Even if you’ve never had one, you may be familiar with the idea of the three-martini lunch.* Such a thing is definitely outside my experience for a number of reasons (Mormon, not a business executive, not a restaurant person, etc.). Myself, I incline toward the three-container lunch.
It feels like a success to me to be able to finish off three or more leftovers and retire the little containers they’ve been inhabiting in the fridge. I’ve heard legends of people that don’t do leftovers. That’s a little hard for me to fathom. But I completely understand that most people don’t do leftovers the way I do. I’m an extreme case. It’s hard for me to throw away food, and I try to stop eating when I stop being hungry, so I don’t finish off the last few bites. I also don’t generally make the Everything Stews for which all those leftovers might be destined. Hence all the little containers.
The other day I had a four-container lunch: in one I had saved a few bites of green peas, in another a sushi rice cube† with coconut, craisins and carrot (made by my friend Paralee). Next was a third of a hot dog, and the last held a little breaded smelt. Carrot sticks also featured on the menu, but as I didn’t empty the container, they didn’t make it into the tally.
I know that’s a very strange lunch–it’s not typical, but it’s not absolutely unheard of. I’ve considered the stereotype of the bachelor who can’t be bothered, standing in the kitchen to eat, never setting the table. At our house, el Guapo is more likely to present a meal in an aesthetically pleasing way, to think of interesting garnishes, and to have everything just so. I’m more likely to have the three-container lunch while standing at the counter, thinking of something else. In my experience, there’s room in the fridge for both approaches.
*In a 1978 speech to the National Restaurant Association, Gerald Ford responded to Jimmy Carter’s attempt to limit the tax deductibility of a three-martini lunch with this rejoinder: “The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?”
†During my search for the little rice cube tool I found that there are all kinds of tools for molding rice. You can get a device to form your panda, plus a punch to use on your seaweed sheet to cut out the little shapes for the panda features. My mind feels boggled.