For a bevy of boring logistical reasons with which I promise not to bore you here, my at-work lunches have to be portable and non-perishable. I may indulge in foie gras and buttercream tortes come suppertime, but, at noon, I eat like a Navy SEAL.
In anticipation of all that fat consumption, I also prefer packaged meals that are relatively nutritious, which is why I have a file cabinet drawer stuffed with microwaveable cups of split pea soup; tins of sardines and a stack of Healthy Choice noodles. I used to devote a fair amount of cabinet footage to tuna fish, but reporting on the evils of industrial canned tuna persuaded me to drop the offending dish from my repertoire.
Ditching tuna means there's now more room in my drawer for my new favorite processed lunch: Wild salmon and vegetables from St. Dalfour.
The French company better known for its fruit spreads began issuing its "Gourmet on the Go" tins a few years ago, but I first encountered them this month at the Kress IGA on Third Avenue. A few of the tins on the shelf were suspiciously dinged, but their expiration dates were a reassuring three years in the future. Varieties included pasta and vegetables; three beans with sweet corn and wild salmon with vegetables.
If I hadn't liked the salmon so much, I might have used the $3 tin as a pretty paperweight: It's decorated with a midnight-blue pattern that could have been styled after a country manse's wallpaper. In addition to the tin, the cardboard sleeve contains an itty-bitty spork and the littlest salt and pepper packets. According to online comments, the package used to include a serving of honey - and possibly still does when sold in Australia - but now just bears a label suggesting eaters "enjoy with St. Dalfour pineapple and mango fruit conserve."
You can skip the jam. The Alaskan salmon and vegetables - all 210 calories of them - taste fresh and hearty without any add-ons. There are potatoes and carrots and fat white beans, and the whole mess is marinated in sunflower oil and seasoned with dill. The ingredients include "natural xanthan and guar gums," but there's nothing else on the list that isn't found at an ordinary farmers market.
According to online raves from happy customers, St. Dalfour's ready-to-eat meals are welcome companions on white water rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. But they're also stashed in less exotic surroundings, including purses, glove compartments, book bags and - in this office - file cabinets.