Catering to yourself

boxlunch1 Next time you go to an outdoor concert, or take a walk on a pier, or hike to the top of a vista, sitting in a blind on a misty morning bird watching or even just sitting on a bench watching a local soccer game…….BTW why AREN’T you doing these things? get out of the damn house!  build yourself a little box o’treats. Don’t settle for food that doesn’t bring you joy, not drive through, not takeaway, not concession stands.  Take the time to make what you love.

There is not much sadder, than a lone person sitting someplace really nice eating fast food out of a paperbag.  You may not feel sorry for yourself, but you certainly don’t want someone else to view you with pity…you want them to ENVY you and your choices. I used to go watch horse events and bring lobster salad and sushi rolls, which turned out to be much better than the concessions available.

Traditionally a ‘box lunch’ was something you were handed at a social event, the whole meal was self-contained and the box created a little surface to protect your lap from spillage.  See? doesn’t that phrase conjure a pleasanter image than a fast food meal stuffed into a paperbag and then into a plastic one? What I am advocating is taking TIME to plan a meal that will tickle you and feel like a present TO yourself, hence the box.  Obviously the ‘box’ is a container of your choosing… though a shoe box is a really good size gauge, and it can be recycled on the spot if inconvenient to bring home.

For example: go on a hike, and when you get to the top, whip out a tidy little brunch of cheese and bread and strawberries along with your lemonade Snapple or even a wee bottle of champagne and an unbreakable wine glass. Make other people WISH they had planned ahead that while they chew their Clif bars.

If I has said ‘picnic for one’ you probably wouldn’t have read this far. ‘Picnic’ is often an event unto itself, it is the end goal of assembling an portable meal. They can be awfully fun if you have a really nice place to exploit.   Make up a small basket or lunch tote, go to the lakeside, bring a book, or headphones, kick back and eat your treats.  I have keep a plain black insulated kids backpack in one my bike panniers…just in case of a picnic emergency

bento6Discover the fun of bento boxes, the Japanese box lunch, it takes a little preplanning to have some rice balls and shumai and veggies ready to go every morning, so start by practicing on the weekend.

Reconstruct your favorite sandwich from your favorite deli, and wrap it in wax paper. This is a good chance to use up those leftover condiment packages you stored in the fridge. Leftovers of all kinds fit snuggly between two slices of bread…how do you think they invented that ‘turkey dinner’ sandwich?

Pick up a couple of locally made donuts or mini-pies or other pastry that will survive a short trip; gooey things need a container inside the container, so use your best judgement.  Save some of those single pie slice clamshells for use later.

Besides regular lunch fare of kettle chips and apple chips, think about fresh strawberries packed in a small container with sour cream and brown sugar, make up some crepes the day before, roll them up with jam and powdered sugar, small chunks of REALLY good cheese, and some excellent bread…if you’re outside crumbs be damned! this is why they sell folding knives!

You can assemble all sorts of meal combinations that you would NEVER bring to work as lunch.  Remember you can get really nice half bottles (350ml) or splits of wine and you can’t go anywhere without seeing the tide of single serving (187ml) tetra-pak wines available.

Never settle! If you start looking at the world through the single serving lens your options are infinite. Things that would be too expensive for a whole meal, are perfect for a box lunch, a wide assortment of delicacies are part of the appeal.

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