All over the world, the luxury – both in terms of money and time - of sitting down at a table (not a desk, or a countertop) for an hour or more, to eat a midday meal without hurry, is something fewer and fewer humans can entertain. It’s lunchtime as I write and, five minutes ago, I shoved some hacked-off cheese pieces and torn rye bread onto a plate, no time even to assemble the stray hunks into sandwich form, and have been shoving these dry bits into my mouth intermittently. With precious little pleasure.
This is a bad way to eat, for so many reasons.
But there you are. Lunching on the trot is the way it is, more often than not. Even if sitting happens, we often choose a place which keeps the sense of action going, instead of giving us a break from it. Sure, that’s always been part of al fresco eating – see and be seen – but somehow a restaurant on the Via del Bufalo in Rome does not invoke the same enervating frazzlement as an all-day eating hub in a mall.