It's a recipe for frustration. In tough economic times, many people are working too hard to take off for an hour-long lunch. And who wants to leave your desk empty when the threat of layoffs is looming? So we dine "al desko": a sandwich in one hand and the mouse in the other. The culinary cost of "just grabbing a sandwich" everyday quickly adds up. But the task of making lunch the night before can be daunting, and boil-in-bag food can be dull. Is there anything you can do at your desk to prepare or pep up your midday meal? New York Times food writer and friend of The Takeaway Melissa Clark has some tips.
What should be in your food pantry at work? Here are Melissa's suggestions for the must-have items for the cubicle gourmet: Red wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, good olive oil, Tabasco sauce or other Chili Sauce, sharp mustard (no need to refrigerate!), pepper grinder with fresh pepper, good salt (kosher or coarse sea salt), block of good, dark chocolate (much more satisfying than the vending machine - and cheaper, too!), a bag of roasted salted almonds, and peanut sauce.
Have access to your office fridge? Melissa suggests keeping a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, feta or goat cheese for salads, bagged spinach, and jars of olives and anchovies.
Don't forget to store in your pantry a fork and a sharp knife for cutting an avocado, tomato or zucchini (or for fending off lunchroom thieves).
Have your own ideas for eating al desko? Tell us!
The trouble with al desko Is that it leaves al messko. Your desk is not a tomb; Why not walk around the room? Two meals pack sufficient punch -- Forget the goddamn lunch.
-- Leon Freilich, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY