Why We Eat Lunch Together as Co-Workers, Every Day
You are what you eat—but what about how you eat? Take the weekday American lunch. In a culture that glorifies busy-ness, the simple pleasure of sitting down for a meal, whether alone or with a friend or colleague, has taken a back seat. Eating at your desk is no longer an unpleasant phenomenon—for many professionals, it has become a habit. In fact, for many, taking time out for lunch indicates inefficiency and laziness. The lunch break has been redefined as an inconvenience.
However, here at Slideluck—a community building slideshow and potluck dinner that takes place globally—lunch lives on. Every day, whether at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m., we all gather at the kitchen table to sit down for a proper, home-cooked meal seasoned with pleasant company and good conversation. The best thing about it? We all come away from it feeling happier, rejuvenated, and inspired—not to mention full.
As Aldous Huxley said, “A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.” Simply put, there is something about coming together and breaking the metaphorical bread, which has value beyond unabated productivity. If anything, it enhances it.
Food is universally recognized as a source of community and goodwill—whether through potlucks, canning parties, Amish friendship bread, or food blogs, food brings people together in a variety of ways. Lunch—real, proper, leisurely lunch—gives us time to sit face to face and see each other as people, not just as coworkers. Everyone has their place at Slideluck Lunchshow, whether they’re cooking, washing the dishes, setting the table, or just appreciating the food. Conversation flows freely—as do ideas. Not only does the relaxed environment of a good meal actually allow people to work more effectively on problems, it also provides a much-needed break that increases efficiency when they do get back to work.
We all need to eat. Humans, parrots, koalas, fish—we all consume something at least once a day for the nutrients we need to survive. But one thing that truly distinguishes man from beast is how he has taken that simple need for nutrients and made it into something amazing—a ritual that brings us together.
This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Learn to Cook a Dish With a Story. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.
All images courtesy of Slideluck