The Norwegian Art of the packed lunch



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The Norwegian Art of the packed lunch - BBC

Could we all learn something from Norway's culture of ‘matpakke’?

Every day, across Norway, something strange happens. It starts at about 11:30, and the first sign is the rustling of paper at the bottoms of rucksacks and handbags. Shortly thereafter, people begin fishing out square packages, neatly wrapped in baking parchment. Some have cute messages like ‘ha’ en god dag!’ – ‘have a good day!’ – scrawled on top. Others are tied up with string.

The phenomenon can be witnessed everywhere – in offices and schools, on public transport, out hiking near icy fjords. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that all will contain the same humble open sandwich. And, if it’s been made correctly, it will be dry, flavourless and predominantly beige in colour.

“In Norway, you’re not supposed to look forward to your lunch,” says Ronald Sagatun, who works in advertising and hosts a YouTube channel about Norwegian culture. “It’s kind of a strict thing. It’s easy to make, easy to carry around, easy to eat, but it should be a disappointment.”