My Husband’s Lunches

I have been making my husband’s lunches pretty steadily, just not always posting them. A couple of times he packed his own from leftovers while he was taking a turn doing the dishes after supper. I didn’t take pictures of those.=)  I have been taking pictures of them (more on that below), although I did forget the picture once or twice.  Here are the ones in my phone camera:

  1. 2014-09-13 11.15.022014-09-15 19.12.47
  1. 2014-09-16 19.06.12
  2. 2014-09-17 19.27.46
  3. 2014-10-01 18.36.40
  4. 2014-10-02 21.21.58
  5. 2014-10-06 02.09.33
  6. 2014-10-07 03.17.34
  7. 2014-10-08 12.29.46
  8. 2014-10-08 12.31.25
  9. 2014-10-08 12.54.38
  10. 2014-10-08 12.58.22
  11. 2014-10-08 17.38.53
  12. 2014-10-12 18.53.29
  13. 2014-10-14 00.28.16
  14. 2014-10-15 20.54.42

This is why I take pictures even if I am not going to post them here: We had an issue where he was forgetting them on a too regular basis, and then that put me off my groove because he wouldn’t need a lunch the next day since he could just take yesterday’s forgotten lunch, and then I would be miffed and petty about my lunch being forgotten, and then we had this thing going on where I never knew when or where he was working because he had a couple different schedules, two jobs, and was going to school full time, and I couldn’t keep track.  He’s working regular hours now, so that’s easier for me.  He’s still going to school, but online or student teaching, so the hours are still regular (albeit long).

Then he thought he’d buy his lunches at school, but like the students, he found that the Michelle Obama approved lunches were not enough to keep him from feeling a little sick with hunger by the time he had to make the hour commute home.  If he chose to add more to his plate, the meals became silly expensive, especially for what he was getting.

So.  Now I make his lunches most of the time (I think about four out of five days), and then I take a picture and send it to him via FB.  Sometimes I even take a picture of where it is in the fridge so he can find it in the morning when he leaves (since he leaves so early).  He doesn’t forget them that way, and he knows what he’s having (he doesn’t like to be surprised for lunch, he likes to know), and I have all these fun pictures of lunches.

I make liberal use of leftovers; frozen fruit; and conveniently prewashed and prepared baby greens salad mixes.  I try to keep things like olives, pickles, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers,sriracha sauce, Thai peanut sauce, salsa, nuts, and dried fruit on hand to fill in spaces or doctor things up.

I do often repackage the leftovers so that they look different and are not precisely what he had for supper the night before.  This is just pride, he doesn’t really care that much, but I do.

We might have beef bulgogi one night, and I mix it with cooked rice and vegetables when I pack his lunch that night. Or we might have roasted vegetables and salsa, and a few leftovers get spooned into an omelette I whip together when I pack his lunch that night.  We might have meatloaf for dinner, and then I make meatloaf sandwiches or break up some meatloaf into leftover fried rice in the fridge that night when I pack his lunch.  We had a thick and hearty bean soup for lunch a few days ago, and then I spooned out the cooked beans and ham using a slotted spoon and topped them with roasted red peppers and a hamburger patty cut into strips in his lunch.

We might have spaghetti for supper on Monday and I use leftovers from the weekend for his lunch when I pack it.

Then we might have chicken for supper on Tuesday and the leftover sauce and extra cheese get spread on English muffins or broiled eggplant slices for ‘pizza’, and then he gets chicken spaghetti on Wednesday.

I don’t usually have a plan.  I just open the fridge and eyeball it.  Sometimes when I am making lunch for the Cherub, my son, and I, I do think about packing a lunch.  For example, salmon fillets were recently 1.00 for individual packets of about 4 ounces (the boy would eat two of these and two baked potatoes for breakfast every morning if he could).  So I cooked an extra fillet at lunch time, and then incorporated that and rice we had for dinner into the HM’s packed meal that night.

Or I stagger things- using leftovers from Monday for a lunch later in the week rather than the very next day.  But mostly, I revise and apply some kitchen alchemy.

He is largely on his own for breakfasts.  When it gets chilly I will start making the crockpot grain cereal I’ve been making for many years and he’ll grab himself a bowl of that in the morning.   He likes grains, so he often just puts oats and milk in a bowl with dates or raisins.  I bought some raisin whole-wheat bread for him, the kind with the texture of bark, and it molds in about 29 hours if you leave it out because it has no preservatives.  He likes that with peanut butter in the mornings. We have good peanut butter in the fridge- freshly ground, no preservatives.  We have the sugary storebought peanut butter in the pantry, the kind that tastes like a grainfree peanut butter cookie because it’s so sweet.  I will leave it to you to infer which of these everybody but me eats.

(Why don’t I eat it?  Because I’m doing Whole30 and selfishly hogging all the almond butter in the fridge.)

We always have fruit in the kitchen, these days it’s mostly apples, so he often grabs himself an apple to eat on the way to work in the morning.

I also play around a bit with the vegetables.  Sometimes I do carrot sticks, other times I shred the carrots and call it a salad.  Sometimes I do celery sticks, other times I put peanut butter in them, other times I chop them, mix with a diced apple, a few walnut pieces and mayo and call it Waldorf salad.  Same foods, different combinations.

I numbered the pictures above, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Everybody has to prioritize based on their own personal circumstances.   Nobody much notices if I dust or not until it’s been six months or more (I am not exaggerating).  Nobody says anything whether I clean the bathroom or not, and nobody but me even knows when I sweep under the furniture, but he and most of his co-workers notice when I fix lunches.  I don’t hear about it every day, understand.  Maybe once a month I will hear something.  But that’s better than never.=)  It’s human nature to prefer to do things that people acknowledge and to prefer not to do thankless tasks.

Keep in mind that I have no babies.  The Cherub is essentially a perpetual toddler, but she doesn’t do a lot of the toddler things that make young mothers weary, frazzled, and sleepless.  I can and do keep her out of the kitchen if I need to.  You might be at the stage of life where you husband has to fix his own sandwich or buy meals at work.  That’s okay.  There’s nothing inherently sanctifying and righteous about fixing lunches like this.  You probably do a hundred other things that I don’t do.  You are almost certainly a nicer person.  It’s not a competition, so if this kind of post frets you, please don’t.

It is true that few things I have done as a wife, however, have brought me as many compliments as my husband’s packed lunches, and I’m not just talking about him.  When he was in the military and I made his lunches, he said his co-workers were often jealous and asked him why I did that.   That gave him an opening for many conversations about Christianity, about marriage, about relationships, about life in general that he might not otherwise have been able to have.

Updated to note: This is ironic. Last night, of all nights, the HM said he would pack his own lunch from dinner’s leftovers and I didn’t need to worry about it. Before he went to bed, I asked him if he had done that, or did I need to do anything. He said he had packed his lunch, and, “It’s not as pretty as you make it, so if you want to do something to pretty it up, that’s fine, but it’s not necessary. there’s ore than enough calories and food to tide me over.”

About midnight, just before I went to bed, I went to look at his lunch and this was it:

2014-10-17 01.16.08

That’s just two slices of a pork roast under the tortilla- nothing else hiding there. My creative juices dried up, and since he’d said there were more than enough calories here to sustain him, I just put it back in the fridge and made muffins instead. I figured he could grab a couple of those on his way out.

This morning at 6 a.m. I got a text from him saying, “….well…. I got my lunch out of the refrigerator, but left it on the counter.”

It was in a grocery bag. And I guess he didn’t mean it when he told me I didn’t need to do anything else because it was more than enough to keep him full, because he also had a tupperwared container holding about 3 cups of raw almonds and golden raisins, and an apple.

The Boy enjoyed most of that for breakfast.

At least the meal the HM forgot to take was his own labor. =)

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