Brown Bag Lunch, Reimagined

A number of years ago, I implemented a new approach to the New Year’s Resolution. No more “I’m going to lose 10 pounds” or “I’m going to love myself more” stuff that is, for me, impossible to keep. It is much easier for me to make a promise to something larger than myself to which I am much more likely to be faithful. For example, 10 years ago (ahead of my time, thank you) I resolved to bring my own bags to the grocery store, to which I have adhered and now it is so second-nature to BYOBag that I am never caught out and paying for plastic. Similar resolutions have resulted in my giving blood regularly (2002), officially volunteering my time (2006) and vegetarianism (2007).
This year I resolved to bring my lunch to work with me daily. Ostensibly, this is more self-serving than resolutions from previous years but I have recently learned that this is a modicum of self-care that I require. The on-campus catering is essentially inedible, and yet I was buying a tuna sandwich daily (and I don’t even love sandwiches) and supplementing its blandness with S&V chips between the slices. Not healthy or especially delicious.
To help me with my commitment I committed to buying a new lunch jar, that seemed astoundingly expensive to me. Nonetheless, I felt the expense might keep me honest and it was still less than buying barely edible tuna salad sammies from the campus cafeteria on a regular basis.
Because my backpack was usually full of books and papers, I had trouble bringing lunch with me to school in it so I needed something I could carry independently of my backpack. This lunch jar, with a shoulder strap, fit the bill. It keeps food cold or hot and comprises four separate compartments. I hate my food touching each other. That’s just how I roll.
The bottom compartment is leak-proof, though the other three are not. It’s good for a small serving of soup, but I usually use it for a cut-up avocado, lemon juice and sea salt, fancy olives or other wet food. I can bring rice, stir-fry, cut-up raw veggies, nuts, cheese, etc. in the other three compartments easily and it gets me through the day. The utensil compartment will hold a fork or spoon. Probably also a spork.
I love hot soup, especially in the winter and I have a couple of mean recipes for Curried Carrot-Ginger Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup that I like to make for my week. When I want to bring soup to work, I bring it in this for a more substantial serving:
This fits into an outside pocket on my backpack, keeps soup hot until I need it and is super-styley. It was a gift from Academic Writer.
Both of these options are, I think, more professionally legit than a Charlie’s Angels lunchbox, which I sort of wish I still owned.
Lunch jar: Nissan Thermos, via Amazon.com
Styley Thermos: gifted (Thanks AW!)

Do you bring your lunch to work? How do you haul it? Or is it a treat to eat out that is a manageable and/or necessary expense?

4 thoughts on “Brown Bag Lunch, Reimagined

  1. I think if there were a local deli nearby instead of the Dickensian institutional offerings that are the only option, then I would probably not have made the promise to my whole foods lunch. That said, the dude at the local fish and chip shop knows my name (he even, horrifyingly, asked me out so now it's totally uncomfortable to get fresh fried clams) and they pretend not to know me well at the liquor store, but they do.

  2. I think if there were a local deli nearby instead of the Dickensian institutional offerings that are the only option, then I would probably not have made the promise to my whole foods lunch. That said, the dude at the local fish and chip shop knows my name (he even, horrifyingly, asked me out so now it's totally uncomfortable to get fresh fried clams) and they pretend not to know me well at the liquor store, but they do.

  3. I really really want to be like this, plan ahead, and eat well (and save money) when I'm on campus. But alas, they know my face at the local deli and I think I am turning into one of their sandwiches. Definitely jealousy going on over here. These are some awesome lunch materials.

  4. Your stuff is great, especially the lunch jar with the strap!I've recently gotten rid of my only reasonable lunch transport. Because despite the fact that it was insulated and had useful pockets for utensils, it was (a) ugly in a Laura-Ashley-esque print (it was a gift, thank-you very much), and (b) I left a mandarin orange in it over Reading Week and couldn't bring myself to clean it out. If it hadn't been ugly, I'd have risked it.But you're right: bringing lunch to campus is the only way to not feel absolutely terrible every day. And I learned this same lesson from a series of dodgy tuna and egg salad sandwiches. I've tried campus sushi a couple of times, too. But it's horrifying.In short and to sum up: I want me a Nissan Thermos.

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