The Boyfriend thinks I should start a “Boring Lunch” section on the blog. Mostly, I think he wants me to have an outlet to talk about things like white beans and a soft-boiled egg other than his gchat box. Because I do, technically, tell him about my lunches. All the time.
In my defense, this is not a new trend. Talking about my food — and specifically, about my lunches — is just a part of who I am. I think I picked up the habit when I went to summer camp. We had a pretty standard morning schedule: breakfast, activities, lunch, rest period. Rest period was either for napping or writing letters to your parents, and everyone knew that the more letters you write to mom, the more care packages you get.
So, like every thinking tween, I wrote my parents. Every day. I had the added pressure of having to compete with my sister for care packages, and she got reallyyyyy homesick at camp and wrote my parents constantly to tell them how much she missed them. For real, though, sometimes they got 2 or 3 letters from her in a single day: “Hi Mom, it’s morning and I miss you a lot. I didn’t sleep at all because I cried all night. I love you.” “Hi Mom, it’s rest period and I didn’t cry all morning! But I’m tired, I miss you, I love you, I hope you’re safe.” “Hi Mom, it’s night time, I still miss you but I only cried once this afternoon! I love you. When are you going to write me back?” We used to joke that they sent her to letter-writing camp.
To compete with that adorable, crippling anxiety, I dutifully wrote my parents every day during rest period. The letters all followed the same format: “Hi Mom, Camp is [good/great/super fun/the best]. Today for lunch we had [chicken fingers/hamburgers/sandwich bar]. Love you, miss you, mean it, Leighto-greato” No tears, no details, no report of my activities. (What would there even be to report after Redneck Sports? We did the same thing every day: got a root beer and sunflower seeds from the Sugar Shack and carried inner tubes out to watch Field Sports practice. What? You thought I did real sports at camp? When they offered an official activity called Redneck Sports? #texas, y’all)
Twenty years later, I am giving my loved ones basically the same report. And this week, I’ve had white beans in a Parmesan broth with a soft-boiled egg. When I break open the egg, the runny yolk spills out and mixes with the perfect Parmesan broth for a totally decadent, silky spoonful of deliciousness. And the lunches were totally easy to make ahead and pack — I did the beans in a few hours on Sunday, and each morning it takes less than 10 minutes to soft-boil and peel an egg to throw in on top. I’ve had beans and an egg for lunch both days this week, and I’ve consistently had great afternoons. And told the Boyfriend about them. A lot. And he is getting sick of it. So what do you guys think about my first entry in the new Boring Lunch category?
Hi guys, Work is medium. Today for lunch I had beans and an egg. Love you, miss you, mean it, Leighto-Greato
- ¾ lb. dried white beans
- 1 parmesan rind (optional)
- 5 eggs
- ...seriously, that's it.
- Put the dried beans in a large pot with a lid (I used a 4 quart aluminum dutch oven, which I love). Fill the pot with enough water that the beans are covered and there are 2 or 3 inches between the surface of the water and the beans. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Let the water boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and put the lid on the beans. Let the beans rest with the lid on in the hot water for 2 hours. After 2 hours, the beans should be softened enough that you can bite into them (but they won't be done).
- If they ARE soft enough that you can bite into them: add a big pinch of salt and the parmesan rind. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of water over the beans. If there is less water than that, add a little more. Over high heat, bring the beans up to a boil. Once they are boiling, reduce the temperature down to very low -- so low that there is only an occasional bubble in the water. Like a very lazy boil, people. Taste the beans every 20 minutes or so, until they have the texture you want them to have.
- If they ARE NOT soft enough that you can bite into them: readjust the water until there are again two inches between the beans and the surface of the water. Do not add salt. Bring the water up to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to very low -- so low that there is only an occasional bubble in the water (sound familiar?). Once the beans are soft enough that you can bite into them, add the salt and parmesan rind. Then taste every 20 minutes or so, until the beans have the texture you want them to have.