Andiamo a pranzo! Let's Eat Lunch!
In Italy, breakfast is usually minimal, just enough to start your day and get you through your morning meetings. Dinner, is typically small and just enough to satisfy your appetite before bed without leaving you stuffed beyond belief. Lunch, however is the biggest meal of the day. And going on your lunch break, is almost an event in and of itself!
Your typical Italian lunch, is much larger than anything most Americans are used to for a mid-day meal. A plate of pasta, meat or fish, vegetables, fresh fruit and the meal is generally concluded with a shot of hot espresso.
Even though our American work schedules don’t encourage a two-to-three-hour early afternoon work break like they might in Italy, that doesn’t mean that we can’t all take moment to savor a nice meal and short break, all without leaving the office. We've put together a few tips, on how to truly enjoy and eat lunch like an Italian!
Learn To Love Leftovers
Italians love to repurpose foods. Why throw out a perfectly good meal? Lunch, particularly when eaten on the go, is prime time to give last night’s dinner new life. For example, a pasta becomes silkier, and almost even better, when reheated with a splash of milk. Leftover rotisserie chicken shredded and tossed with seasonal vegetables or fresh greens is a feast of its own!
Invest in Sturdy Tupperware
If you’re committed to the Italian structure of a primo (pasta dish), secondo (meat dish), and contorni (vegetable-centric sides) then it’s a good time to invest in sturdier, organized containers for lunch. Consider something along the lines of a bento box or tiffin, that can keep your courses and all their pieces and parts separate.
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Panino
In Italy, sandwiches are called paninos. A Panino, though much simpler than any pasta or steak dish, is a perfectly acceptable lunch! We recommend taking a note from the Italians, and using only the best, freshest ingredients possible to make a delicious, and filling panino.
Don't Forget About Fruit
In Italy, fruit is generally used to signal the end of a meal. A slight hint of sweetness at the end of your savory meal, will really round out all the flavors and leave you feeling completely satisfied. Try packing a fresh peach, some berries or even grapes for your last bite.
End With An Espresso (or some Tea)
Italians typically opt for a quick shot of espresso after lunch. This helps cut through the midday meal and give you enough energy to curb that early afternoon slump. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can always opt for a cup of decaf, or some tea. We recommend you avoid drinking anything too milky after lunch, as it will only fill you up more and it will certainly make you crave a nap!
Inspired by Valerio Farris.