Thursday, 18 April 2013

Lunchboxes and olives

Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

Going to the cafeteria for lunch today I remembered that it was Thursday and so it would be extra busy.Thursday is the day that they do their curry special, either chicken, prawn or the vegetarian chickpea, sweet potato and spinach option. Many people think this is the best food that they do in the cafeteria and so Thursday is always the busiest day.

Of course, despite the requirement that you should only eat food sold in the cafeteria many people bring their own lunchboxes. Bob Bunn has a nice little tupperware box that he brings in every day with a range of meze items bought from Marks and Spencer on Sunday. It will always include dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice), keftethes (meatballs) and a few Kalamata olives. It makes me laugh because I am Greek but I prefer the cafetria's cheese and tomato paninis.

Chaz Carter makes his own bread and always brings his own sandwiches using his home baked bread. Sometimes it is onion bread, sometimes sundried tomato flavoured, sometimes it is covered in sesame seeds. It always looks very nice but the slices are so big Chaz has to open his mouth really wide in order to take a bite.

Younis Khan from Pakistan brings in his own neat container with the Asian food that his wife has specially prepared for him. He says that he wouldn't dream of eating what the cafeteria calls curry.

Then there is the chap from the Accounting Department who, every day, religiously places a Mars bar on a plate and cuts it into small slices using a knife and fork. Then he uses the fork to pick up each slice individually. Slightly weird! And that reminds me of the woman from Social Studies who gets out a wet wipe to clean up her cutlery before she eats. Obviously she doesn't think that the cafeteria dishwasher can be trusted.

There are some staff that never eat in the cafeteria. They come in for a takeaway sandwich which they take back to their offices and eat at their desks. They probably get crumbs all over their computer keyboards! And then there are some people who come in occasionally but usually go out to somewhere in town for lunch. They probably do a bit of shopping while they are there too.

There is a little group from the Maths department who sit in the corner doing the Times crossword every day. And some people use the cafeteria as an office. Maybe they are part-time staff who don't have an office, or maybe they just don't want to be bothered by students who would find them if they were in their offices. You also get really noisy groups whose conversation overwhelms any other talk. Mind you, I think our little group of economists is often a bit like that. So apologies to anyone reading this who gets annoyed with our raucous laughter. We don't mean to be a nuisance - honestly!

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