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145 (Lunch at work | 仕事でとる昼食)

September 9, 2011

When I first started working at the laundry, one of the things that took some getting used to was the meal break. First of all, the timing. We usually take it around 10am. This comes in a work day that starts anywhere between 6~7:30 and ends as early as 1pm or go late as 4~5pm depending on the amount of work we have.

Before I started the job, I was usually having two meals a day. A hearty lunch and a lighter dinner or vice versa. I wasn’t even hungry at 10am yet.

You would think that with only one meal in what sometimes turned out to be a long day, everyone would eat a significant meal that would last. But I was surprised to find that other than the one man in our staff, everyone eats a simple meal of fresh vegetables and bread. For example, my boss’s meal always consists of a few cucumbers she cuts in to tiny cubes (Israelis love their cubed vegetable salad!) mixed with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, accompanied with 3 slices of bread and a small yogurt. Or the 15-year old I wrote about previously always cut up a few tomatoes and cucumbers (also in small cubes) that she mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and ate it with a bread roll and some cottage cheese.

I couldn’t help thinking of a typical teishoku (lunch set) offered in Tokyo, consisting of a main dish (grilled fish, fried chicken karaage pieces, tonkatsu pork cutlet, etc) with a bowl of rice, miso soup, and a small side dish. My co-workers’ meals seemed significantly lighter compared to a teishoku. How do they do it?

Yuval suggested that maybe because of the physical nature of the work they avoid eating heavy meals that would weigh the body down. I also wondered if it’s the lack of a commute. We all live inside the kibbutz, so our commutes are less than 5 minutes on bicycle. In Tokyo, an average commute can easily be an hour and fighting your way through a rush hour train takes a lot of energy. I also remembered the “business lunches” offered in most restaurants in Tel Aviv that were more like a teishoku or lunch set in Tokyo. Perhaps it is a city vs kibbutz thing? Or maybe it just comes down to office work vs. physical work?

After a few days I started to eat my version of my co-workers’ meals: a few tomatoes mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and three slices of bread. First of all because I felt weird bringing in leftovers from the night before that often had meat and was fragrant with garlic or other spices (a little too much for 10am?). And second of all it’s just easier – I started stocking bread in the work freezer like others and only have to bring in my tomatoes. (The condiments are available at work.) Much easier than making a pasta salad the night before or packing leftovers in the morning and risking it all leaking in my bag. And strangely it fills me up now. I don’t even go home starving anymore. It is amazing what the body can get used to!

Or perhaps it is just a summer thing. There’s a microwave in the work kitchen that I have yet to see being used, but once the weather starts getting colder, maybe people will start bringing in their dinner leftovers. We’ll see!

クリーニングで働き始めてから慣れるのに時間がかかったことの一つが食事休憩でした。
まず時間帯。いつも10時頃にとります。
これは就労時間が朝の6時から7時半の間に始まり、
早い時は1時頃、忙しい時は午後4〜5時に終わる一日の中でのことです。

この仕事を始める前は大体一日二食の生活をしていました。
大きめの昼食に軽めの夜ご飯、もしくはその反対。
朝の10時は大抵まだお腹が空いていませんでした。

最高10時間労働に達する日もある仕事となれば、
その長い一日に持ちこたえるほどの昼食を食べると思いますよね。
でもびっくりしたのは、スタッフに唯一いる男性一人を除いて
皆食べるのは生野菜とパンだけの軽食だということ。
例えをあげると私の上司がほとんど毎日変わらず食べるのは
キュウリ数本を小さなキューブに切ってオリーブオイルと塩こしょうを足したのと、
パン3枚と、ヨーグルト一つ。
(パン3枚と言っても、1枚が日本で言うサンドイッチ用のパンの厚さで大きさは手のひらサイズ。)
前のエントリーで書いた15歳の子もトマトとキュウリをいくつかキューブ状に
切ってオリーブオイルと塩こしょうであえたサラダと、
ロール状のパン一つと、コッテージ・チーズを毎日食べていました。

思い出さずにはいられなかったのが、日本の典型的な定食。
最低でもメインのおかずにご飯、お味噌汁と小鉢がついてくる。
それに比べると一緒に働いている人達のご飯はとても軽く感じます。
どうやって皆それだけで一日もつのでしょうか?

ユバルは肉体労働だからあまり重い食事をとると仕事に影響するからでは、と言いました。
私はそれに加えて、通勤時間がゼロに近いことも考えました。
なにせ皆同じキブツ内の住民なので、通勤は自転車で5分もかかりません。
東京では通勤時間が約一時間かかるのはめずらしくないし、
その上満員電車で毎日頑張るのには大変なエネルギーが必要。
だからボリュームたっぷりの定食を食べても太りもしなければ
それで午後が(食べ過ぎで)パーになることもないのかもしれません。
また、テルアビブでは日本の定食セットやランチセットのような
「ビジネスランチ」と呼ばれるものを多くのレストランでみかけました。
単にキブツと都会の違いなのでしょうか。
それともオフィス仕事と肉体労働の違い?

私も徐々に皆のランチを真似するようになり、
今はほとんど毎日トマトを1〜2個持って行って
その場で皆と同じようにサラダを作って、パン3枚と一緒に食べています。
前の夜の残り物は大抵お肉が入っているし、朝の10時にはちょっときついガーリックや
スパイスが効いたものが多かったので、ちょっと持って行きにくいのもあったんです。
また、パンは職場の冷凍庫にストックできるし、家で何も準備しなくて良くなったので、
このほうが断然楽。
そして不思議なことに、最初のうちは家に帰る頃はお腹がペコペコだったのも
今では十分足りるようになりました。体は慣れるものですね。

それとももしかしたら、単に夏だから皆軽食なのかもしれません。
まだ一度も使われるのは見たことがないけれど職場には電子レンジがあるし。
寒くなったら皆の食事がどう変わるのか楽しみです!

Much love,
Kaori

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2011 11:43 am

    My coworkers’ lunch habits are also fascinating, as mine seem to be to them as well. Have you asked people what they eat at home? I work in a high-tech office, where my coworkers fall into two groups: those who work very long hours and eat a big meat lunch and then a light late dinner (often still in the office), and those who leave before dark and eat a lighter dairy lunch and then a bigger meal at home.

    • September 11, 2011 9:29 pm

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with this fascination with co-workers’ meals! I know one of my co-workers eats a larger meal at home but I don’t know if it contains meat.

      But I think you’re totally right about the dairy lunch… now that it’s occurred to me it’s making more sense. I just never thought about my co-workers observing kosher because they are kibbutzniks! I will ask them one day though.

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