In the beginning was Kreuzberg.
With its cozy restaurants, hipster cafés and mandatory vegetarian alternatives, this district of Berlin was the garden of Eden of lunch opportunities and thus a perfect location for any office. With an infinite range of healthy options, doing the right thing always came natural to me and my co-workers.
Moving to Mitte, right after that, was the real game changer. Whilst this district can seduce you with its neat streets and beautiful buildings, some parts of it don’t make the hunt for food an enjoyable process. On our first day at the new office, me and my friend Catherine wandered through a desert of hot concrete and pretty facades in search of something to eat.
We felt like Jesus: hungry, fatigued and about to be tested in the Wilderness.
After 40 days and 40 nights (actually we have a 1 hour lunch break, so it must have been 10 minutes) the devil appeared in front of us in all its
tempting charme disputable architectural choices.
Alexa, one of the biggest malls in Berlin, whispered in our ears promises of high-in-carbs delicious lunches. We knew our diet was being tested and remembered that when Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the World and their splendor, J was like “I’m fine, thanks.”.
Of course the “splendor” part couldn’t possibly include air conditioning, frozen yogurt or 20 minutes on an armchair that gives you a full body massage. And above all, it certainly didn’t include a food court.
We stepped in the red, ugly building, leaving our souls at the entrance and throwing every last care away. We went back the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, in a spiral of addiction and self-damage that led to a profound change in who we are and how we behave.
Even though right now there’s not much left of the people we were (or their livers), I still feel the responsibility to tell our story and warn future generations about the horrors of the mall. The food court made us…
The first rule of the Food Court is:
You don’t speak about the Food Court.
Whenever a co-worker approached us and asked us where we had lunch at, the answer was always something like
– There’s a nice Italian restaurant just around the corner that makes a superb Carbonara
– Oh, really? Where?!
– Erm…I’ll send you the link
After a couple of weeks, eating the biggest amount of food at the cheapest price became a matter of principle. Alexa’s food court has an Asian buffet where you simply pay for the plate (large-5E. or small-4E.) and you can load it with as much food as you’re able to pile up.
We now look down on all the occasional food court eaters who start putting stuff in their plates without any strategy. Day after day we refined our piling abilities and started understanding how a mashed croquette makes for a reliable base or how good of a pillar a springroll can be.
I don’t mean to show off, but I’m pretty sure I could shove a seven course wedding lunch on a frisbee and still make the composition look beautiful.
Even while on holiday, our second home was constantly on our minds.
A perverse sense of possession made its way in our thoughts. What was hard to get is that we didn’t own the food court as much as the food court was owning us.
…TURN ON OUR LOVED ONES
Our priorities slowly started to shift.
It’s too late for us, clearly.
Not even Stil in Berlin’s vegan reccomendations can save us.
All we can do is trying to save you and ask you to pray for our souls.