Halfway the week we are halfway describing a day of differences between eating Italians and Dutch. After today two more blogposts will follow this week.

Dutch streets and shops are full with office staff during lunch time. People go out for a walk to stretch their legs, get some fresh air or go for a quick moment of shopping. This means there is not a lot of time left to eat lunch. Dutch lunches usually consist out of (whole meal) bread covered with cheese or meats prepared at home or sandwiches bought at a bakery. This means having lunch could easily be combined with the lunch walk or when back behind the desk. Apparently the Dutch lunch is not worth spending serious time on.

A lot of other Europeans are much more respectful to the mid-day meal. It might be even more important than dinner since lunch will give us the energy to work until the (early) evening. After dinner we only have to relax and sleep. In countries around a further from the Netherlands shops and offices close for at least one but most of the time for two hours. Streets get quiet and canteens and restaurants fill up with people waiting for a decent hot meal to be served.

In Italy restaurants offer a special workers meal (Menu del Lavoro). This is a two or three courses lunch meal starting with pasta (prima piatti) followed by a main course (secondo piatti) which is usually fish, meat or a salad with some kind of cheese. As a dessert you can have a sweet pudding or cake or some fruit. With this lunch you have some water and maybe some wine. Off course it is finished off with a shot of caffeine which helps you to stay awake after the amount of food just eaten.

Like other meals lunch is a perfect moment to spend with others like colleagues or friends working nearby. You have time to talk with them about work or private matters while in the mean time you enjoy a delicious meal which is not to expensive.

After lunch we have to go back to work. In the Netherlands they work until around five or six o’ clock. In Italy they usually work a bit longer. But before dinner we might need to fill up our energy levels. I will write more on this subject tomorrow.