opustheblue, if you are an hourly employee in California, you would 1. get paid for the lunch; 2. be allowed to take your lunch break away from work; not be required to work past 5 hours without said break.
Of course, most employers don't honor that, and most employees don't insist on it because then their bosses hate them.
I did manage to discovered a brown bag lunch wasn't what I thought it was. But frankly after emptying the contents of the bag, my afternoon went much smoother. These tend to be either a working session for a project to avoid charging time to a project, something that doesn't matter to me in my job, or something I could figure out with a couple of sentences in an email. It bugs me that the person conducting it is getting credit for doing it and meeting their objectives.
It was explained to me that it's really a 'social' event to connect with people you work with. Well, no one I work with would be there, unless they died in the room during the previous meeting. It could be a good place to do some passive-aggressive flatulence assuming the timing worked out. That would be a win-win situation for me.