Bringing Back the Ancient Ritual of Communal Lunch to MIT


Is a slow, shared lunch a radical act? In many corners of MIT, where 18 hour lab sessions are the norm, taking a lunch break is a sign of weakness…So, on March 21, a day before a spring “break” that many MIT students would spend hunched over computers in the library, members of NE @ MIT decided to have an open, slow, and very homemade lunch in Lobby 7, the grand entryway to this excellent, and overworked, institution.

The idea came from just wanting to share and connect. Part of what makes our economy whole is that people take the time [against all odds] to feed themselves and nurture connections.In our Slow lunch, borrowing ideas from the Slow Food movement, we wanted to try to do just that.

We decided to lunch in Lobby 7, where most of our community is looking up at the impressive dome, through to the next corridors where labs and projects await, and/or down at their phones. At slow lunch, we looked across… at each other to share a meal. Each person brought something to feed themselves and a little bit of extra to share. Sitting on a table-cloth, we dined on plates brought from home, where people brought salmon, pasta, broccoli salad, teff, beats, and bananas for desert: Yum! We also drank tea and invited passersby to join in the fun.

As we gathered mugs, table cloth, glasses, and silverware to head down to the lobby, we encountered several people perched on benches or the marble floor eating hastily out of sytro-foam packs, hunched over their meals alone. Lunching slowly in this lobby, in this time, as we think about how best to connect with one another, is truly a gift to share. We hope to continue to have slow lunches, perhaps adding games, music, or other things to make our lunches even more delicious. Slow lunch is open to all — bring a plate or dish, some food to share, or just yourself. and your friends.

— Allegra Fonda-Bonardi

Occupy Lunch?