Foodie Underground: Coming Together for Lunch


Although many of us love good food, we don’t always take the time to honor it. As a society we’re pressed for time, and instead of sitting down to a fresh prepared meal in good company, we often opt for the quick and processed foods which we can eat on the go. And because we want fast and easy, we certainly don’t share the experience with our friends. We’ve seen the difficulty that even Jamie Oliver has had in getting people to simply cook one meal and eat together. Although we’re fully aware that these things have a negative effect on us, both physically and emotionally, we find excuses, like, “I don’t have the time.”

The Slow Food movement was started to change all of this – not only people’s attitudes towards food – but also towards how they were eating it. Eating in good company is just as crucial as what you’re putting in your body.

In the UK, The Big Lunch is attempting to change just that. The grassroots project is aimed at getting the whole of the UK sitting down and having lunch with their neighbor. But getting an entire country to commit to eating lunch together on one day can’t be easy, right? Last year, The Big Lunch had over one million participants. And it’s not just a couple people getting together for a quick meal; the initiative often inspires full on street parties, with some participants working with local agencies to close their streets off for the big day. All in the name of eating together.

Beyond building community, efforts like Big Lunch are forcing people to think about how their behaviors are affecting their eating habits, as well as their social lives. We all live more independent, and thanks to the internet – detached lives as well – but bringing back that sense of community and friends is key.

This year The Big Lunch will take place on July 18th, and even if you don’t live in the UK, you can still be inspired to take part. Plan your own neighborly get together, with an emphasis on good, homemade food that you enjoy together, without the interruptions of everyday life. Even if it’s just for 45 minutes, turn off the Crackberry and take the time to focus on friendship and food. We could all use a little boost in our well being.

Image: Eden Project

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.