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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Mick S (1)

    Wednesday
    Feb162011

    New Labourer part 2: How the traditional workman’s lunch went middle-class

    Perhaps most of the MCH’s readers will do jobs where they go out to buy lunch rather than packing up their own of a morning, but in my job you don’t get much choice most of the time. I work as a manager of a fencing contracting company, which means spending a lot of time stuck in the middle of big fields many miles a way from a house, let alone a Greggs or god forbid a Pret A Manger. The funny thing about the pack up is that a few years back, every one on the teams used to have much the same – ham rolls, sausage rolls, a Mr Kipling or a Kit Kat, can of Coke, maybe an apple if you were a fruit person. 
     
    Over the last decade, however, there is now a definite divide between the unreconstructed pack up (same as before) and the healthier version that a lot of blokes who are watching their belly go for. It’s mainly just wholemeal bread, chicken, bananas, Muller yoghurt, water, but you can notice a difference when everyone starts eating, and sometimes one of the new school will spot someone else and start a conversation about it - “You on the health kick as well?” or something like that. The person who’s asked will sometimes be apologetic at first (“Yes, our lass says I’ve to lose some weight” is a typical one, probably a lie I think), but sometimes they can get into a serious debate about it, mainly about how crap some of the less healthy food makes them feel now.
     
    I don’t necessarily think this maps onto any particular social class – many of the men who are quite finicky are into their gym, and that tends to be what you’d call the more working class lads, so I dunno. It’s more a divide on its own, although it does all seem terribly middle class compared to what it used to be like. I sometimes wonder where it’ll end – I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a rice cake one of these days.