Because a bare cupboard and an empty fridge are sad sights to behold, the Urban Forager hunts through food & wine shops bringing home tasty morsels that make your kitchen table the best place to eat in town.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sack Lunches

On my drive home from work in the afternoon I’ve been seeing the same group of five construction workers ending their day. They’re walking to their own cars, all of them still wearing orange vests, and all five carrying small lunch coolers. I always wonder what was packed in their cooler that day. I imagine meatloaf and ketchup sandwiches or maybe ham on white bread with mayonnaise and a bag of chips. Maybe Tupperware filled with leftovers from last night’s dinner or a long, slim piece of cold pizza wrapped in tin foil. I love packed lunches. The anticipation! The joy of seeing a sandwich snug inside a Ziploc bag! I miss the grade school lunch hour when I walked down the hallway tightly holding two dimes that would buy a small carton of milk from the milk wagon. (I know that makes me sound like a pioneer – I wasn’t – but I swear, my grade school did have a milk wagon.)
The Husband is not so big on the packed lunch. He thinks it's sad, and I understand why. A half-squashed paper bag with a flap folded down. The sandwich bread that sometimes gets soggy. Knowing that your freedom from work will be over in 30 short minutes.
But what if you had a shiny, metal lunchbox? Something with a nifty little handle and three different compartments? A friend brought such a thing back from India recently and although I don’t think it’s meant to be a lunch box, that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw it. This little lunchbox would make you the envy of lunch room.
This week, plan ahead one night and pack yourself a lunch. Don’t scrimp - make it hearty. Pack yourself a lunch so good that your co-workers might actually consider negotiating a trade. Your homemade salad with fresh chicken and blue cheese in exchange for the gut-bomb burrito they bought across the street? Or perhaps your large square of leftover lasagna for their boring old bagel?
Yeah, right.
If you really want to make ‘em jealous, take my cue and bring the lunch box back into your life. It feels good to swing a lunchbox by your side. Makes me feel like skipping.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Horseradish Bloody Mary

The way I view the world, today is called "Nacho Sunday" not "Super Bowl Sunday." Watching the game (who are the teams again?) is simply an excuse to eat. I'm not really into the half-time show or the commercials either. But I am definitely into the nachos. Nothing fancy - just chips and cheese garnished with jalepenos, chopped tomatoes and beans. Some guac and salsa on the side. This day is also one of the few times in the year when I indulge in one of the few cocktails that is acceptable to drink for breakfast: The Bloody Mary. I like mine on the spicy side with the earthy flavor of fresh horseradish. You can buy horseradish root at almost any grocery store. I serve the Bloody Marys in a pitcher and let people add their own vodka. Pepper vodka is great, although regular vodka works just fine too. Serve with a celery stalk or pickled asparagus and a wedge of lemon.

Horseradish Bloody Mary
64 oz tomato juice (two large jars)
3 Tbsp grated horseradish root
1 Tbsp Tobasco sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
5 grinds black pepper
1 grind or shake of salt