Not Sad Desk Lunch

The Case for a Semi-Homemade Lunch 

September 22, 2015

Sandra Lee gave semi-homemade a bad rap. We take it back. 

Every Monday I think about all of the pots of grains and rice and beans I should have made, like a good little cook, the Sunday before. Sometimes—no matter how good our intentions—our inner Tamar Adler refuses to show her face. 

And so: Do as I do, and as our director of PR and events, Haley, does, and pick up the rice already cooked

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She turned her already-cooked rice into an impromptu stir-fry with leftover vegetables and shrimp yesterday, and I routinely pile avocado and cucumbers atop mine, then drizzle on soy, sesame oil, and Sriracha. We do not think of Sandra Lee as we assemble our semi-homemade lunches; we think only of happiness and rainbows and a productive day ahead. 

Photo by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rebecca
  • Lynsey
  • JC
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
  • AntoniaJames
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Rebecca September 23, 2015
I do the same thing with pasta, which is absolutely great also the day after... I usually add grilled vegetables, as in this recipe by Barilla Restaurants:
Lynsey September 22, 2015
Silly question - maybe? Where does one get already cooked rice?
Kenzi W. September 22, 2015
Not at all! I usually order a side of rice from any takeout place.
AntoniaJames September 23, 2015
I've been doing this (getting rice from my local Chinese restaurant) for years, and talking about it on the Hotline whenever I get a chance. Their brown rice - that short, chewy, super flavorful variety - has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. It's really handy to use for Julie Sahni's Broccoli Cashew Brown Rice pilaf - not a true pilaf, but it's an amazing, flavorful and super-nutritious 20-minute vegan meal (or not, if you use ghee) that's been a family favorite since it was first published, 25+ years ago..
JC September 22, 2015
My mother used to always make fried rice for us using leftovers from Sunday night for school on Monday. Great to see my grade school lunch is magical for others.