This is a story I wrote about the different types of lunch – those you loathe and love, those you endure and those you relish. it’s partially a story about the corporate grind and part a story of my love of food and cooking.
The rumbling began dull and low, then spun back on itself to a gurgle, before finally resting after a final deep sound that must be what a full stop would sound like if it had a sound. Frank was determined not to look up from his laptop to acknowledge the unsettlingly loud noise that signalled to his entire pod in the open plan office that he had waited far too long to go for his lunch break. Some of his colleagues noticed it, but others were plugged into their headphones and probably wouldn’t have heard the fire alarm if it went off. One that did was Frank’s office confidant, Ashley, who came over to his desk and said, “spare us all your pleas of ignorance Frank and go get something to eat – it’s way past lunchtime and I know that email can wait.”
We were making a lot of bolognese for our twins since they started eating solids – east to make, has some veg in (and we lace it with courgettes and spinach so they get an extra dose of greens), and can be eaten with and without pasta. Before them it had been a long old time since I’d made a bolognese for myself. Even then, effort was minimal. Onions, beef, tomato – of course. A bit of garlic, herbs, tomato paste – naturally. That’s pretty much where it stopped though. I cooked it quick and was happy with whatever the result was, but I guess I stopped eating it as it wasn’t knock out flavour.
Now that’s all changed. I’m using nice plum tomato passata (or blitzing San Marzanos myself), freshly ground beef, adding bay leafs, Parmesan rind, balsamic, red wine, actually using a real soffrito combo. Not to mention cooking the thing on the lowest possible heat for hours. You get the picture – my finally taking my bolognese seriously.
I do a lot of variations, but here is the most recent I did.
I started making a marinara sauce which I was contemplating having with some spaghetti or fusilli, but then I spotted some chicken breast in the fridge stupidly tucked behind some yoghurts and, in the words of our favourite Futurama chef Elzar, I knocked it up a notch to make chicken Parm/Milanese.
To be perfectly honest I’m not sure if the two are American versus European terminology or fundamentally different dishes but the same elements are there so I’ll just call this my take on both.