Yesterday I photographed our lunches, and then when I found myself wide awake at three this morning — because the chicks that my daughter bought yesterday and then put in the downstairs guestroom that’s directly below our room were cheep-eep-eeping so loudly that they woke me up and I had to get out of bed to fetch the noise machine from where it purrs in the hallway and plug it in next to my bed, right by my head, so I could drown out the shrill peeps, but then, of couse, all that activity only served to wake me up even more — I tried to write a post to go with those lunch photos. Because if I wasn’t going to sleep, I might as well do something useful.

But what, I thought to myself as I flopped about, tugging the covers up and then flinging them off, is there to say about lunch? Nothing really, except, I realized, I really like it. I like the eating, naturally, but I also like the word itself: lunch.

Say it: lunch. It’s a friendly word, don’t you think? Cozy and humble, and cheery. Satisfying, too, the way it ends with such firm unch-ness. And it rhymes with other agreeable words, like munch, bunch, and crunch, all which are related to lunch: I munch and crunch my way through a bunch of lunch. See?

But oh yes. The photos. Right.

My husband’s lunch….

two deviled eggs, chips and salsa, an apple and peanut butter, coffee 

He has never been one for packing a lunch. He does it, but he hates it. Lucky for him, the older he gets, the less he eats, so there’s less to pack.

Still, I don’t understand how he can pull off eight hours of hard physical labor on a couple eggs and an apple with peanut butter. I’d be flat on my face — doing his job, I’d be flat on my face even with a big lunch — but he says it’s enough, so whatever.

My younger son’s lunch….

my mom’s homemade yogurt, leftover steak, cheesy chips and salsa

I was going to heat up leftover brown rice and curry for our lunch, but then I just didn’t feel like dealing with the inevitable fussing (the kids aren’t curry fans), and we had plenty of other leftovers. Cobbled lunches are one of my favorite things about eating at home — I feel so virtuous, emptying container after container of leftovers.

My younger daughter’s lunch…

ramen, with a boiled egg and some leftover corn, and crackers

She couldn’t finish it, so my younger son ate the rest of it.

(My older daughter was at school, so I didn’t photograph what she ate. I think she took some chips, though, and a couple granola bars. And when I went to Costco yesterday, she sent along money so I’d buy her a large pepperoni pizza that she then divided up and stuck in the freezer for her future lunches.)

In my Sunday school class on the climate crisis, there’s a lot of talk about how reducing food waste is one of the biggest ways that we can fight climate change. (Of the dozens and dozens of ways that we can cut back on carbon emissions, guess what’s the number one way. Transportation? Netzero building? Recycling? Walkable cities? Nope — refrigerants!)

But I’m a little unclear about what “reducing food waste” means. Is it the waste from growing the food (fertilizers and fossil fuels)? Waste from shipping it? Waste from grocery stores buying too much and throwing it out? Waste from all our driving to and from the stores, restaurants, pick-your-own patches? Waste from driving to the gym to burn off the excess calories? Waste from processed food? The obesity epidemic and the ensuing medical costs? Excessive food packaging? Our crazy-high meat consumption?

How is the homecook supposed to respond? Does it boil down to The Pollan Mantra — Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants — or is there something more?

My lunch…

cheese and crackers, and then coffee and Reeses’ cups, and then an apple with peanut butter 
and probably Twizzlers, too — can’t remember

Like I said: Lunches are for munching and crunching. I have a hunch you agree.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (2.26.18), homecoming, roasted cauliflower soup, the quotidian (2.25.13), for my daughter, Molly’s marmalade cake.


  • Goatldi

    Food waste is the public refusing in general (thank God for exceptions) anything but perfect. Be it a peach an egg or a cucumber. A visual cue that tells the person that if the object in question doesn’t look like the “perfect” whatever it isn’t good enough to eat. Pity fruit veggies and other eatable items don’t loose their nutritional value due to not being “perfect”.

    Good thing we don’t judge people in the same way. Oh wait or do we?

  • Margo

    We go with the Pollan mantra pretty much. I also buy local as much as possible – walking or biking to fetch the food, furthermore. I do have three freezers (ouch), but keep doggedly sticking with one fridge.

    I adore a scrappy lunch – if there's a food leftover that I don't think will be chosen for lunches, I stick it in the freezer if possible for future inspiration. I am rigorous about checking what's in the freezer and using it.

  • Becky

    How I interpret reducing food waste: Use all the parts you can. Compost. Don't buy more than we can't eat. Buy as much locally as I possibly can. Grow as much as the deer in the yard will allow.

    My lunches are always grazing fests of whatever is in the fridge. My family usually packs themselves crunch and munch grazing fests too.

  • farm buddy

    I have a suggestion for your Sunday school class….read or listen to Cows Save the Planet, by Judith D. Schwartz. It is an EXCELLENT book!! Really, really interesting and cows really CAN save the planet through managed grazing, which sequesters carbon. It is available in an audio book too! You can listen to it for FREE by getting library card from the New York Public Library, in case your library doesn't have it. I live in Upstate NY and NEVER go to New York City, but I still was able to easily get a card from this library. Another good thing for your class would be to listen to YouTube videos by Gabe Brown, who is a rancher in North Dakota that uses ruminant animals and cover crops to sequester carbon. It really, really is interesting stuff and is doable.

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