Ladies who lunch

Go into journalism, they said. Enjoy long lunches, get wined and dined, meet interesting people and write Pulitzer-winning stories about them. Hmmmm. Well, at least the ‘meet interesting people’ bit turned out right. Long lunches, however, are a complete myth, with most journalists of my acquaintance eating something over their desk. Now, as a freelancer and chief controller of a Small Girl, lunches are even less exciting. I take great joy in thinking up meals for other people, but when it’s just me I lose all motivation and usually end up having whatever the Small Girl is having (or even her leftovers).

But yesterday I pulled out all the stops and made myself a proper lunch – the sort of thing that people who work in offices think that people who work from home do all the time. No, it wasn’t asparagus and hollandaise (though that would have been lovely), or spaghetti alio olio (no one to complain about the garlic perfume), but a simple toasted sandwich.

I foraged for tuna, gherkins and cottage cheese and piled them on a thick slice of wholemeal toast, then topped it with a bit of grated cheddar and lots of black pepper before putting the second slice of toast on top. Then – and this is the magic bit, I wrapped it tightly in baking paper and put it on the ridged grill pan which was heating on the stovetop. I put our massively heavy cast iron frying pan on top and wandered away to think deep thoughts (ie placated Small Girl, stopped her from pouring milk on the floor, sent a text message, worried about the credit card bill… oh, what’s that burning smell?) before flipping it over and cooking for a few more minutes.

Then, I took my little package (attractively charred a little more than desirable) on one side and sat at the table to eat it while I considered the news of the week (with Small Girl on knee, feeding her pieces of it and stopping her from sticking a pen in her eye). This, my friends, was a gourmet lunch AND I ate it sitting down.

Do you have lunch at home alone? What do you make for yourself? Inspire me, please!



  1. October 27, 2010 / 12:25 am

    I do eat lunch at home a lot and my all time favourite is bruschetta….toasted spelt bread with chopped Portobello mushroom and tomato cooked in a little olive oil and garlic with a bit of chilli, sea salt and black pepper in a tiny little Le Creuset omelette pan and I add a good dash of Tabasco…I must eat this hundreds of times a year….often in front of the computer whilst researching……

  2. October 27, 2010 / 10:14 am

    I'm really lazy. Lunch is generally leftovers from the night before, or a sandwich of some sort -peanut butter or banana, or hummus and salad. With coffee, of course. Eaten in front of computer, with one hand, whilst reading news and emails.
    I have even been known (shock! horror! shame!) to eat breakfast cereal for lunch, when I didn't have anything else quick and easy available!

  3. October 27, 2010 / 3:56 pm

    I only work two days a week (and take a sandwich with me to work) and the other three during the week I am at home with my two toddlers. We generally have simple lunches but something that we will all enjoy – sandwiches, soup, baked potatoes, toasties, hummous and crudites or toasted pittas, or leftovers from the night before.

  4. October 27, 2010 / 7:03 pm

    Sounds divine! Trust me, this is like gourmet compared to most of my lunches these days. Never thought to use the baking paper either. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing this one!

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