If you’re like me, you get really tired of eating the same old things for lunch. Whether you work in an office or in retail or even at home, in most cases, or options for a decent lunch are limited.
That’s why I was excited when I picked up The Little Book of Lunch: 100 Recipes and Ideas to Reclaim the Lunch Hour. I’d love to be able to make a variety of lunches, usually the night before, so I could have something better than a Wawa sub, a Wendy’s burger, or a boring salad from the grocery store salad bar.
Visually, the book is beautiful, filled with photos of lunches that look incredible. But I have to admit that I am dismayed by the recipes inside. Simply put, the lunches here in The Little Book of Lunch just don’t reflect choices that most Americans would consider for lunch, breakfast or dinner.
The reason why: the book was not written for our stateside audience. It was first published in Great Britain, and written by two Londoners. Consequently, their choices here reflect some decidedly continental preferences, and far too many Middle Eastern influences.
As such, it’s one of the most annoying cookbooks I’ve ever read, from their choice of parchment paper for wrapping sandwiches (perhaps they don’t have Saran Wrap in England?) to a Mexican-style corn recipe . . . that uses mayonnaise.
I counted them (and forgive my math if I’m wrong; I was an English major who can barely use a calculator):
Out of 100 recipes, I would only eat nineteen.
At least five use couscous, which, I know, is trendy and beloved by foodies, but average American guys want nothing to do with it.
At least eight include chickpeas or hummus.
At least two incorporate quinoa, another trendy food, but is meaningless to me.
At least four use ingredients I’ve never heard of: ras el hanout, halloumi, harissa . . .
And at least five use ingredients that are just plain weird. Herring? Really?
I wanted to love this book, for I desperately want to find a way to break free from the burger/chicken sandwich lunch trap. The Little Book of Lunch may be the answer for foodies and hipsters. But it most definitely provides few answers for those whose tastes are less extravagant or gourmet.