox, a cute little bento or a literal paper bag?
- What does your average lunch look like? How many items do you have in there? Are there any foods you simply must pack?
- Do you pack a beverage? I used to find my days went much better if I was hydrated, so tried to always pack a big bottle of water with lemon slices, plus a Diet Coke to keep me caffeinated.
- What is your most clever lunch-packing and -eating tip? The best thing I ever did for my work lunch game was stock my drawer with good salt, lemons and hot sauce.
- How important is variety? Do you eat the same thing every day? Making a big batch of something and eating it throughout the week always seemed like a good, budget-friendly idea, but it also seemed kind of monotonous. Do you try to mix it up, or are repeat meals OK?
- How big of a role do leftovers play? I used to love the days when I could just pack a slice or two of leftover pizza, but found that most leftovers had to be re-imagined into something new and exciting. Leftover steak became a salad, chilli con carne got mixed with cheese and served with tortilla chips, roasted vegetables became a taco filling, and so on.
- What food do you consider "off limits" for work? I think bringing a stinky lunch to a shared eating space is the height of rudeness, and people who microwave fish at work are monsters. Also making anything that takes a long time to microwave is fairly rude.
- Do you ever participate in "lunch swaps" or group lunches? A group of ladies at my old job would always do mini potlucks for each other's birthdays. Those were pretty fun, especially because there was usually cake.
- Where do you usually eat lunch? Is it at your desk? Don't eat at your desk.
As always, feel free to comment on anything and everything lunch-related, even if it isn't in answer to any of the above questions, as I value all of your tasty wisdom.