What’s in your lunchbox?

Norwegian lesson, now:

matpakke, n. literally ‘packet of food’. There is a tradition in Norway for the no-nonsense packed lunch which I love. Basically, whereas our neighbours the Swedes have hot lunches at school, Norwegian schoolchildren have a ‘matpakke’ from home that they unwrap and eat at lunch. And when I say no-nonsense I mean no-nonsense. No crisps. No chocolate. At a stretch some fruit, or more likely a carrot, but the main part is two (normally) pieces of bread with something nice and sensible like salami, pork liver pate or cheese (white or Norwegian brown goat’s cheese). The daring may stretch to a slice of pickled cucumber on the pate, or a sliver of red pepper on the cheese (the white). And we’re not really talking sandwich here, that’s a British concept. For convenience the pieces of bred might be turned to face each other for a sandwich effect, but more often than not pieces of grease-proof paper have been cleverly employed to keep the slices separate, allowing the inquisitive mind to have two different types of spread.

At least that’s how it used to be when I was a kid, and having grown up with that I find it natural to bring a ‘matpakke’ to work even now, though I am becoming lazy on account of having canteen food available if I can’t be bothered to make up a sandwich in the morning. What the kids eat at school nowadays I have no idea…