Corner­shop lunches

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - Caro­line Craig and So­phie Miss­ing are au­thors of The Lit­tle Book of Lunch (Square Peg) By So­phie Miss­ing and Caro­line Craig

De­vot­ing time to pre­par­ing a packed lunch five days in a row can be a stretch. But it’s OK – no one is mark­ing you out of 10, least of all us. There are days when we just don’t get around to plan­ning our lunches in ad­vance, and when 1pm chimes, the call of the cor­nish pasty is strong. We would be ly­ing if we didn’t ad­mit that some­times our lunch con­sists of said pasty and a Fanta. (Shock, hor­ror!)

But there is a mid­dle ground. If you’ve ar­rived at work empty-handed and there is no of­fice can­teen or sand­wich chain to fall back on, help is at hand in the form of the ur­ban con­ve­nience store packed lunch. But, bar­ring Mon­ster Munch and booze, what can we con­coct in des­per­ate times from our lo­cal store? The an­swer is, a sur­pris­ing amount. Just make sure you have ac­cess to a can opener and a mi­crowave …

• Canned fish is a fail­safe op­tion. A tuna salad of jarred green olives, an ice­berg let­tuce, with an olive oil, mus­tard and red wine vine­gar dress­ing, works a treat. Keep the bot­tles in your desk drawer for fu­ture use (and kid ev­ery­one that chink­ing sound ev­ery time you close it is your stash of brandy). Toasted gra­nary bread is a fine ac­com­pa­ni­ment.

• Mash sar­dines or smoked mack­erel with a dol­lop of creme fraiche or yo­ghurt, a squeeze of lemon and a grind of black pep­per, and have it on crack­ers.

• One of our favourites is the clas­sic sa­chet noodles, but with added bling. Pour boil­ing wa­ter into the noodles then add a sprin­kle of chilli sauce and any fresh veg you can get your hands on: a sliced spring onion, some pars­ley or co­rian­der, chopped pep­per, or even ice­berg let­tuce.

• A tin of tomato soup is hard to beat, par­tic­u­larly when paired with a ched­dar and pickle sand­wich. Homely, de­li­cious and of­ten un­fairly disregarded in favour of “fresh” soups.

• If all else fails, a ready-salted crisp and hum­mus sand­wich will hit the beige spot.

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