Perfecting the desk lunch


A true sign of just how notable something online is to me is the number of days (weeks?) it might stay open in a tab. I am guilty of keeping an obscene number of tabs open—things I think I might want to write about, things I should really just capture in Pinterest or Evernote (but where they tend to disappear forever).

There was a Bon Appetit article last March that lasted for an especially long time: “The Art of the Desk Lunch.” Perhaps I thought that by keeping the tab open, my own desk lunch, would be magically transformed. (No such thing.) So finally I set it aside, only to think that it would be great to revisit this January, at a time when one is apt to set goals like “stop buying lunch out” (admittedly less of an issue for me now that I work from home), and “eat healthier” (I probably should stop scooping spoonfuls of maple almond butter and calling it a snack).

Here are some of my favorite takeaways: 

Keep seasoning at work. Think sea salt (makes everything better), fresh pepper (ditch the packets), togarashi (umami), and hot sauce. Stash some good olive oil and vinegar, too.

Two words: Cheese board. Honestly, it’s what I always want. Why not keep a cutting board and a picnic knife handy? “Bring in slices of good hard salami, some cheeses (you’ve got some nubs in the fridge, right?), and a hunk of baguette. … Throw in some fruit, olives, or nuts and you’re basically on the Riviera.”

Make your own dressing. Almost any ingredient (almonds, eggs, leftovers, mixed greens, olives, etc.) can be made into a “lunch bowl,” and combined under the banner of a dressing—like spicy peanut or sesame-miso.

Add an Avocado. “Rich, filling, and versatile, the avocado needs only a couple other ingredients to make a complete meal.”  Think crackers with lemon, rice with soy sauce, toast with mayo and seasoning.

Or an Egg. Same thing.

Re-imagine your leftovers. “Don’t settle for last night’s chicken breast when you can have today’s chicken banh mi.”

And, finally:

Leave your desk! Even if it’s a desk lunch, eat it somewhere else.


What does your typical lunch look like? I’d love to get in the habit of planning mine ahead just as we do our kids’.  

P.S. Reimagining leftovers for the road. 

[Photo: Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott]




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