My mornings feel like I’m playing blackjack. A few months back, I had a bit of a health scare (elevated blood sugar levels), and since finding good low-carb food in/around office is a challenge, after that I’ve been taking my own lunch box.
It’s a fairly elaborate lunch, which one colleague calls as “looking rather European”. It started with grilled paneer and grilled vegetables, but has now grown to a massive glass Ikea box with grilled paneer, boiled eggs, grilled vegetables (some pre-blanched / steamed before grilling), roasted and crushed nuts and (of late) kimchi.
And despite my cook occasionally helping me out with some mise-en-place, there are a lot of things to do every morning. Some of the processes involved are:
- keeping water for boiling, for eggs
- putting eggs carefully into the boiling water (without breaking), and setting a timer for 7 minutes. If I’m not wearing my Apple Watch, I need to also run around to find my phone
- Putting water in the steamer for steaming vegetables
- Putting the hard veggies (carrot, beans, broccoli) into the steamer and closing the pot.
- Taking out the veggies from the steamer before they are too soggy
- Slicing paneer
- Grilling paneer on the frying pan with salt and pepper and olive oil
- Grilling veggies on the frying pan with salt and pepper and olive oil (including the steamed veggies)
- Pre-heating the air fryer
- Adding almonds into the air fryer; shaking the fryer once in the middle, transferring almonds to the pestle and mortar
- Putting cashews into the air fryer
- Taking out cashews when they have just browned and putting into the pestle and mortar
- Putting eggs in cold water after seven minutes are up
- Peeling and slicing eggs, and seasoning with salt and pepper
- Crushing cashews and almonds and adding them to grilled vegetables
I don’t think I’ve ever timed myself. However, pretty much every morning I get into a frenzy trying to finish all of this, and then take my daughter to school on time. Maybe some days I take twenty minutes. Maybe I take thirty. I don’t even know. Life is such a blur.
As you can imagine, the above process can be heavily parallelised. And while my menu is standardised, the process is not. Which means I’m trying to both experiment and measure at the same time. While cooking four different processes at exactly the same time.
Sometimes, life feels like playing blackjack. You would have flipped the paneer over in the frying pan maybe for one last time. And then you think “I can peel this egg before the paneer is done”. Before you know it the paneer is black. You are not wearing your watch, so you go in search of the phone – to put the timer for the egg. In that time the veggies are burnt.
I don’t even know why I sometimes put myself through this. Maybe this is yet another tradeoff between physical and mental health. For now, physical seems to be winning.
Maybe a sustainable long term strategy is to forego lunch as well (nowadays I don’t eat breakfast unless I’ve gone to the gym in the morning), and transition to an “OMAD” (one meal a day) lifestyle. Or maybe I should find myself some nice lunch I can take to office which doesn’t involve so many parallel steps.
Until I figure something out, I’ll continue running in the mornings.