A vegan kitchen: eating at work

I just sent Alex a text message:

There’s a wedge of lime wrapped in foil in your lunch container. Please don’t microwave it >_<

I made Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry last night and the recipe calls for a wedge of lime for garnish. Alex and I really do like the extra touch of citrus so the lime is a necessity. However, it’s hard to pack without somehow compromising the integrity of the lime or losing it in your bag. My latest attempt was to wrap it in foil and drop it into the food container with the entree. If no one microwaves the foil today, this will be my go-to method of including essential-but-non-microwaveable foodstuffs in our lunches.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I have glass food containers in which I pack our lunches so I wanted to talk a little bit more about what else goes into eating at work.

In addition to the glass containers in an assortment of sizes (in which I carry entrees, side salads, cookies, fresh fruit, etc.), I have a couple of tiny squeeze bottles in which I carry dressings and other sauces. They’re only 2-oz so you don’t get much in there but it does its job well. I haven’t purchased salad dressing in years (opting to make my own instead1) and, while I store the majority of the prepared dressing in a glass container not reserved for lunch, I carry little amounts with me to work to dress up my food.

In terms of utensils, I bought two sets of bamboo flatware on Reuseit. I keep my set at work while Alex brings in the necessary utensil(s) on a day-by-day basis. (I have my own cube where I can keep my stuff but he doesn’t have a designated work area so he has to schlep his stuff in.) They work really well. The fork has surprisingly sharp tines and the knife is serrated to help get the job done. The spoon is relatively flat and is sort of halfway between a regular teaspoon and tablespoon in size. I’ve used it to eat soup, soy yogurt, applesauce, etc. It successfully transfers food from my bowl to my mouth so I’m satisfied.

In addition to the things I bring in everyday, I also stock food-related things in my cubicle: a single-serving French press, a glass jar of coarsely ground coffee2, a glow-in-the-dark zombie mug (that is no longer available on ThinkGeek, sadly), two cans of veggie soup, a can opener, salt & pepper shakers, snacks (Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter, Clif bars, nuts, and dried fruit), and mints. I also have a couple of plastic utensils that I’ve procured over the last year and keep in case of emergencies. I also have a set of wood chopsticks that I recently got with a Thai takeout lunch (…huh?) that I’m keeping in case I need ’em.

I also have a glass water bottle that I keep near me at all times. I end up drinking about two bottle-fuls a day… which keeps my bladder nice and active. I end up using the restroom more frequently than a pregnant coworker with whom I share the office suite. (What? It’s important to stay hydrated!)

My cubicle is my home away from home (I spend at least a third of each weekday there!) so I make sure I’m comfortable and well-stocked. This comes particularly in handy in the summers, when the university institutes a 4-day workweek in which we work 40 hours in 4 days (taking Fridays off). I get hungry on those long days so it’s nice to be able to snack as necessary throughout the day. Alas, summer is over… but I’m still a very hungry lady who appreciates munching on banana chips or having a cup of coffee with spoonfuls of a vegan Nutella-like spread.


1 I’m a big fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s carrot ginger dressing from her book Appetite for Reduction so I make a large batch on the weekend and it lasts me through the week.
2 I drink my coffee black so I don’t keep sugar or creamer of any sort in my cube or in the shared kitchen. I get hot water for my coffee from the office water cooler but wouldn’t be opposed to storing a small electric kettle in my cube if I didn’t have access to the cooler.

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