Why our little Lockdown Lunch Club is still going strong

The pandemic has changed all our lives profoundly, sometimes, sadly, with devastating effect, but sometimes, perhaps, even for the better. We have all had to have find ways to adapt and to cope. One of my strategies is my lockdown lunch club that Grace and I enjoy every Sunday…

Obviously lockdown has been one of the most difficult and testing times for many people. Although, maybe, there are some who might even have heaved a sigh of relief to be able to actually pause, think and reassess their busy lives. I’m old enough to remember the Anthony Newley song “Stop the World I want to get off” And, yes, I think that could be me!

Having said that, living alone during lockdown, even with my little dachshund (my constant companion), I found it hard. Also for Grace, newly divorced, dealing with one huge lifestyle change was difficult enough, but with Covid as well, life was certainly challenging.  

During the first lockdown we formed a bubble, and it was then that we had the idea of taking it in turns to make Sunday lunch. 18 months later our little lockdown lunch club is still going strong and it is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Being suddenly alone, I think you lose confidence in yourself generally, and certainly in your cooking. I know I did after the death of my darling husband and I know Grace felt the same after her breakup.

Gone are the days of family cooking, dinner parties, cooking for the masses!  Grace and I both love to cook and still, pretty much, cook from scratch for ourselves. Of course, this is helped by the fact that we both love food!

We have found that our Sunday lunches help to form a structure to our week and are a focal point for our weekends. We try out new recipes on each other – currently from our two new favourite cookbooks, Le Rouzet and Jane Lovett’s Just One Pan. We also have the pleasure of cooking for someone else and (hopefully!) seeing their enjoyment of eating the food we have prepared… a very basic human instinct. So we can plan what we’re going to cook and experiment with new dishes that we would never bother doing on our own. We frequently cook enough for four and share the leftovers for our lunches the following day.

We have started a new tradition of having a half bottle of champagne to start things off on the right note. This is enough for two considering one of us always has to drive home. We set the table with flowers and generally try and make an effort for each other.

The other ‘rule’ is that whoever cooks provides everything – the booze, canapes, lunch, pud and coffee. This means that the ‘visitor’ just pitches up empty handed ie no bottle of wine, flowers or other gift -and gets spoiled rotten, swanning off back home afterwards feeling sated and without having to lift a finger!

Why our little Lockdown Lunch Club is still going strong   Cheers to a great idea!
Cheers to a great idea!

We  also have time to relax and chat about things which may be bothering us, as well as generally putting the world to rights. More importantly, to listen to each other which, on our evening WhatsApp calls, doesn’t always work very well as we’re probably both talking at the same time and clattering pans (mainly Grace!) while preparing our individual suppers!

I hope that our little idea might inspire you to organise something along the same lines if you live alone. We’d also love to hear from you if you have started anything similar during or after lockdown. All ideas welcomed!

This is the first in a series of articles that celebrate singledom. It can be a very fulfilling way of life. You may also like our new article from Age Space which features some top tips for solo travellers.

6 Comments

  1. What a lovely idea! I think I might suggest it to my husband, so that one night a week HE does the thinking, (I have a wonderful card I’ve saved of a harried mother with a panic stricken face, sitting in the Mastermind chair being asked ‘What are you going to give the kids for tea tonight?’) and the shopping, the cooking and sets the table etc. You’re right, things do taste better when someone else has cooked them! I would be happy to do the clearing up – even though he does typically use every pan in the kitchen!!.

  2. One Word: BRILLIANT
    What a heartwarming and inspiring – ‘feel good’ idea – and very much appreciated, I am sure, by many. I think that we must all be feeling thoroughly battered by this ongoing struggle with the covid situ (I refuse to give the evil virus a capital letter). The length of time now that everybody has been suffering in one way or another can have really horrendous after effects.
    But to get together with another like minded spirit, or even three, once a week to have a lovely meal, to look forward to, cooked by each member in turn is a truly lovely idea. Uplifting to say the very least and just what we need! As I have said BRILLIANT!
    With very best wishes to everybody
    Ginny Vere Nicoll

  3. Fantastic idea and something I will take up with a former work colleague when she retires next year.

  4. What a lovely idea. My friendships have drifted a bit since lockdown, my fault as much as my friends. There has been the occasional meeting for cups of tea in the garden. time to make more effort I think.

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