Learning As I Chop

Thoughts on Lunch

Posted in Food Philosophies by R @ Learning As I Chop on June 16, 2010

Yesterday I got to thinking about leftovers and lunch. Like many of you, I work a 9-5 desk job and blog in my free time. I’m therefore confronted with various lunch options on a daily basis. Do I bring or buy? If I bring, do I pack leftovers or an Amy’s soup? If I buy, do I go with a cheap option ($2 pizza) or a “healthier” option ($8 salad)? Obviously many factors – time, cravings, budget etc – affect this decision.

Though I initially thought it was only a few months ago (time flies!), I remember reading the New York Times Magazine “Food Issue” from October 2009. This edition included various articles about cooking and nutrition, but I was quickly drawn to Michael Pollan’s “Food Tips.” In this article, Michael Pollan posted a request for “readers rules on eating.” I scanned through the tips and identified with many of them. However this one resonated with me most:

“Make and take your own lunch to work. My father has always done this, and so have I. It saves money, and you know what you are eating.” – Hope Donovan Rider

So simple and yet so smart. The money-saving benefits are no brainers. Most people know they can tighten their belts (literally and figuratively) by brown-bagging it. But the part about “you know what you are eating” really struck a chord with me. How many times have I ordered something from a restaurant without thinking about its ingredients and how it was prepared? So why wouldn’t I choose to prepare my lunch with products I know are high quality, rather than trusting someone else to do for it for me? Not to mention you can be sure that the food meets your standards – organic, antibiotic free, or whatever interests you most. Perhaps it’s local? Or free-trade? Or maybe you care about food that offers the most bang for your buck. Any reason sounds good to me.

Buying lunch, though often more convenient than packing, also causes you to lose a bit of connection to your food. Isn’t it always much more satisfying to eat something you made rather than something some stranger made for you? This is not to say that eating out can’t be a delicious and satisfying treat. But that’s the point – ideally, it should be a treat. When did eating out replace eating in? I thought it was a “NYC thing” but it seems the advent of cheap and fast food has greatly changed America’s eating landscape. The recession, however, has caused many people to return to their kitchen. Though created through duress, I’m convinced that’s not such a bad thing…

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect. Of course I stray more than I’d like. The above factors do affect me just like as they do everyone else. I’m only human. But at the end of the day, I wanted to share how a simple sentence has impacted me in a not-so-simple way. I’ll leave you with a picture of yesterday’s lunch. Perhaps you’ll recognize it from here.

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2 Responses

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  1. […] a great idea. But then I remember we had dined out with my mother the night before. I also recalled this post, where I talked about cooking-in more and eating-out less. So, it took a lot of strength, but I […]

  2. […] leftovers, I had two options for lunch -bring or buy. I’ve been trying to adhere to this philosophy so I decided to bring.  But what do you do when you’re tired, and can’t wake up before […]


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