Issue 06: Iconic Lunches
Hacking the internet's favorite mid-day meals.
Lunch! Something that has become the centerpiece of my WFH day in the 18 months since COVID-19 first hit. I’ve become somewhat of an armchair expert on the subject, collecting quick, healthy recipes from some of the internet’s most beloved figures. I’m sharing my most tried-and-true today. The lunches below are mostly low-carb because anything too starchy makes me crash hard around 3:00. But that’s just my preference. By all means, throw in a tortilla or a hunk of crunchy bread if it suits.
Tinx has become TikTok’s de-facto big sister since the runaway virality of her “Rich Moms” series, and her popularity has spilled over to Instagram, where her stories act as a daily vlog of her life as an L.A.-based “accidental” influencer.
She often talks about what she eats in a day (a social media niche of its own) and outlines her favorite at-home lunch, one that I’ve adopted and can totally vouch for: Tinx’s turkey wraps. A slice of turkey thick enough to fold and hold ingredients, swiped with mustard, with spinach, and (this is the kicker) sliced pepperoncini peppers from the jar rolled up inside. If you don’t want to wrap everything up in the turkey slice itself, a tortilla of any kind would work as well. The key is really the pepperoncini, anyhow.
Speaking of L.A… well, you can’t really *speak of L.A. lunch* at all without mentioning Erewhon, the cartoonishly bougie health food grocer that makes Whole Foods look like a Winn Dixie by comparison. Shoppers like Jake Gyllenhall, Zoë Kravitz, all the clan Kardashian, and Hailey Bieber have made Erewhon synonymous with celebrity lunch culture.
The grocer’s most famous to-go lunch offering is (of course) their kale salad, which is made special by the addition of about three different kinds of seeds and canned white beans. I make this about once a week and can vouch for the fact that it travels well and keeps in the fridge ‘til lunch just fine if you prep it in the morning.
Before we move on from TikTok, did Tabitha Brown NOT GET US THROUGH QUARANTINE? Her delicious go-to (vegan) lunch includes tacos packed with comforting roasted veggies and lemon-pepper seasoning (Lawry’s only, duh).
There’s a mild cult following dedicated to Kylie Jenner’s sesame chicken salad. I’ve made it and it is delicious, but it takes a bit more prep than I’m willing to put in for the average workday lunch, so I reserve this one for days when I’m not in a rush. (Pretty sure this recipe is a riff on the Health Nut salads you always used to see the Kardashians eat.)
I take a morbid delight in the cultural subgenre dedicated to the elder, uber-wealthy, and in a mental galaxy of their own. It is an orbit dedicated to people both real and fictional, like Kathy Hilton, Moira Rose, Jennifer Coolidge, and Martha Stewart. If you follow me on Instagram, you may notice I am bordering major fandom with Martha Stewart in particular: she’s been there, done that, bought the t-shirt — and gives absolutely zero fucks about what you think, because she’s riiiiich, honey.
Martha will spend her days tending to her two hundred laying hens, taking inventory of the sixty-plus varieties of salt in her pantry, and tooling around her many acred estates in a Polaris — and then she will drunk-post on Instagram from a dinner party with Douglas Friedman, follow it with a thirst-trap (subsequently ignoring her DMs bc “busy”) and then go hang with her BFF Snoop. (THESE ARE ALL REAL THINGS.)
So what does Martha eat for lunch? I am so glad you asked. According to Harper’s Bazaar, while she begins her day with a green juice (strictly no kale, gives her gas, natch) and cappuccino from her $10,000 San Marco 2-cup machine, her mid-day meal is a humble tuna fish salad. Before I lose you, remember how I’m always talking about really good Italian tuna fish in olive oil? This is why you buy the good stuff — for simple preparations like tuna salad. I like Angelo Parodi, Tonnino, and editor-favorite Ortiz, which has become a little trendy for their Insta-friendly tin. (The trick is to bulk-buy it online for cost-effectiveness.) And you should really watch that video, it’s pretty much peak Martha. She says things like, “If you have some black truffles lying around.” Because of course, we all do.
While I’m sad to report it won’t give me her jawline, I like Ashley Graham’s Sweetgreen order: romaine, parm chips, avocado, chicken, carrots, and cucumber with spicy chipotle dressing.
Yolanda Hadid, mother of supermodels and lemon superfan, lunches on a curry chicken and arugula salad with brussels sprouts and a homemade honey dressing. An affection for curry seems to run in the family. What *is* curry, exactly? Glad you asked.
Ziwe, arguably the last and final word in all things iconic these days, makes Nigerian jollof rice with okra and fried chicken in bulk and eats off of it all week. Jollof rice, if you have never had it, is delightful — flavored with lots of tomato, onion, and spices. Here’s a great recipe.
I leave you with Cameron Diaz’s Instagram Reels, where I point you specifically to the Veggie Nori rolls, which, while high-maintenance, are awesome. (Here’s a very fun/educational Nori Reddit rabbit hole I went down recently).
'Til next week! By the way, you can always drop me a line via email by replying directly to this message. If you have a minute, would you mind forwarding this to one friend who you think might enjoy it? Those shares really help!