Is Lunch an Inherently Boring Meal?

Is lunch the dullest meal of the day? As we progress through Lunch Week I've been giving this question some thought. While lunch is a necessary part of nourishing yourself, is it the most exciting or enjoyable meal? It lacks some of the aspects that make breakfast, supper, and even afternoon tea more exciting. Read on and tell me if no, lunch is really the best meal of the day.

Here are a few thoughts on why lunch tends to be, well, boring.

Lunch lacks the pleasure of breakfast foods: Pancakes, omelets, and even egg sandwiches make me excited to get out of bed in the morning. Coffee is a pleasure all its own. Breakfast has its distinct pleasures and excitements — a sort of pleasant morning ritual.

Lunch lacks the slow unwinding of dinner: Dinner has a ritual of its own as well, one that proceeds from its place at the end of the day. Dinner can be leisurely and slow, an unwinding towards relaxation. You can start with a cocktail, finish with dessert, and feel like you've left the day behind. Not so with lunch, as it's squeezed between morning and evening, with work bookending it.

Lunch often consists of leftovers and repeats: Lunch is rarely a meal cooked specifically for lunch, unless you work at home or eat out. It's usually leftovers of a meal or random bits thrown together in a lunchbox. Not as special as a real meal! Lunch is also the meal where you often eat the same thing day after day — a salad, a sandwich, a scoop of leftover pasta.

Lunch is often eaten on the go: No cloth napkin, no real cutlery, maybe even a desk or dashboard instead of a table. Lunch often lacks the niceties of other meals, diminishing its significance as a daily event.

Lunch is often eaten alone: Lunch is a solitary meal, grabbed at your desk, or eaten on a park bench. Away from the convivial enjoyments of eating with your partner or dinner companions, it's all about fueling up — not so much really enjoying your food.

Well, those are the negatives — all the reasons why lunch can be a mere pit-stop for fuel in the middle of the day, not something to be looked forward for its culinary enjoyments.

And yet, I am sure that lunch is not the most boring meal for all of us. Maybe you look forward to that break from work or an outing with your coworkers. Perhaps this is the time you most enjoy with your toddler. Or maybe you love lunch foods — are you a bento master or a make-ahead queen?

Tell us how you feel about lunch — is it the most boring meal of the day, or something a little more exciting for you?

Related: Can You Eat the Same Meal Day After Day?

(Image: ER_09 via Shutterstock)

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Main, Gatherings, Discussion, Lunch

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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