Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Tale of a Lunch box

 Lunch time and lunch boxes brings back fond memories of my childhood . From a middle -class family , growing up in India , we ( and so many others I  know) were fortunate to be automatically entitled to healthy , wholesome meals, every single day , for every single meal, freshly and painstakingly cooked by our moms. There was no calorie counting, no distinction between full- fat and low- fat , no distinction between ' white' and 'brown ' products. Everything was consumed with great zest and enthusiasm.

Fast forward a few years later and here I am in Ireland and  packing lunch boxes for hubby and me . It's only now I truly appreciate what my mom has gone through. Adding to my woes, the health magazines and our lifestyle choices haven't been easy on us , has it ? One day ,something is good for you , the next day new research shows that it isn't good for you . One day we read that something causes cancer and the next day , we read that the same thing is a proven cancer -fighter. What are we harassed  lunch -box packing wives( and moms) to do or believe ? :)

Anyway decided that if I stick 90% of the time to what I've been used to eating back home, it cannot go totally wrong as opposed to trying out new recipes every single day across cuisines - Italian , Mexican , Spanish , Tex- Mex, you name it .

So here I am with my South Indian /Indian style lunch box ( dabba :) in an all-Irish office. I am the  first non- Irish National they  hired , so they were totally not prepared for the assault on their senses during lunch time . I mean the kind of food they eat- mashed potatoes, soups, sandwiches, salads  are all quite mild , in terms of taste and aroma. Compare that to the Indian dishes- every single one of them are cooked and smothered in onion, tomatoes, ginger garlic,chilli powder, coriander , cumin , garam masala..blah blah.

I got my first clue when all my colleagues started sneezing simultaneously when I was heating my lunch box one day . There I was standing in the kitchen thinking- wonder why is everyone sneezing , hope its not a flu going around.It's only when this repeatedly happened every day during lunch break that I  copped on that the outbreak of sneezes and sniffles was due to my lunch - box.  :) They all were too polite to say anything.

So now I've devised a step - by -step master plan for getting my lunch heated .
1)  Pray that the whole office clears out during lunch break .
2)  Rush in to the kitchen and heat food ASAP. Time is of the utmost importance . 
3) Quickly open a window and ventilate the room
4) Cram all the rice, sambhar, and veggies in a deep bowl so that if anyone comes in , they wont be able to see what I'm eating
5) Keep an air- freshener / perfume handy to spray away any stubborn odours.

Must say  this routine is exhausting every single day but hey I'm eating what's most suited to my genetic makeup right :)

Gotta rush to heat my dabba  now , my colleagues are out  on their lunch break :))


  1. u r hilarious Sarah!! :)

    PS: Do u really do that?

    1. haha, thanks Kavya . :) Yes absolutely do that, almost every single day ..sigh :)

  2. I can identify with this. While concern for fellow workers is great, I must agree that a true Indian Lunch on a cold afternoon is a pleasure for us:)Keep Writing.

    1. I know Madhu ..:) at the end of the day , sticking to what we've been used to eating back home totally hits the spot and make us feel less homesick i suppose :) Thanks for your encouragement :)

  3. Funny post Sarah... :) Even with many Indian colleagues around, I faced the same issue while opening my lunch box in the office :) Finall i figured out a method to save my multi-national colleagues from sneezing, i pack my lunch at night in the box and refridgerate the same, before i head out for work, i heat my food at home. After i reach office, i just keep the box on my table until lunch time, before everyone goes to the pantry, i heat my lunch for about 30 seconds with the box closed;therefore no smell spreads out...Also, we dont have windows for high rise buildings. This method helped me a lot :)

    1. Thanks so much mamtha:) will follow your tips- esp the one abt heating it with the lid closed. hope all the spices inside don't combust and explode :) lol.


Thanks for taking the time out to visit this space. Would love to hear from you on your feedback and thoughts/views. Thanks so much!