Coronamoaner: Lockdown Lunching

I was talking the night before I started writing this post to a friend, and discussing 2020 and how crap it has been. I could easily conclude so, but I’m a contrarian fucker at times and I argued instead that 2020 has been good for me in some ways – life being cancelled and working from home permanently has meant that I can cook more often, and eat much healthier food. Which is what this post is about.

One of the most immediate changes was how I started the day. I had got into a pattern of being fucked off after 45 minutes stood up on delayed tube trains that I would buy a bacon sandwich to start work. And then I’d feel tired so I’d buy a chocolate bar or cake, washed down with a Red Bull.

That’s gone. I wake up, go for a walk, have a shower and start work. Breakfast is a small portion of nuts, followed by some fruit.

The random midweek after-work beers have gone – which is easily another 1,000 calories a week saved. As has the almost-daily cake and chocolate consumption.

Also what would happen occasionally, maybe once every two weeks on average, would be that I’d be so tired by the end of the day that I couldn’t face cooking properly – so would buy comfort food from M&S, things like pies, etc. That doesn’t happen any more – I plan my meals during the week and always have the energy to make them. Plus I’d have to wear a mask and go into a shop if I wanted comfort food…fuck that.


The next major change has been my lunches. I was always fairly good at work with lunches, and noted for it – someone in the office once told me that he called me the “fruit and salad guy”. Normally I brought salad in, or pre-cooked roasted vegetables. Though quite often I’d have cake afterwards – and I don’t now.

Lunches remain mostly vegetarian, and sometimes I do just chop up some roast vegetables with some spices, and bung it in the oven. Other times though I make more effort and cook properly – as I actually have the time now.

Red cabbage is such a ballache – this was with apples

What I make for lunch tends to depend on what comes in my Oddbox vegetable box…


Years ago I had a vegetable box from Able & Cole, but was never convinced about the hefty price – and I don’t care if my veg is organic or not.

I’d heard about Oddbox, in fact, I’d invested in it a couple of years before – they basically take surplus fruit and vegetables that farmers cannot sell to supermarkets/restaurants for whatever reason – sometimes oddly shaped, but more often out of season, and in 2020 because restaurants have been on lockdown and food grown for restaurants has struggled to get a market.

Of course, they didn’t deliver to Harrow. Until around April this year when they finally expanded after me repeatedly nagging them. They even deliver to Reading now. Ooh and here is a link for you to get £10 off.

Mostly I get a really good selection of fruit and vegetables. Occasionally it is a bit meh, this week’s was a lot of salad ingredients which I wasn’t massively keen on for the first week of December – but that is what Oddbox is about. I got sprouts in October, peaches in December, asparagus in April – and apples every sodding week. Mostly it is really good quality too – and tends to last longer than what I buy from Sainsburys.

Not to mention weird things like kiwiberries and green squashes.

And this means that I have a challenge every week of how to use them up without wasting them. I often find myself looking for new recipes for cabbage or aubergine for example – and mostly this keeps my lunches interesting. And healthy!


Yes, I bought a vegetarian cookbook.

Now don’t get too excited, sometimes I have a side-dish of sausage and I ain’t talking Quorn.

However, more often than not, I do eat just the vegetarian dish on it’s own – it tends to be an early in the week thing when I’m more focused on being healthy – as much as I love steak and sausage, I feel better in myself when I’m eating vegetables or fish dishes. Weekends are still for meat, as are Thursdays and Fridays – it would take a super sexy Spanish vegetarian wife for me to even consider a vegetarian Sunday roast. At least on a Sunday.

It’s a really good cookbook – I started following Sabrina Ghayour because she posted some pretty pornographic meat dishes on Twitter, so I will get her more general cookbooks at some point (maybe for Christmas?!) – not all the dishes I’ve made I have enjoyed, but most I have, such as these butternut squash and feta rolls.

All this healthy eating means that I am now under 100kg for the first time in 2 years – 98.2kg to be exact. At my peak I was averaging 106.2kg – and was even a shocking 108kg on New Year’s Day.

Even if this year has been limited on the enjoyment side, I have made improvements to James – which are enjoyable achievements.

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