Saturday, February 11, 2017

Three days of food

When I am at my job at the library and my thoughts don't turn to how my managers have wronged me, they frequently turn to lunch, or dinner, or whatever one wants to call the three hour afternoon meal I eat when I'm working. Because I work through the afternoon and well into the evening all my meals, Mondays through Wednesdays, are taken at work. They require a careful planning that frequently overmasters me. But ever I try to perfect it.

The key, for me, to three days worth of food, is that it be:

1. Mostly ready to go. I like things in jars. I rarely am willing to spare time for preparation at work, though I accept much is required at home.

2. Delicious.

3. Nutritionally sound.

4. Abundant. Six meals need to be covered by this group of provisions.

5. Affordable. 

This all may seem simple enough to you. And, for your sake, I hope it is. But for me it is a difficult and complicated ever changing puzzle. As much as these five elements seem harmonious they have strange ways of conflicting when an attempted solution is assembled together. Surely you can see how 2. Delicious can come in conflict with 3. Nutritionally sound in a random example of, say, two dozen chocolate chip cookies, four fancy blue cheeses, a couple baguettes, and a pint of good gelato. Those fancy blue cheeses might put a dint in 5. Affordable as well. But there are other less obvious conflicts as well. Most notably I find that the more perfect I can get the first three items on my list then the more that item 4. Abundant seems to fail.

For instance let's look at what I have in the library fridge this week, my kale. I started out with two large bunches of organic Dinosaur Kale. That might have been an adequate amount had I, at home, in preparation, merely sauteed it in olive oil, with a bit of garlic, tamari, and lemon. But no. I carefully trimmed it all, tossed it in plenty of olive oil, meyer lemon, honey, salt, and liberal gratings of Parmesan Cheese. Then I laboriously slow roasted it at 170 to 200 degrees for a couple of hours until I had fantastically tasty, crispy, rich kale chips. The two bunches produced a quart and a half of this slightly ephemeral treat. I ate a half quart in roughly the time it's taking you to read this sentence. This left one quart. Ready to go? Check. Delicious? Check. Nutritionally sound? Check. Affordable? More or less, so, check. Abundant? No, I am afraid not. I am currently rationing it out like Charlie with his annual birthday bar of Wonka Chocolate.

What else do I have? I sliced and roasted four sweet potatoes in so much olive oil they're nearly fried. They came out extremely well, but in the same sense as the Kale Chips. Too good. Less than a full quart. Rationed out carefully to myself like they're caviar eggs. I brought two cheeses, a Boucheron and Bleu des Basques which struggled too in the category of abundance and were pretty questionable re my month's budget when it comes to affordability. As I write it is Tuesday night and they're gone. I also got a good deal on a few pounds of shrimp. I have a bowl of them each afternoon with some semi homemade cocktail sauce; fresh lemon juice, organic ketchup, and horseradish.

Why am I telling you all this?

I don't know. Please leave an answer in the comments section below to let me know.


  1. You make things so complicated, and I suppose you must in order to meet your standards 2 and 3. For eight years, I ate lunch at work on alternate Saturdays. My preparation, much simpler than yours. Buy 1/2 pound each of sliced cheese and meat, and one loaf of whole-wheat bread. Make 8 sandwiches. Put 7 in the freezer, take one to work and warm it in the microwave. Supplement with a bag of vending machine chips, a Coke, and maybe a candy bar if the machine had something vaguely edible that mice hadn't got to ahead of me. For the next 7 working Saturdays, repeat, except that the sandwich comes from the freezer. After a few months, start over. And amazingly enough, I'm still alive and reasonable healthy.

    1. Your health then is a tribute, clearly, to your moral virtue! But points 1,4,and 5 are well met by your method.


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