Luncheon: as much food as one’s hand can hold.
Or so Samuel Johnson had it in his dictionary of 1755. It can be lunch, luncheon, a working lunch, a power lunch, a liquid lunch. It is most certainly not brunch. It can come after elevenses, or after second breakfast if you’re a hobbit.
To me, it’s a cheese sandwich and an apple.
If I’m honest, it’s not my finest culinary achievement. Mrs RB and I do pretty well with our evening meals, poring over our favourite cookbooks (step up please Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall) and trying our best to cook up some tasty and interesting meals. Breakfast is fine as well: if it’s not toast, it will be muesli with orange juice (try it, you’ll be surprised). But lunch. Lunch stumps me.
Not being one of those who prepares lunch the night before, I generally stand at the work surface in the morning, brushing toast crumbs from my shirt and surveying the ingredients before me.
“Hmm. I have cheese. And bread. I can use some butter from the fridge. If I’m lucky, there might be a little chutney somewhere.” (It’s like the worst episode of Ready Steady Cook ever).
And so, almost without exception, I carefully pack up a cheese sandwich and pop an apple in for good luck. Why is this an issue? Well, for a start, it’s really dull. Opening my lunchbox to unwrap a cheese sandwich (even when I can make it with some homemade bread) doesn’t fill me with unbridled joy. Those odd days when I can pack some leftover pizza or some other treat that we have mysteriously failed to eat the night before are much more enjoyable.
Secondly, it doesn’t make the best use of the food that we have available. Mrs RB brought this little lot back from her allotment and not a single bit of it made it into my lunchbox. Surely I can be more creative with my lunches, can’t I?
And last, but not least, it isn’t necessarily great fuel for my runs. I work in an office all day and I need to come home feeling energised and ready to go for a run. My main fuel for the day will come from my lunchbox and I’m not sure that a cheese sandwich is the best thing I can be putting in there each morning.
Now I’m not the first runner to have issues with his lunchbox (the metronomic swing of the “Linford Lunchbox” being seared into my memory for evermore) and the title of this blog entry may give a clue that there are no conclusions to be found here, this is just part one. I would like to throw this open to the world: what fills your lunchbox, what fuels your runs? Please let me know your top tips for a great lunch.
I will revisit this subject again to pass on those top tips and to let you know whether my lunches have got any more interesting. And just to prove that we do eat interesting food (when it’s not my lunch), here are a couple of my favourites from the last week or so…