Will You Be My Sous-Chef? No Experience Required!

It is Sunday evening. For most people, the workweek will begin tomorrow. But for me, it will begin now. It is “pack my lunch bag” time and there is so much to be done.

First, a little background.

1: The medical laboratory business tends to be an early one, so I am usually in the lab by about 6 a.m.

2: Our operation is in an office complex without a cafeteria.

3: I am not a fan of food delivery. And I find carry-out food usually cold and unappetizing.

So with those things in mind, my lunch bag actually contains breakfast, lunch, and a mid-afternoon snack. Exactly seven (not eight or heaven forbid, only five) items. And did I mention I am very picky about what I am eating?

Prep and packing time, particularly on a Sunday night with a week’s work of prep to be done, needs to be a precision operation, involving no less than 3 knives, strainers, colanders, and exactly the right storage containers to make sure everything fits in my insulated lunch bag.

We begin with the lunch wrap. First, take a whole grain wrap and spread (knife #1) with prepared horseradish, the kind that contains only ground horseradish and vinegar–not the creamy kind. Lay on the lunch meat (Boar’s Head Maple Covered Turkey Breast) and cheese (Regular Jahrlsburg–never the low-fat version.) Then artfully arrange several pieces of thinly sliced (knife #2) Jalapeno peppers for some heat, and peeled and sliced (still knife #2) ripe avocado for creaminess. Roll the wrap and use a serrated knife (#3) to cut into two equal halves, one for Monday, the other in Saran Wrap ready for Tuesday.

I wipe a bead of sweat from my brow.

Next, I pull a bag of cooked rice out of the freezer. When heated (4 minutes, high power) in the lab microwave and doused in Cholula Hot Sauce it makes a tasty side dish. Finally, I wash and package baby carrots and red and yellow mini-peppers for some color and beta-carotene. Lunch is fully constructed and packed. Now on to the other meals…

Breakfast is a comparable snap. A piece of Genesis 1:29 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, defrosted and ready to be toasted in the lab and then blanketed with a shmear of the Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter (crunchy, of course) that I keep in my office fridge. This will be topped by a carefully measured 1/4 cup of blueberries, just enough to top the toast from edge to edge without any rolling off the sides.

Whew, almost done. Just my afternoon snack left to bundle up. A stick of string cheese (I thought string cheese was only for kids, but my nutritionist hyped it for protein) and some fruit (cherries in season, otherwise grapes or a Granny Smith Apple-green and tart as can be) and I am done.

Exhausted, I can zip up my lunch bag and pop it into the refrigerator at last.

The musical “Next to Normal” has played Chicago a few times. It features a bipolar mom freaking out while making lunches for her family, tossing bread all over the kitchen. I am just packing for one, and I know the feeling. I might start flinging sandwiches any time.

I need a sous-chef, or at least someone to do my prep. Any volunteers?

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Filed under: life style

Tags: Lunch, Next to Normal

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