For the last two months, I’ve become a member of a lunch club at work. Once a week, five of us get together to eat lunch, taking it in turns to bring in a home-cooked meal. It started as an opportunity to catch up over a meal – rather than eating solo hunched over your desk – and also as a way to save money: it’s usually far cheaper to cook for five people once every five weeks than to buy myself a meal once a week at some of the cafes near my office.
But the benefits have been far greater than I anticipated.
Having other people cook for you introduces you to new dishes, flavours and ingredients, and has helped me on my push me to try other recipes. (Regular readers will know that since January, I’ve been challenging myself to get out of my boring old food rut by trying two new dishes each week. Flicking through recipe books to find dishes to make for lunch club has played an important part in this.) For example, the first week that I was a member, we ate fennel, cherry tomatoes and crumble gratin from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.