"Um, sure!" I said. "Thanks! Anything would be great -- just no meat."
About 10 minutes later, she returned with the best-tasting sandwich I'd had all year. This thing was wonderful: it had deli cheese, onions, sprouts, pumpkin seeds, tomato, avocado ... man. Just the memory of it makes me weak. I sat in a sunny window, enjoying the view, eating this amazing sandwich with a glass of white wine, and I was completely blissed. In fact, for the following 2 hours, I kept telling her that that meal alone made it worth the trip to Oregon. I will never forget that sandwich.
Not surprisingly, Alex was sort of taken aback by how much I'd enjoyed this sandwich, a concoction that she probably made for herself a million times at home in San Francisco. But I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was because it was full of ingredients I'd never think to use myself -- I mean, here I am, working at home alone, and when it's lunchtime, I usually just forage for something quick to eat, without much thought. Yet, in a mere 10 minutes, Alex had whipped up a healthy, cafe-worthy sandwich. Why don't I do that? It's such a simple, inexpensive little indulgence, and honestly? A good meal, no matter how quick and easy, can absolutely make my day.
Since returning home from Oregon, I've made a point of taking a little extra care with preparing my lunch-for-one, and even though my lunches are very quickly made, because there's a little mindfulness involved, it's actually made a world of difference in improving the quality of my days. There's just something about a beautifully-prepared lunch, even if it's quick and easy, even if it's tucked into a lunchbox and taken to an office cubicle (although, in that case, always pack a cloth napkin along with your lunch, for just that little extra pizazz). I strongly recommend it.
So here's a question: in my constant quest for looking for quick and delicious lunches, what's your favourite lunch-for-one? Creative sandwiches, soups and salads are always welcome -- and if you feel so inclined, feel free to share the recipe in the comments, so we can all partake. I say that we all declare a lunchtime revolution. Take back our lunch, as it were.
Image: A variation on Smitten Kitchen's Smashed Chickpea Salad, photographed with Nikon D300, 50mm manual lens. One of my favourite workweek lunches.