Real food really can be fast if you shop. And when I can, I like to skip the American lunch and escape campus just after three, so I can come home and have lunch at four, like a Mexican. This makes the dusty office day short, and the working evening lovely and long. And you can have coffee with cinnamon in it. But this does not work unless you have most of the food ready ahead of time. For example:
1. It is good to have a pot of black beans ready. These can be vegetarian. You must cook them in enough water. While they are cooking, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil and add these to the pot. Also, pulverize some of the beans once they have grown soft from cooking, and then throw them back into the pot. At the end, add red, yellow, and green peppers, cut lengthwise into elegant strips and sautéed in olive oil.
2. Things to have on hand include eggs from the egg lady, who keeps hens. You will have scallions from your scallion fields and chives from your chive pot. From the Mexican store, you need white cheese – the harder, aged kind – and crema.
Then you make a plate: an omelet with scallions and chives, the black beans with a square of cheese on them, and crema. You can have an avocado, too, but I want a really good one, and you could have tortillas too but I want thick Central American ones and I am not ambitious enough to make them.
I like this meal especially because it reminds me of slow Central American towns where it is the only meal, at once ascetic and opulent.