a glance back at lunch


in seven days (or rather, five business days... but who's counting?) i will be joining the ranks of the great unemployed for all of a week and a half before i return full-time student-dom. 

as unnerving as the thought of returning to school is to me, leaving a job i've been more or less comfortable at for four+ years is a little more unsettling. 


sure, there have been a lot of thoughts about the change going on in my head. 

no more daily runs to the bank... lovely. 

classes six to nine p.m. and that's it? really? my schedule will be my own? oh. my.

grad school offers real health insurance? ohmygoodnessthankgodihadn'treallythoughtthatonethrough. 


and then there's lunch.

to be clear, i am beyond excited to have my lunches to myself.

in my own kitchen. 

with fresh, homemade food.

and possibly while standing on one leg like a stork while i ridiculous books about the history of salt and what aborigine hipsters eat. 


lunch in my office over the years has been... well, it's had it's ups and downs.

we've done crazy birthday parties, making smoothies and pancakes at our small little conference table. 

a couple years ago, back when the cactus garden was a very new thing for all of us, i've coerced co-workers into two different faux-ethnographic lunch studies because i was bored and missed my anthropology classes.


because we're sharing and glancing back, here are photos from the first "study," pictures of our (there were four of us) solo lunches for a week.

the write-up discussing these photos is here.


and here are pictures from the second "study," photos of lunches we created as a group (also created over the course of a week and including a pre-thanksgiving lunch).

and here is the write-up for the second part.

p.s. yes, these are totally embedded slides. i'm getting fancy on you!

the photo quality is... not great. but then again, these project is a couple of years old and was done on the fly, mostly with cell phone cameras.


going back to our main discussion here... while some office lunches over the past several years have been fun, for most part, lunch has been forgotten altogether.  

i usually eat lunch alone at my desk, usually while staring at the computer screen.

often i'll just make a general shopping trip on mondays and just eat the same lunch (ex. hummus and carrots, sandwiches, tamales) over and over again until the week is over or i go crazy.

sometimes kb and i will meet up and go out for lunch, but that's been less frequent since i've decided to invest my life in a moving truck.

in other words, lunch is uninspiring.


and then, today, i came across this article written by krystal d'costa of anthropology in practice fame:

"and while it may be true that any number of us choose to eat at our desks, or conduct business over lunch, or even tend to virtual crops while we eat, eating alone can provide a moment to unwind, as well as a chance to eat without judgement of what we’re eating and with whom and why.

"a culture of shame is emerging around food that may contribute to solitary meal behavior. making healthy food choices is important—obesity has been linked to a host of health roblems—but just as in those cliques we encountered in middle- and high-school, the power of the group to pass judgement and award approval is immense. eating lunch every day with a group may find you tailoring your lunch options to match that of the group—food preferences could easily be another element you share in common, after all. but is that always the most satisfying choice?"


i've enjoyed my solitary lunches at work over the past years, it's true. 

they've been a quiet, personal time i've appreciated. 

but you know what?

i also enjoyed our group lunches. 

every awkward, off-kilter, pancake-or-whatever-filled minute of them. 


lunch, in general, is pretty wonderful.

i just think they could use some improvement.

like location. 

oh! and windows.