Go Dutch for lunch

The average working person spends upwards of 35 hours a week at the office. So, it is no surprise that the most cherished hour comes smack in the middle of the day - lunch. And there is no reason why this well deserved culinary break shouldn't be an equally tasty escape.

In Holland, however, the most ample lunch offering is the broodje, or sandwich. Most often, it's little more than a pistolette or round roll, packed with a measly smear of butter and a slice of cheese. Almost anyone, outside of the Dutch perhaps, can agree this is a lunch that leaves something to be desired. That's where Vicky Hampton comes in. With her new book Working Lunch, she revolutionalises lunchtime fare into something you look forward to for the flavour, not just for the break.

"A singular lack of decent sandwich bars, soup shops, salad bars or jacket-potato joints leaves you with three options: visit the horrendous office canteen (if indeed you even have one), take far more than your allotted half-hour lunch break and try your luck with the speed of a service in a local cafe, or make your own… I did the latter," says Hampton on her website.

The result is a cookbook for anyone whose office has even the most minor kitchen appliances. Using items as simple as a blunt knife, chopping board (or even an open counter top!) and fresh ingredients, Hampton's book offers 50 lunch options that are healthy and delicious.

Recipes include salads & dressings, bread-based meals, couscous, smoothies and soups. For the more adventurous cook, the cheeky chapter, ‘Pimp my lunch' offers an impressive lunchtime line-up. And, you can get involved yourself, not just by cooking up these treats in the work kitchen, but by buying shares in the book. In an effort to cover publishing costs, Hampton is offering five euro shares in the cookbook, that will be returned with interest to all investors.

It's a crowd-funding scheme that hits at the heart of what Working Lunch is all about. That is making lunch a mid-day break that brightens up the rest of the day ahead. By using these tasty recipes, lunch can become a highlight of the day spent in the kitchen with colleagues and not behind the computer screen. As if workers weren't already eyeing the clock for noon!


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