Don’t Eat Lunch at Your Desk: Americans Should Do What the French Do and Embrace the Long, Leisurely Lunch Break.
There is a French expression, cracher son venin, that translates to “spit one’s venom.” It conveys exactly what I feel like doing to America around 1 p.m. every work day. As much as it pains me to admit that foreigners do things better than us, I have to hand it to them on this issue: The French know how to take a lunch break.
I lived in France for about four years, and I got used to stepping away for at least 30 minutes and eating in a different room or outside. Instead of looking at a computer screen or a document, I would bring my fork to my mouth, begin chewing, and actually taste my food. Sometimes there was even another person with me, or a group of people, doing the same thing. Rumor has it that other people around the world also engage in this same remarkable ritual.
In America, we’ve become increasingly averse to such an act. In California, the state Supreme Court recently ruled that employers need not ensure that workers actually take their lunch breaks. Instead, employees are free to do what they always do: Eat with a spoon in one hand and a spreadsheet in another, or inhale their sandwiches while in a mad rush to get back to their desks. God forbid anyone stop and enjoy what their lunch tastes like. Savoring food is for the weak.