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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dutch Lunch

A few years ago I worked for a company with Dutch origins. They were going through some transitions and I was as well. It was the perfect match for a summer job and there were a few things that happened which made me appreciate it that much more. One of those being lunch. Or as I came to call it, Dutch Lunch.

The people I worked with were all Dutch, they all spoke Dutch, and made me wish I knew Dutch! {To this day I still wish I knew Dutch.} I found it wonderful and fascinating, the ways in which they interacted within the office.  The most noticeable difference {besides the emails written in Dutch} was the way that lunch was done.  We would all, yes all, sit down together at the conference room table and eat the sandwich fixings from the refrigerator.  We ate on real plates, with real knives, and drank from real glasses.  

Sandwiches were done the Dutch way, open face.  There were multi grain bread loaves which were sliced for lunch {yes, in the office with a real bread knife}.  Then the choice of meat or cheese was put on top and eaten. There was mustard in the office, but I don't think I saw anyone use it.  It usually took 3-5 slices of bread to be satisfied. Then for dessert, nutella would come out and lavishly be spread on the multigrain bread. It all balanced out, between chocolate goodness and multi grains, right?

Everyone sat around the table and the whole office took a break.  It did take the place of having a "lunch break," but I didn't mind. If I really needed to I could have left. And I got off early enough that it didn't really matter.  When needed, people seemed to take care of their business and meetings at their most convenient time.

I think one reason I loved it and was enamored by this new lunch concept was that it was simple. It was simple, delicious, and not altogether unhealthy.  Would I have enjoyed a fruit or veggie thrown in? It would have been nice.  Did I love the new tradition of lunch?  Yes, even more.

I was completely spoiled by it. And not just because I was provided food, here in Silicon Valley that's all too common. It was more than the food, the mind was nourished with the body. There was easy conversation and banter, relationship. I taught and was taught about culture and customs and life over the simplicity of lunch.

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