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Friday, January 23, 2015

I'll Be Over Here, Eating Over a Sink

We need to do something about lunch, people.

I sat in the Skyroom on the top floor of Macy’s the other day in a rare out-for-lunch moment with friends. We sat kittycorner from a mother and son. The woman appeared to be in her early 30s, the boy maybe 9, 10.

He was eating quite enthusiastically.

“Slow down,” his mother admonished, “no one's going to take it from you.”

He tried to slow down, taking a couple of careful bites, but moments later he was back at his previous pace. Quickly, efficiently, he smiled between bites at his mother as he made short work of his sandwich. She smiled at him, love in her eyes; and he covered his mouth as they laughed good-naturedly.

That kid was what we call “a good little eater”.

Watching the exchange made me smile, too; but it also got me thinking about the casual nature with which we treat our midday meal.

Let me ask you: Where did you go to school? Did they allow you to eat with utensils? If memory serves me correctly – and I think it does – I’m pretty sure we were forced to eat whilst in line, plastic-kerchiefed women plopping ice-cream scoops of mashed-potato-lime-gelatin-surprise into our outstretched hands.

As an aside, my father swore that, when he was young, lime Jello containing free-floating shredded carrot and celery, the whole thing topped with Miracle Whip – yes, Miracle Whip – was considered a dessert.

It changed how I looked at him.


And how was your lunch hour in your 20s? Did they pay you for that time? I continually managed to find jobs where you had to punch out for lunch.

Hmm. Would I like to clock-out to eat or would I like to have another seven dollars a day on my paycheck?

Even now, I have a hard time stepping away from my desk and often eat my lunch while setting up meetings and prank-calling my friends.

I hear, by the way, that lunch in Europe is different, that it is sometimes accompanied with wine and naps. I refuse to believe that, however, as it interferes with my ability to continue to work in the United States.

Anyway, that couldn’t possibly be true – could it?

And if it is, how do we institute that in Minnesota?

Let me know if you know who I should contact. I’m willing to get the ball rolling on this one.

22 comments:

Rosemary Nickerson said...

Wine at lunch makes me feel guilty about the calories I should be saving for wine with supper. There is a down side to long lunches and siestas....supper starts after 9pm and no goes to bed before well-after-midnight. I couldn't cope and would get nothing done all day.

Delores said...

Give me too long for lunch and I may never come back....it's true....it'
s happened.

vanilla said...

School cafeteria, Spanish rice day I would cough up the thirty-five cents for lunch. They did not plop it into our hands, and there were utensils.

esbboston said...

I eat my piZZa over the kitchen sink.

esbboston said...

The Jello con Miracle Whip made me a lil bit sicK inside.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
ARrggghhhhh you just HAD to bring up school lunches.... well I did. Often. They eventually allowed mother to provide a sandwich packed lunch to save on floor cleaning costs.

Paid lunch breaks? Nah. Though once did work for a company who provided lunches for their workers; good ploy. No one left the premises and when the boss left for his desk the rest of us did too. It also ensured we all LEFT our desks for at least half an hour. Danish company with a Norwegian boss. So perhaps the Scandinavian model is more what you seek??? YAM xx

joeh said...

I remember jello with shredded carrots.
I don't believe I ever ate it.

I believe our cafeteria ladies ice cream scooped our food onto plates and we did have utensils to eat it with. 3 minute lunch, ate fast as kickball awaited in the playground.

Joanne Noragon said...

Talk to us older farts, we remember those carbo loaded school lunches we adored. On thick white china plates with real silver we collected at the beginning of the line. Later, when I was in college, I worked food service and ran a big ole dishwasher that made those fat white plates sparkle. We also were taught to lift squares of that jello from the large pan with our bare hands and flop them on a piece of lettuce on the little version of the fat white plates. Very efficient.

jenny_o said...

I didn't get the gene for quick eating. In grade school I never got to play outside because it took so long to finish my lunch. I never got the gene for eating with my fingers either - greasy fingertips - ack!

So I'm behind you all the way, Pearl! I think we should lead by example. Let's both take our good china and silverware, plus a pillow and a light blankie, to work starting on Monday. After lunch, we'll just plonk ourselves on the desk and have a quick nap. No one will mind. I'm sure of it.

sage said...

I am eating a very late lunch at my desk, but this if okay, because I am taking time to visit friends and comment on their blog posts! Sometimes I eat lunch out, but it is generally a business meeting. The Europeans do many things right. Now, I have a couch in my office, should I take a nap?

Catalyst/Taylor said...

In fact, the Spanish peoples do eat lengthy lunches accompanied by wine after which they go home (or to a young lady's home) where they have a "siesta" (unless it's at the young lady's home.) Then they return about 4, work until 8, eat their evening meal around 9 p.m. or later and then go to nightclubs until the very early hours.

For transferring this to Minnesota I would suggest you try to find someone in Spain named Juan Carlos. He should be able to handle it.

Elephant's Child said...

When I watch small fry strenously resisting nap time I think to myself 'Some day you would kill for that nap'. Bliss.
Jello? Shudder. Dessert. And not a popular one at that.

Sioux said...

Oui. It IS true. I think it's an hour and half or two hour break for lunch. And wine? But of course….

injaynesworld said...

I totally remember that Jello. :)

Rory Grant said...

I'm with Delores on this one. Gimme a liquid lunch and I won't return. I recall going for one such lunch in 1990 - they are still waiting for me to return.

River said...

It's true that in some parts of Europe lunch is accompanied by wine and a siesta, Spain for instance and I believe parts or all of Mexico too, you could always move there.
School in Australia doesn't have cafeterias until you get to Uni level. Primary and high schools, everybody ate outside wherever they could find a seat, most kids brought sandwiches from home, a few ordered their lunch from the "tuckshop".
At work, well I always worked in factories, we didn't have to punch out for lunch, but everyone stopped work when the whistle blew and started again at the second whistle, no one got paid for lunch.

Linda O'Connell said...

Lime Jell-O, Ha! The only thing I used it for (as a summer camp director) was tossing it on the gym mats (outdoors)and letting the students use it as a slip and slide. True! Nobody would eat it, ever, so why not put it to good use?

Launna said...

Haha Pearl... unfortunately I sit and eat my lunch at my desk whilst continuing to work... what is the lunch thing they do in Europe.. I want that implemented in Nova Scotia too... :)

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Wine with lunch is only something we do at special occasions like birthdays and Christmas Day

Jono said...

Jell-o and Miracle Whip. Isn't that a Lutheran staple? If we decided to have meals the way they do in Europe, we may not have time to attack countries.

Daisy said...

My mom used to make lemon jello with shredded carrots and pineapple in it. I ate it back then, but I have no idea why. :D

ThreeOldKeys said...

For years a dear lady relative made fancy jello rings, and filled the center with miracle whip. She did learn to serve it "on the side" so that when no one touched it, she could put it back in the fridge.

The elementary school dessert I remember hating was a square of dry cornbread with a little syrup drizzled on it.

Glad to see you're still Good and Funny, Ms. Pearl.