Here’s what I’ve been doing before calling it a night these days- spending the wee hours thinking about lunch. At times, that’ll be all I think about as I get out of bed and march the kids out to school. Lunch. That midday meal when the tummy rumbles if one skips a good breakfast. But I don’t do lunch, you see. It’s a bad habit I got from my teaching days where lunch means dashing off for duty for the first or last 20 minutes of a 40 minutes break; while at the same time trying to finish off this and that, or whatever else that crops up. Strangely enough when there was time to eat, I’d choose to work instead. Though occasionally I’d gobbled up a sandwich or downed a hot cup of instant noodle for a quick fix. And that is considered a treat.
As you probably have guessed, this fixation with lunch is due to none other than my brood of four who would troop in between 12 noon to 2 pm, like a pack of hungry bears. What must a mama bear do? Have food ready to serve of course! For me meals should be a simple affair of fuss free preparation with nothing fancy to distract the mind from the food. So long as the dishes look presentable and taste just right, that would be enough.
My choice of menu is pretty straight forward: sandwiches, salads, soups, pastas/noodles, one-pot meals, eggs (cook in a variety of ways) and fried rice. Being a Malaysian, I do enjoy rice eaten with many side dishes, but not for every meal. I’d rather have bread, and my late grandma used to say that I should marry the bread seller (who goes around on his bike selling bread and treats), so I can have all the bread for free. Nah, it should’ve been a man who loves cooking and frees me from this task of feeding the family. This is an important requirement for women to have before finding a life partner…specifically those who find cooking a little challenging.
To cater to the different taste buds, I learnt to work smart. Very smart. My collection of cookbook remains untouched nowadays, as I mostly googled for the recipes. What’s the main keyword? Simple. Easy. Quick. Once I found a few good ones, I made a quick mental note (screenshot if necessary) and merged everything into one simple recipe. But I only used it as a rough guide and actually cooking it in my style. I’ve become more creative at using similar ingredients to produce different dishes for all to enjoy. Not a Master Chef standard, just enough to do its job in keeping a happy belly!
The go-to double duty menus:
- Bolognese sauce: pasta/ sloppy joe
- Thick creamy chicken soup: pasta/ as it is with buns
- Hard boiled eggs: salad/ filling for a sandwich
- Grilled sausages: hot dog/ sliced thickly and stir fry in a mixture of chili sauce, tomato sauce and soy sauce- eaten on its own or with rice
- Tuna- salad/ pasta/ sandwich
- Sardines- fried rice/ sandwich/ salad
- Omelette- sandwich/ rice
- Roast/ fried chicken: salad/ sandwich/ pasta/ rice
- Fried anchovies/ salmon fillet- plain rice porridge/ fried rice/ sandwich
- Boiled potatoes: salad/ mashed potatoes
In order to make it better, adding condiment to taste and some garnishment for effect will liven up each dish, without a doubt.
For the record, I still don’t eat lunch as I’ll have a heavy breakfast, but there’s always a mug of coffee and a toast or two along the way. Err, to be honest some cookies keep me happily filled up too 😁😁😁