Liven up your lunch

Are your lunchtimes lacklustre? If you yearn for more than marmite on white, read on…

You are what you eat, so they say. Unfortunately, in the cafeteria of life, most of us spend our working days as tuna-mayo baguettes. Of course, there’s nothing so wrong with that. Sandwiches are lean and efficient, and their ability to be eaten on the hop with minimal embarrassment is a rare gift. Then again, when was the last time you heard of a tuna-mayo baguette making a million-dollar deal?

Lunchtimes aren’t for wimps. They’re for gourmets. And here are a just a few ways you can spice up your lunch life.

Salad

Lunchtime salads have long since progressed from the sole province of the fitness freak and the CEO whose wife insisted on a low-cholesterol diet. Variety in both the ingredients (roquette, the haute couture salad leaf, now adorns the shelves of M&S) and dressings has made the humble salad a force to be reckoned with. Rabbit food rules.

Sushi

Having whizzed in on a conveyor belt, sushi is now a bestseller in supermarkets and it seems it’s here to stay. Should someone have said that in the new millennium, fashion food would consist of raw fish, cold rice and a green paste that clears the nose like snorting Domestos, few would have believed. But sushi is no longer just a fad – it’s a cult, and a mouth-watering one at that. If you are one of the uninitiated, it’s time you swallowed your pride along with your raw tuna.

Fry-up

One for the brave, this. While it’s heaven as those slivers of egg slide down your gullet, the bacon, sausage and mushrooms miraculously transform from the stuff of life to toxic sediment by the time you’re back at the office. The distance from your desk to the photocopier will never have seemed so far.

Noodles

Noodles have also achieved a certain cult status among the more hippy strains of the office. Its ways are even more arcane than those of sushi, involving communal boiling of kettles and strange fork twiddling rituals. It is probable that these eccentricities were developed to distract from the sheer comedy of watching a noodle-eater in action. Nevertheless, noodles are a healthy snack – aside from the greasy take-away version – and offer an amusing interlude from work.

Pub (aka liquid) lunch

The liquid lunch is an operation requiring a certain amount of natural skill coupled with years of practice. It cannot be performed individually and will be more satisfactory the more time is devoted to it. Novices will often experience slight haziness of vision, and involuntary increase in volume. Veterans, on the other hand, may find their productivity soars as a consequence. Under no circumstances attempt the liquid lunch before meeting important clients.

Sandwiches

These used to be the humblest of all foods, uniting workers, foremen and supervisors in a tupperware melée every one o’clock. However, the sandwich has since undergone a class revolution – an explosion of new fillings and continental breads has taken the market by storm. From peking duck wrap to toasted ciabatta, via roasted peppers on pitta, the catwalk has come to the café. Ditch that frumpy ham on rye, and find the perfect lunchtime accessory in a sandwich shop near you.

Ploughman’s lunch

No-one eats these. Not even ploughmen. They are an excuse to gather some of the most odiferous foods in the world onto one plate – onions, pickle and cheese to name a few – and should you indulge, you will find yourself lonely for the rest of the day.

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