If you had asked me long ago what was my favorite meal of the day, I probably wouldn’t have said it was lunch. I would have said breakfast, mostly because I’m a sucker for eggs. But if you ask me now, chances are I’ll answer a resounding "lunch!" And it has nothing to do with what’s being served.

I took lunch for granted as a child. It was that part of the middle of my day when, during the school year, I got to learn cuss words and stuff a salami sandwich down my throat. During the summer, lunch was the dreaded time when we all had to go inside to eat, therefore missing out on precious minutes of tag.

In college, lunch was typically spent trying not to drip soup on the book I was reading or the lab report I was writing. It was fast, it was furious, and it had to not give me smelly breath for whatever came next.

When our children were little, lunch was simply the larger-sized snack that I had to prepare for their picky mouths every day. I had to chop things into small pieces, stress about sneaking in vegetables, and then clean them all up off the floor at 12:25 p.m. This is not much different from packing school lunches, when I also attempt to sneak in healthy things, and then throw away carrot stubs from the bottom of their lunch boxes at 4 p.m.

But then there are days when lunch reminds me of how great it truly is. Sure, there are still plenty of hurried, fast work lunches in my life, but now and then I celebrate this midday refueling and see it for all its goodness.

Lunch is a break. It really is! A split from the morning work to trying to cram everything into the afternoon.

Lunch is cheap. They don’t call them "specials" for nothing!

Lunch is quick. With a certain amount of time available, we squeeze it all in, and in an hour or less, depending on traffic.

Lunch is best served with a friend. Not many things can beat a quick, cheap bite to eat while looking across the table at someone you really care about. In those short minutes, you pack in updates, stories, dreams, sorrows. You share salsa and smiles, bread and breaths that carry you onto whatever your afternoon or tomorrow may bring — the good or the bad. And if your friend is truly real, she’ll even tell you if you’ve got lettuce stuck in your teeth.

A good lunch like that doesn’t happen often, but when it does, take time to let it digest. It’s worth it, even if it’s carrot stubs.