The Covered Dish Luncheon

Ever so often we had a covered-dish luncheon at the office to break the monotony of endless work. Sometimes they were themed, although usually not. One of the themed ones was the famous chili cook-off that I forgot about until the last minute. I bought canned chili at Walmart and warmed it in a crockpot after I got to work. No one knew it was not homemade. My canned chili won the cook-off, but figured I’d better not say anything. They still don’t know. Don’t tell anyone.

This time our theme was “Eat Healthy.” I couldn’t think of anything healthy to bring, which shows what kind of food I eat. Finally, I decided that pimento cheese sandwiches on wheat bread would work. I used to make them for a ladies luncheon using three pieces of bread and then cutting each sandwich into four triangular pieces. I probably should have stuck to chili.

I forgot how much trouble it is to make a bunch of sandwiches. I had to get up an hour early to spread cheese on bread while trying to keep my eyes open. An hour early is pretty early since I normally got up at 5 o’clock. Anyhow, I finally got all the stupid sandwiches made. Remind me to never sign up for sandwiches again.

You might know that it would be pouring down rain when I had a big tray of food to carry. Try and balance food and a heavy umbrella without dropping something or getting wet. I asked Morris to drop me off near the door so I didn’t have to walk the entire 10 miles from the garage. Actually, the garage is only across the street, but it might as well be 10 miles when you are carrying 20 pounds of stuff and trying to wade across a busy street in pouring rain.

I guess it could have been worse though. For instance, yesterday morning we were out of cat food and the cats were screaming, the gas tank was empty, and I was getting low tire pressure warnings because there was a nail in my tire. When I finally got to work — late because of having to buy gas — I realized I had forgotten the pass for the parking garage. So, I had to pay $10 to park.

As I said, it could have been worse. At least I didn’t have to bring food yesterday.

Of course, we had so much food at lunch that it didn’t matter whether I brought anything at all or not. Only about half the sandwiches were eaten. I was not about to haul the leftovers back home. I decided to leave them in the office fridge for Monday. By then people would be hungry again and there would not be so much other food to compete with.

I guess it was worth the hassle. We decorated the conference room with all the luau decorations that I had bought at the dollar store to use on the bulletin board. It was festive. We had some leis left over from something else and passed those out. As one girl said, the only thing missing was a Pina Colada. Well, no one did the hula either, but as old and fat as most of us are, that is probably a good thing.

The food was… well… healthy. I hope we don’t do healthy again. I think everyone was ready for another unhealthy luncheon. Next time I will volunteer to bring apple cider or something easy that doesn’t require getting up at 4 o’clock to fix. I was afraid to try the canned chili thing again. That was a one-time thing done in desperation.

There was only one problem with healthy food, besides the presence of vitamins and absence of flavor. It is like Chinese food. Ten minutes later and we were all hungry again. 

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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13 Responses to The Covered Dish Luncheon

  1. Lois Hunter says:

    I love Nalley’s Chili, with a slice of buttered bread. Other than that, my husband makes a great chili and slips in whole hominy. Most people up here in Canada have no idea what it is, but love the chewiness.


  2. Sharon Dillon says:

    So relatable. I remember those days. Don’t take apple cider. Each gallon weighs 8 lb.


  3. Sarah Davis says:

    Pimento Cheese is a childhood comfort food. Now that it is summer I allow myself one sandwich a week.


  4. Alien Resort says:

    I always volunteered to bring cups and forks. Much easier.


  5. Canned chili won instead of homemade? I guess now you know the types of, stuff.. people are eating.


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