As part of my new regime of austerity (turns out having two flats and getting married at the same time as you take a pay cut is expensive), I have taken to bringing a packed lunch to work every day. Some days – the good days – I bring in leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and microwave them. Today I have jambalaya. Today is a good day.
On other days, though, when I have to make something from scratch in a hurry, I have found myself to be sadly lacking in inspiration. I’m not wild on sandwiches, although I will make a cheese or an egg mayonnaise sandwich every few days. (The trick to egg mayonnaise, incidentally, is to make it the day you’re going to eat it, boil the eggs for five minutes so the yolk is set but still glutinous rather than fluffy, and use more salt and pepper and less mayonnaise than you think you need.)
I also sometimes have jam sandwiches, but I’m not going to mention that.
So far, the simplest and cheapest packed lunch I’ve found is some sliced cheese or chicken or both; some chopped vegetables (carrots and cucumber and baby tomatoes, mostly); a handful of Ryvita or similar bread-substitute and a cheeky chocolate chip cookie, served with a carton of juice and a cup of tea. It’s nice, but it’s a bit boring and eerily reminiscent of the sorts of meals I ate a lot when I was six, so I am appealing to you, wise reader, for some alternative suggestions. Here are the rules:
– I don’t really eat red meat
– although I do eat sausages and minced beef
– it needs to be cheaper than buying lunch, and quicker than cooking a proper meal
– there should be some vague sort of a nod towards a balanced diet
– I don’t count fruit as food
There. I will give a prize for the best idea posted in the comments (or, as is quite likely, the only idea posted in the comments).