The New Lunch Box

The Perfect (anti-pandemic) Sandwich

I don’t know a single soul whose life has not changed the past year and a half due to the global pandemic. That is intentionally typed out in light grey letters because my husband and I have chosen not to dwell on all the changes and negatives, but instead to just try to live our lives – albeit vaccinated.

Some of the ways our daily routines have been impacted?  I have resorted to a delivery service for many of my heavy grocery items such as milk, eggs, juice…things I don’t feel like hauling up the steps to my front porch.  At first delivery was out of precaution but now it is part of my routine. From time to time, I do go to farmers markets and my neighborhood small grocery store – I just can’t help getting my hands on fresh produce and the like..

Amazon?  I loved it before 2020 and I love it even more now.

Personal beauty needs?  I have never been a person consumed with my looks or with having facials, manicures and the like. I don’t wear pretty nail polish on my hands anyway and I file and paint my own toenails.  Haircuts have become few and far between – and that is OK. I love feeling self-sufficient.

Customer service?  I am talking about help from places such as my bank or from the airlines.  I don’t like it one bit, but I now expect to be called back hours later or not at all, and the representatives who are there to answer phones do not seem motivated to do a good job.  Yesterday my husband called to schedule a cardiology appointment and was told he would get a call back, and that he was the 10th person in line.  Sheesh.

Meals?  I really do not miss restaurants at all in Seattle (shhh).  A few places I used to go closed their doors over two years ago anyway, and now prices have become so high that the few times I have picked up or had food delivered, I couldn’t help but think how I don’t like paying, say, $50 including tip for grilled cheese sandwiches and a tiny cup of soup for two.  Yes, I feel awful for restaurant owners!  I feel horrible for all the small businesses here and elsewhere who have been forced to close as well.  Not buying prepared food from restaurants means that we are making three meals a day, seven days a week for the two of us – not to mention extra food I deliver to family and friends.  For me, it isn’t work.  For me, cooking is a pleasure and I am pretty efficient and creative to boot. 

Which brings me to the lunch box.  For a long time now, when we are in and out of the house, I’ve made a container of lunch food early in the day to grab on the go.  Usually there are sandwich halves, some type of yogurt or cottage cheese, fruit, cut up vegetables, homemade treats…you get the picture.  In all fairness, my husband does most of the clean up and all the household repairs as well so we are equal opportunity.

Last week I was feeling more creative than usual.  I took some sweet, dark, store-bought bread and slathered one half with grainy mustard.  I topped that with three slices of extra thick sliced Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese and covered it with thinly sliced dill pickles and caramelized onions I made earlier in the week.  Topped with another slice of bread, this concoction was grilled on the stovetop until the cheese was melty and the bread was crunchy.

Let me tell you, this is worth repeating.  Plus, it’s nice to know that good things do come out of a challenging year and a half.

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