One of the BIG joys of my job has been becoming friends with Caroline, one of the nail technicians at the salon. She is absolutely hilarious and fun to be around. We started a tradition over a year ago that we look forward to every week: Lunch.

Not just “LUNCH”, mind you…we take turns making lunch for each other. I enjoy cooking very much, but I happen to enjoy when my food is prepared for me even more sometimes! The Co-op Lunch (is that a real term, or did I just make it up? I like it.) is a great way to avoid the “Blah, THIS again?” type of internal dialogue when you always make your own lunch, and it can also save a load of moolah.

This is actually not the first time I’ve enjoyed the tradition of Co-op Lunching. One of my oldest friends and I, when we were both newly married to our Navy guys, lived in the same neighborhood and carpooled to Old Dominion University. One of us (I’ll give her the credit) came up with the brilliant idea to Co-op Lunch, so we could each get a break. Although I remember a lot of PB&J sandwiches and popcorn, not alot stands out for me about those lunches except that we just had fun being together.

Those were the days too when, in our early 20’s, we would have sleepovers when the guys were out to sea and end up getting giddy at 2 a.m. and ballet dancing around the living room. I’ll save that story for another day but I do want to say that now, in our…ahem…late-30’s to early 40’s, ballet dancing in the living room is still something we would totally do together, because she’s that kind of friend.

Anyway, back to Co-op Lunches with Caroline. When we started, it was mostly just plain old salads with a granola bar and a piece of fruit or something. As time went on, we moved into Greek Salads. (Yum) It became a tradition for the one who was not making lunch that week to ask, “Where are we going for lunch today, Greece?”

Soon we were “going” all over the place: Italy, New York, New Orleans, California, Mexico, you name it. We have had some real fun with our lunch menus. One of the funny things to us is that we’ve offered others a place in our lunch rotation, but nobody else there wants the responsibility, so it remains an intimate lunch for two. We get comments/complaints on how the hard-boiled eggs or the red onions smell too strong in the salon, or questions about why we went to so much trouble, and we just laugh and keep eating. In fact, we really enjoy being extra fancy, to get on everyone’s nerves. While everyone is either warming up a microwaved meal or picking up the $15 lunch from down the street, we are eating on the finest salon “china” plates. Once I even brought the ingredients for BLTs, as well as my toaster so we could have freshly toasted bread for the sandwiches.

Here are a couple of examples for you:

Here’s the set-up on the “china”. Usually, especially if Caroline brought lunch, there will be loud explanations of what is going on the plates.

This was the day she made stuffed chicken breasts and sweet potatoes. Yummy!

Salmon and homemade cole slaw, anyone? (These two photos were taken with my cell phone, which is why they are so small!)

My specialty: California Cobb Salad!

If you can find someone at work to Co-op Lunch with, I highly recommend it. Caroline and I only do it once each week (we’d do it more often but only work together once each week!), but it’s a highpoint! Any questions about logistics? Ask me! LOL