At the Native America Calling radio studios (where I work), we don't have a set lunch hour and we don't usually leave the office. We decide when we eat and we take as much time as we need. Usually this is about 20 to 30 minutes right after the live show at noon. But it wasn't always like this, I hear.
Before I got here, there was a lot of eating at desks and wolfing food down while standing by the microwave. I don't think the large break room table was used much until I sat down those first few days and ate my lunch.
Pretty soon the senior producer joined me. Then the engineer. Then the distribution director and then the sales guy. This is the "lunch bunch."
On most days, we sit around the big break room table and talk about the food we brought for the day. We talk about restaurants and cooking adventures and failures. We share dishes and food ideas and we're getting really good at hosting taco and Frito pie parties in the office. And every week, there's always some kind of pastry or sweets on the table to share. For example, today, there was pumpkin pie and a large cheese Danish on the table.
We usually bring homemade food from home, except for the occasional burger and burrito from Hurricane's diner next door. It's interesting to see what my co-workers bring. The sales guy is always bringing in some kind of juicy meat and things from a local garden. The senior producer always brings something from a crock pot, or something she cooked and doesn't like, but she made so much of it, she unhappily eats it all week. And the distribution director always brings something loaded with carbs, like rice, fried rice and pasta.
Over the past seven years that I've been a full-time, working adult, packing lunch has become part of life. But I'm still getting a handle of it. Sometimes it's hard to make sure I have lunch ready every morning, Monday to Friday. And it's hard to dedicate your lazy Sundays to cooking large portions of food for the week.
But, at the same time, it's fun to do that kind of meal prep. My favorite thing to make in large quantities is Middle Eastern and Indian food. Sometimes it's fun to fill all my Tupperware with lunches and then put some in the freezer for later. When I put meals in the freezer, I feel like I'm winning at this adult thing.
The reason why I sat alone at the big break room table those first few days at work is because I value food too much to hurry it up at my desk. I also can't work and eat at the same time. I need to look at my food, smell it and taste it. I need to acknowledge the ingredients and review my own cooking. I need to enjoy eating. It's a shame that so many people treat lunch time as an hour or a few minutes to fill a void and then rush back to work. They're missing out on a whole lot and they're probably missing out on the people they work with.
We had a Halloween Bake-Off last year. There's a pumpkin pie, hot dog mummies, spice cake, pie and coconut macaroons. Yes, all we had was sweets that day. We didn't really think that one through.
A black beery cheesecake I made for the office.
Tacos in the office!
Sweet potato curry with rice meal prep.
Chicken Alfredo and veggies meal prep.
Breakfast burrito meal prep. If you wrap the burritos in a paper towel and then foil, they'll keep really well in the freezer.
Broccoli and turkey crust-less quiche is one of my favorite breakfasts.
Herb baked chicken with Brussels sprouts.
Loads of tikka masala and rice.
And... I tried to make biscochitos once. They physically turned out really well, but I added the wrong spice. I was supposed to add star anis. Ajwan is very bitter and tastes like sour oregano. My co-workers did not like this at all and they're never going to let me forget how terrible these were.