Many years ago I lived and worked in Spain. If you’ve ever been there, or you happen to know any Spaniards, you’ll be aware of how food takes priority over pretty much everything else for them. My friends would wake up and go out at dawn to pick figs before the dew evaporated from them. An invitation to drink a beer actually meant several tapas with a beer on the side. There was a TV commercial which showed a guy sitting at a bar ordering glass after glass of red wine. As the camera pans out from the bar you see a dozen wine glasses – all still full, and a dozen empty cheese plates in front of them. It was a cheese commercial which would fall flat on its face in another culture.

The best thing about life in Spain was lunch. Lunch was so much more than a meal. It was family time, sharing food, chatting, taking time out. Lunch took so long that everyone needed a nap afterwards. And why not? What better reason is there to spend time apart from eating and enjoying food? My lunch break lasted five hours. It meant I didn’t get home until 9pm, but my boss wouldn’t have been happy if I’d gone straight home after a 5-hour lunch break. Plus, those are regular company hours in Spain.

Eventually I was transferred back to my native England and had to adapt back to English working hours, including the little-loved half hour lunch. If you took a tour of English workplaces at lunchtimes you would see mad rushes at crowded canteens, people shovelling chips and beans into their mouths or cramming a baguette in with one hand as they hold up the other wrist to check the time. Plenty of people just can’t face wasting a third of their allocated feeding slot to queue up or wait to be served. These folks bask in the luxurious surroundings of their own desks, sandwich already prepared at home, fruit concentrate packed alongside.

I have always been a slow eater and it became apparent to me that in order to adapt to the half-hour lunch, I would have to have to starve or find another way to eat. That’s also when I stumbled across It’s true, I am a slow eater. But who said I had to eat lunch? By processing my food, I eliminating the time-consuming chewing involved, plus I could carry it in a flask with me. I needn’t deprive myself of natural light by having lunch in a canteen or at my desk. I could have it on a park bench this way.

In fact, I didn’t even have to have my lunch at lunchtime anymore. Just as people sip coffee from their flasks throughout the day, I could sip on my juicy lunch through the working day! Oh joy, oh small yet sweet victory over the lunch hour! All it took was a few minutes of preparation the evening before. Throw in all the vegetables I could find, some juice, garlic, lemon, chilli – anything really, and that would be my Spanish gazpacho for tomorrow’s lunch.

So guys, no need to daydream about Spanish afternoons at your desks any longer! With your liquefied lunch, you’ll actually be able to live the dream!