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!