Pranzo Porta Via

Pranzo is the Italian word for lunch.  It's my favorite meal of the day in Italy.  If you aren't familiar with the custom and don't keep your clock, you may even miss eating altogether.   Shops close down, the usually bustling center of town comes to an almost eerily quiet as everyone scatters for the ancient ritual of afternoon siesta.

The siesta always starts with lunch. It's the main meal of the day where nourishment and repose is the only thing that matters.  It can be either a quiet affair behind closed doors at home or a lingering lunch at a local trattoria or caffe.  But you better keep your clock, because in Italy, restaurants are religious about what time they stop serving, so they too can enjoy some down time before the afternoon activity starts again.

Life is a little different here where we live. People are often on the go, even eating in their cars and while they are walking, never really stopping to relax and enjoy one of the most simplest {and delicious} of life's little luxuries.

I am usually out and about or working at home, so eating at a small cafe or cooking something simple at home is something I enjoy and make sure to fit into my day.  My challenge is when I work at the office. If I haven't planned or prepared something to bring to eat, I am pretty much certain to eat something less than satisfying and nutritious.  So, I found a way to make create my own ritual.

 I bought a tiffin.  A tiffin is a traditional Indian metal container used to keep food for lunch. It's durable, recyclable, and I just love the way it looks. I have a couple of containers I use, some for single servings and a double-stack version that even comes with its own "keep warm" insulated carrying case.

In winter, I fill the tins with a warm soup and perhaps a baked sweet or yukon gold potato. In the summer, it will keep cool in the fridge, layered with with cucumbers and crispy salad greens.
Although it's not the same as eating in Italy, it sure does make me rethink about not only what I eat, but also how I eat.  It makes the idea of Porta Via, or  literally "take to the street",  a very good thing, indeed.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2010 Alisa Barry

1 comment:

Janet said...

What a great idea! Now, where can I find a tiffin here in the U.S.A.? I'm all about recycling and WILL not use throwaways. I'll google tiffin and see what comes up! Thanks for the lovely idea.
Oh, by the way--your warm soup and potato look so yummy!