Packed Lunch.

I am sure that my friend Megh expected me to write a blog post when he sent me this link to a fascinating story about the Norwegian packed lunch and here I go obliging him.

I have not been to a work place where I had to have lunch for the last sixteen years. So, I do not know quite what the scene now a days is but I do see hoards of young people having lunch during lunch hour at either way side food stalls or restaurants near blocks of offices in my neighbourhood. Perhaps the system of taking packed lunch to work or schools/colleges has gone out of fashion at least in Pune or it is just that there are too many singles working in Pune who have come here to work from distant places and staying in paying guest accommodation or hostels.

I distinctlty remember taking a single lunch box of stainless steel to school till I finished high school at the age of a little over fifteen.

My mother would pack curd rice with a piece of dry pickle on one side and a piece of jaggery on the opposite and during lunch break, I would sit with other classmates who would have also brought the same for lunch from their homes.


After that, till I started to work in Mumbai in January of 1970 I had lunch at convenient places. In Mumbai, my wife would pack and send lunch through the iconic Mumbai dabbawalas just like almost all my colleagues in the office got theirs. Those packed lunches would come in carriers like this kind of thermos flask inside which would be a three tier case containing three different dishes. It was quite usual to share among colleagues whatever was brought.

Fast forward to the late eighties when I became part of a management team to which lunch was served in a lunch room as part of the perks during times of socialism in India! So, the practice of taking packed lunch stopped till the middle of 1990 when I shifted to Pune where I started taking packed lunch from home in a electric thermos/thermos tiffin box which would heat up food if plugged in half an hour before lunch time. Here too, I would share the food with other colleagues who too would have brought lunch in similar boxes. Till I retired in late 1998, I continnued to use this device to take packed lunch to my places of work.

I also remember packing sandwich lunches for my son who was going to work after I retired and while I was the house husband due to the illness of my late wife.

I am sure that most of my readers will identify with the days when they took packed lunches to school or places of work unless of course they were provided with lunch like many places now do.   Do you have similar experiences?

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11 Responses to Packed Lunch.

  1. tammy j says:

    interesting! this reminds me of an article I read early last year I think that was literally what children from around the world take for lunch. it only covered the lower grades I think like from ages 6 through 12 years old. I found it fascinating to see the regular lunches from the different countries! I took my lunch almost until I retired. it was just too expensive to eat out everyday. but most people did. we had a kitchen with a microwave which helped. ‘eating out’ was a special treat then. I think my favorite meal to eat out has always been breakfast! I don’t know why. I like little diners!

    • Mine too has been breakfast ever since my travelling salesman days because we did not know when we started our rounds whether we would get the time or the suitable place for a lunch. Sometimes, we had to skip dinner too as there would have been trains or buses to catch in the evenings.

  2. Mike says:

    Packed lunches were not often a regular thing for me. In my first 6 years of school, we lived one city block from the school, so I was able to go home for lunch. After that, even though I went to four different school, lunch, unless I skipped it, was in the school cafeteria. During my working life, I occasionally took something from home, but rather, more often than not, grabbed something from a grocery store, not always very healthy. I very seldom went out to eat at lunch though many of my coworkers did so almost every day.
    Mike recently posted..Plants in Hollow Tree

    • On three of my postings, I too was able to go home for lunch due to the proximity of the homes to the offices. It is only in those places where we lived far away that packed lunches had to be taken.

  3. Wisewebwoman says:

    I remember going home for lunch when I was at school as dinner was at midday and we were allowed 1-1/2 hours. I also came home thru college and then from work as I had a ride from a co-employee.

    Working in Toronto I usually went out for lunch or a truck would come by with food which was cheap.

    Now and again I do take lunch with me in a special small thermos bag which even holds a flask of coffee.

    I love the pics of the plug in – what a marvellous idea.

    XO
    WWW

    • The food warmer theromos is a popular gadget here even now and my old relic is still in working order. Sometimes when I have to heat up more than one dish, I use it.

  4. I don’t really remember “lunch boxes” but I believe it was just wrapped sandwich in greaseproof paper and into a brown paper bag…with something pretty unappealing, depending upon the season.
    Where I went to school, the rural area there was no hot dinners although there was “milk” out of a bottle and a straw to drink it down with. Never fun, winter – iced over, summer – sour and hotish…
    https://nzhistory.govt.nz/end-of-free-school-milk
    At various times in my adult life, lunch from home – mainly because never worked near a suitable cafe/shop…
    Catherine de Seton recently posted..Spirit comes to those who search

    • Free milk for thirty years! During those years NZ was a major dairy economy and so it made sense I suppose.

      • apparently they have reintroduced it some schools – but it’s vastly different delivery – “little tetra packs and all milk kept in a refrigerator” – ours was only cold in winter, outdoors around the back near the tradesmen entrance…I got to be the monitor, making sure everyone drunk the milk – which in turn, I had to drink the first one and appear to enjoy it 🙂
        Catherine de Seton recently posted..Spirit comes to those who search

  5. shackman says:

    When I was in grade school in Colorado I ate lunch at home – a 2-nlock walk. In California I bought a hot lunch in the school cafeteria, I believe the cost was 25 cents -and in high school the price was 35cents for a regular, 50 cents for a double and the food was very good. Apiece of Dutch Crunch apple pie was an extra 15 cents. The pizza was gooey and cheesy – exccllent.
    College and work lunch was in cafeterias or restaurants. In Hawaii several of the Japanese brought Bento Boxes.

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