Regular readers will know that I do not like to miss a meal, but the work I do for a living often presents me with variable hours, irregular breaks and meal times that are movable feasts. Also, I sometimes have long periods of enforced idleness in locations where I might or might not be able to leave in order to seek sustenance.
Consequently, I favour both a strategic and tactical feeding strategy, although I prefer not to take it anally. Those of you in the United States military or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) might be unaware of my own definition of strategic and tactical. They are not the same as yours.
I can’t speak for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) or MI6, but as a rule we British don’t euphemise as much as the Americans. We prefer understatement and sarcasm in a knowing and witheringly ironic fashion. Voila.
My own “core interests” mostly comprise of getting enough sleep and not going more than four hours without eating. And when I say eating, I don’t mean snacking on chocolate and crisps.
This is the strategic bit.
As I am a diurnal mammal, and my working day was due to start at 3pm and probably finishing no less than 12 hours later, I decided on a substantial lunch at 13.30 with a packed meal to last me for the rest of an unnatural working day.
This is a “Mini-Fish Special” from my local chip shop, and I must say, there is nothing miniature about it. The only thing that makes it “mini” is by comparing with the whale, chips and peas that is deemed a full-sized portion.
Although I knew the event I was about to work on was a Christmas dinner and awards ceremony, there was no guarantee that us workers would get fed on the job. My employer for this particular event is notorious for not feeding his staff and also not communicating all of the details about when the working day will finish. As a result, I had to insert myself into the event zone with incomplete intel.
Torture is not a method I would normally employ in the workplace, and for good reason. According to the recently published report on the CIA by the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), it turns out “tactical questioning” and “enhanced interrogation” are unreliable methods for gaining intelligence. Another priority for me is to attract repeat business from the source, a situation that would not normally be a priority for the spooks of the CIA. So, as a jobbing professional, torture is always a last resort.
As a result, it was important for me to take whatever precautions to safeguard my food-security without resorting to any “extraordinary” methods. However, What you see here is a variation on my favoured packed lunch for such a situation.
This is the tactical bit.
Whereas I generally favour a multi-layered, deli-style sandwich including meat and/or cheese, salad, pickles and relish, such a sandwich does not survive well once battle-stressed by sitting, unrefrigerated, for 10-12 hours. What you see here is a plain cheese sandwich with sweet pickle on a sliced, seeded batch loaf, accompanied by McCoy’s crisps and undressed carrot and celery sticks. This can be picked at over a long period without getting too sad. Also, it can easily be rescued the following day by toasting any leftover sandwiches and dressing the salad.
All that said, we did get fed with some leftover main courses (no starter and no dessert), but the portion was meagre (see above) and we didn’t get it until 8pm.
Just as well I had my strategic fish and chips earlier in the day, and my tactical butty box to supplement it at 2am.