Thursday, February 13, 2014

Almond joy

I’ve never been a huge fan of lunch. Breakfast, yes; dinner, definitely; but lunch ... meh. Uninspiring. I’d even dare say depressing. Just something we do in the middle of the day because our bodies demand nourishment. I realize this anti-lunch attitude is very un-French of me, but considering that I will never actually be French, I’m OK with that. So is my distaste for the midday meal an American thing? The running perception on this side of the world is, after all, that we Americans don’t eat lunch, or at least don’t eat anything worthy of being called “lunch.” We’re supposedly more of a sandwich-at-the-keyboard kind of culture. I’d try to argue otherwise, but since I obviously cannot cite myself as a counterexample, what’s the point?

Actually, that looks pretty good!

My parents aren’t big lunch people, either, which is probably where my lack of enthusiasm began. Lunch at their house is, for want of a better word, “nonexistent.” If one happens to be hungry in the middle of the day, one opens the refrigerator and forages. Possible finds include salad greens in various stages of decay, giant Costco cheese blocks, ancient tortillas that no one will ever eat, and an astounding—no, a stupefying—array of condiments. In the freezer are raw cranberries and a year’s supply of nuts. But again, since no one in my family eats lunch, the lack of actual food in the kitchen is worrisome only to my husband, who, being French and all, has no desire to subsist entirely on inferior cheese and frozen almonds until dinnertime (which is also pretty sparse). I say, where’s his sense of intercultural appreciation? At least there’s no need to worry about any holiday weight gain!

We are what we eat.

I will acknowledge that living in France has helped me to take lunch more seriously, even if I still don’t necessarily enjoy it. When I was a regular employee, I appreciated the midday breather that la pause déjeuner represented, as well as the proximity and variety of solutions to those pesky hunger pangs. But now that I’m my own boss, I’ve kind of returned to my ambivalent roots. Lunchtime rolls around, I’m hungry, and I have neither inspiration nor patience. Happily, there is an obvious choice: I really like cheese, which, France being the alpha and the omega of dairy products, we have aplenty. I also really like this pre-sliced packaged bread called Harry’s “American Sandwich” (which is actually quite popular among the French, who are more open-minded about bread than one might imagine).

Maybe it’s the American spin that my subconscious finds comforting, or maybe I’m just lazy, but I can’t get enough of the stuff! It probably accounts for about a third of my daily caloric intake. I do opt for the “whole wheat” variety, so I figure it’s not so bad. I mean, yeah, I’m eating straight up industrial bread in France, but hey—it’s from a French supermarket.

Plus you can’t do that with a baguette.

To make a long story short, I eat a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches: way more than I ever ate while living in the US, actually. I use coconut oil instead of butter (virtuous), real cheddar cheese (semi-virtuous), and Harry’s bread (it’s whole wheat!). I know I should eat some veggies with that, but when it’s already 3:00 pm and Babykins could go into meltdown mode at any minute, I don’t have the presence of mind to go concocting some amazing salad of organic produce, which I would have carefully selected that morning from a quaint farmers’ market while humming “Little Town” from Beauty and the Beast. So instead I eat a tomato. Whole. Like an apple (less cutlery to wash). Ironically, I often do this while watching reruns of Masterchef or Top Chef or some other cooking-related show, whose participants would probably be horrified by my dietary deconstructionism. But I figure watching real food being prepared counterbalances what’s actually on my plate and besides, it beats frozen almonds.

1 comment:

  1. Always entertaining! I love your witty narratives! Kiss the babe for me!