Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Lunch in Slovakia...
I’m a British writer, and have lived in the UK for most of my life. I met my Slovak husband Ján in 2007, and we spent our first few years together living in London. In 2011 we decided to move to Slovakia. There are many things I love about life here, but one thing has struck me during my working day, is how different lunch is.
Of the numerous jobs I did in London during my twenties; acting, office temping, or promotional work, lunch options were depressing. I still can't eat pre-packed sandwiches, or salad, and a foot long Subway turns my stomach.
Rarely, if ever, did I do a job where I was taken out for lunch. And packed lunch catastrophes were frequent involving Chilli Con Carne and worse - tinned mackerel. My midday excitement evaporating when I discovered a plastic container had regurgitated its contents inside my bag.
Here in Slovakia lunch is thought of as very important. One of the wonderful throwbacks from Communism (and surprisngly there are many) is that all restaurants do a lunch menu. For three or four euros you can get an incredible three course hot meal, with mineral water, all served with a swift mindfulness for people who only have a short lunch break.
What is even better is that all employers are legally required to give their staff a voucher worth €4 per day which can be used in all restaurants. Even the posh ones do a lunch menu, or if you're really picky you can use them in supermarkets.
I couldn't believe it; Ján still can't get over my shock at this, but it's a way of life in Slovakia.
Of course, I‘ve discovered this at a time when I work from home! But I still insist on a lunch menu every now and again, even if we don’t get the vouchers. The last few lunches have been no exception; mediterranean spaghetti with rocket and cherry tomatoes, lamb stuffed aubergine, kung pao chicken, roast chicken with herb mash and veg - and the soups! Soup is a big part of each meal in Slovakia, and the delicate vegetable broths and thick cream soups have almost filled me up before the rest arrived. All this for around £3 a pop, it’s been a revelation.
I wish this could work in the UK. Lunchtime would be so much more special - I bet we’d all get more work done. But I just couldn't imagine rocking up at the Oxo Tower in London with a grin and a luncheon voucher, they'd lob me off the brasserie balcony (or if I looked really well dressed, the balcony by the restaurant).
Things are changing fast here in Slovakia. Capitalism is marching forward at a pace. I just hope lunch menus stay. Sometimes, when you’re having a horrible day, it‘s nice to look forward to something as simple as lunch!
Robert’s book Coco Pinchard, The Consequences Of Love and Sex is available now.
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Since Coco Pinchard found first husband Daniel in bed with another woman, she hasn’t just picked up the pieces: she’s now a best-selling author married to her hunky soul-mate Adam. She feels stronger and wiser and surely the second time round she’ll have learnt from her mistakes?
But things aren’t going quite according to plan... Adam has lost his job, Coco’s grown-up son Rosencrantz seems to have derailed his life in spectacular fashion, and ex-mother-in-law Ethel keeps letting herself into the house thanks to an endless supply of spare keys. When literary agent Angie takes on Coco’s arch rival, the indomitable Regina Battenberg, it looks as though things can’t get any worse. And then Coco discovers she’s pregnant; at 44.
Can she really go through it all again? Sleepless nights, stretch marks on top of stretch marks, and poo as a normal topic of conversation?
The third and final book in Robert Bryndza’s bestselling series is a hilarious diary with Coco’s trademark wit and honesty, tracing the raging hormones and extraordinary twists that take her to motherhood for the second time.
*Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex can be read as a stand-alone*
About the Author
About the Author
Robert Bryndza was born in the UK and lived in America and Canada before settling in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján. His debut novel The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard became an Amazon bestseller and two sequels have followed, Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Weddingand Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex. A Very Coco Christmas, is a delightful introductory novella to the Coco Pinchard series. When he’s not writing Rob is learning Slovak, trying to train two crazy dogs, or watching Grand Designs – all in the hope that he’ll be able to understand his mother-in-law, build his dream house, and get the dogs to listen.
Robert Bryndza on Goodreads
Robert Bryndza on Twitter @robertbryndza
Overall tour giveaway is 3 x signed copies of Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex plus Coco Pinchard bookmarks.