I work from home. This presents me with the amazing opportunity to do what I love: cook. In between phone calls, studio work and sales calls, I can bake a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread or throw some ribs into the oven to cook until the meat is fleeing the bone.
This work-from-home situation also allows my husband and brother-in-law to come home for lunch. Some days are better than others, but they know there is always good coffee and a “side of attitude” being served. Before you think of me adopting a sassy wise-cracking diner-waitress-persona(and believe me there is plenty of that), I want to introduce and define the “side of attitude” which I consider to be a point of personal pride.
A “side of attitude,” is a creative, nourishing, tasty and unexpected side dish. The first time my brother-in-law saw a prepared lunch of Tuna Fish Salad served with Cottage Cheese and a Grapefruit Half, he smiled and joked, “Excuse me, but I ordered the unhealthy lunch. ” My husband loved the way that lunch looked when they walked in the door. “Wow. Honey, this is great.” It was very diner-like, but so inviting, so simple and if I say so myself, thoughtful.
A good side dish is thoughtful because that food eventually becomes part of the person who is eating it. Now, this may seem a bit Polyanna, but I have been accused of that and worse. In fact, my brother-in-law refers to me as, “Someone who is happy about the world,” where puppies can do no wrong and “ordinary life occasions can become big events.” A side dish fits into this last observation as something ordinary that can bring a little unexpected happiness to a meal.
Lunch in particular can be a tricky time. People seem to slip into a fog when it comes to choosing a companion for their sandwich. It’s not their fault. The American pysche has slipped into a dollar-menu mentality when it comes to companion foods. I am here to tell of a different way of life. It is a world of foods that are fresh and tasty, quick to prepare and dazzling to the eye. I am here to proclaim a higher standard for side dishes capable of nourishing bodies and being included in the quick lunches America is forced to consume.
Allow me to further clarify. French fries are a counterfeit vegetable. Potato chips are not a side dish. Lettuce covered in dressing is a cruel mockery to authentic salads every where. And the rice/baked potato song and dance bores me to tears. It doesn’t have to be this way. Take the challenge. Use more creativity and take some pride in the long-forgotten side dish.
Try these delicious lunch menus to get you started: Turkey Sandwich with Mozzarella Cheese, Red Pepper and Pesto Spread with a side of Baked Zucchini Sticks; Grilled Cheese on Texas Toast with Tomato Soup and Seedless Black Grapes; Left over Spaghetti with Apple Slices and Peanut Butter. It’s easy if you think fresh and fast. Add a side of broccoli, cashews, carrot and celery sticks, an orange, yogurt and the list goes on…