A meditation on food doesn't appear that often in The Burrow. I'm not a big fan of cooking for myself, and I'm even less of a fan of preparing meals for others. Hence, when no one else is around, I take myself out to eat.
This worked quite well for me when I was a single person and responsible for no one's belly but my own. If I didn't feel hungry, I didn't eat. Even if the clock told me that lunchtime had passed, if my tummy wasn't rumbling, I ignored the time piece and went on about my day.
Sometimes I'd have breakfast 3 times a day. Scrambled eggs is my go-to staple for hunger pains when there are no other interesting items hiding in the refrigerator. With or without toast, it soothes my soul. It was the first meal I ate in the hospital after I woke up from 5 days of anesthetized stupor. They were delicious, all piled up on the plate, yellow and fluffy and soft. My throat was very happy.
Then, again, someone had cooked them for me. It's a whole different story when I'm cooking for someone else.
Speaking ruefully of marriage, Dominique Browning's friend in Slow Love sighs about "all those meals, darling, all those meals." The thought resonated with me. Big Time.
Big Cuter enjoyed the same school lunch every day when he was small. Kosher salami sliced thin and placed neatly on rye bread with Grey Poupon on both slices, please. He nibbled across each half like a typewriter, starting back again at the left side each time. It gave him peace.
I, on the other hand, suffered mightily through school lunches. I hated sandwiches of any kind. I liked the bread all right, and the turkey would have been fine if I hadn't had to smoosh it between my teeth smothered in carbs. G'ma tried everything - pastrami, tuna, roast beef, and, yes, salami - but nothing made me smile. I'd have been glad to eat rolls and butter and some fruit, but this was before light lunches were invented. G'ma felt that I needed a sandwich, so a sandwich she packed for me.
College was perfect for me. There was always someone willing to prepare a meal for my delectation. I had tuna sandwiches on white toast with mandarin oranges on the side for a semester or two of lunches. The lady behind the counter started making it as soon as she saw me in line. Grad school and poverty came together; I fell in love with egg salad on challah and my bank account and my stomach were happy.
I never carried my lunch to work. I tried to avoid eating when the kids just had to have a Happy Meal. PTA lunches were salads and once I got to Marin the home-made food far surpassed anything I could find in a restaurant. I came to love meeting over lunch at a kitchen table. The meal was beginning to grow on me.
I became addicted to burritos from the tiny space just down the street. TBG and I were regulars at the much-more-than-a-diner place across from the gazebo. We went early or late to Sam's. Lunch was suddenly much more fun than it had ever been. It was even more fun than dinner.
But something happened to me when we moved to Tucson. Today, with 3 hours free around noon, with all options available, I chose to make lunch at home. A quick stop at the deli counter and I had fresh off the rotisserie turkey breast. The bakery aisle gave me still-warm artisal multi-grain bread. My refrigerator was truly my larder and there was no place else I'd rather dine than right here in my own kitchen.
Will wonders never cease?