E has a workplace rule that he never eats leftovers and never eats lunch at his desk. He always takes the time to have a sit down meal for lunch, even when he works from home. “It breaks up the day and makes me happier,” he says. While E might be the only person in New York who still has time for the three martini lunch, I am so busy at my job that I often grab a salad or Pret a Manger sandwich at my desk and eat over my computer keyboard.
We had leftover olive tapenade from the night before that we paired with halibut and roasted tomatoes for dinner. The next morning, I made a pita sandwich with it, along with mozzarella and arugula. I actually planned it out for my own lunch, expecting E to turn up his nose at the packaged up pita sandwich in favor of sushi or a gourmet sandwich at some trendy restaurant near his office.
As he rushed around looking for his keys, wallet and iPad, I stood at the door with the pita sandwich perfectly packed in a plastic bag. “Would you like lunch?” I asked. “Well, if you made it, I’ll take it,” he said. Surprised, I handed it to him like my mother used to hand me my lunch before I jetted off to school.
Since I gave E my lunch, I grabbed a sandwich in the park with a friend around midday. I felt more relaxed when I got back to the office, and could focus better on tasks after the hour long break. In an odd twist, E ate my sandwich at his desk during a busy and frustrating day at work. “It was not a good day,” he said, “but the sandwich was good.”
1 handful arugula
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons olive tapenade
3-4 slices mozzarella
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Cut pita in half. Spread olive tapenade on inside of pita. Layer on mozzarella slices inside pita. Dress greens in a light drizzle of olive oil, then stuff into pita. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Serve. Makes on whole pita sandwich.