Food, Friends, and Culture

I love food. I go out to lunch all the time with friends at home, but London’s food is better than pretty much everything in Lowell. This week, we had two great lunch experiences. The first was at a Middle Eastern restaurant in downtown London, and the second was a picnic Greenwich Park. While the two lunch experiences were quite different, they both captured the spirit of London.

London is an ever-diversifying city, and our trip to an Iraqi restaurant highlighted this. The overall culture in London is greatly affected by the various, smaller cultures within it. It was so cool to be able to experience authentic Iraqi cuisine, something I’d never experienced before (and was ridiculously delicious), in London. The food here is really more than just fish and chips. London’s culture is expanding and I think the vast array of restaurants featuring ethnic cuisine symbolize the growing acceptance of diversity in the city.

Our lunch in Greenwich Park was much more casual. We bought bread, cheese, and milk chocolate digestives (which are the most amazing little cookies, they’re called digestives because apparently they have a lot of fiber), and we sat in the park eating and chatting. While we were in a completely different atmosphere from the sit-down, Middle Eastern restaurant, our picnic lunch seemed very “London” to me as well. Parks are everywhere here as a way for city dwellers to escape the hustle and bustle of London and relax in a calm, green area for a bit. A picnic lunch in the park was our way of stepping out of the city and relaxing in the grassy oasis of Greenwich Park.

On a similar note, both our lunch outings brought together the entire group. I’ve always found that eating meals together is the best way to get to know each other. It is so nice to share stories with everyone. I hope we have the chance to have a couple more meals together before we depart on Tuesday!