Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.
We begin by entering the Culinary no-no Wayback Machine that has been set to August of 2011. I had ventured out for lunch to a nearby Greek joint that offered great food.
Heavily seasoned meat.
Lots of pungent onions.
Just the right amount of grease.
“Make it to go,” I told the short order chef.
Yes, to go. I was taking it back to…
I sat down at my desk and removed the mini torpedo from the bag. The tantalizing sandwich was still hot, and underneath the outside foil wrapping, the paper surrounding the lamb and beef was drenched, soaking wet.
To remove the scrumptious smell from my hands would require an additional two showers. Didn’t matter. This was ambrosia.
And then it hit me. My lunch could be detected , if you will, in the next zip code. Suddenly, I felt the obligation to visit each and every office worker within a half-mile radius and offer my sincere apologies.
Culinary no-no #115 from June of 2009 came to mind. Here’s an excerpt:
In my early days working at the state Capitol in Madison in charge of media relations for state Senate Republicans, I worked in the same office with Katy Crooks. A lawyer, Crooks is the daughter of state Supreme Court Justice Pat Crooks.
On a rather warm spring day in Madison (they actually have spring in the state capital), Crooks brought her lunch to work. It was one of those frozen diet chicken, noodles, and sauce deals. You got it. Yuck.
Inside the communal microwave the cheapo lunch went, and it didn’t take long before something was obviously wrong, very wrong.
Imagine a raw egg in an unwashed sock inside an old jar of pickled herring under a porch in the woods in northern Wisconsin in the middle of August. Or, if that’s too much, just some dead animal.
Our office had rather large windows…that didn’t open.
Since it was already right around lunchtime, most of the workers had left. The others departed quickly. Paint was peeling. The carpet was curling. Eyes were running.
Crooks shrugged the episode off with an, “Oh, well,” and sauntered off to find carry-out. The darn near toxic fumes lingered and lingered. An old aunt’s Avon was nowhere near as bad.
Certainly Crooks didn’t mean to pop a chicken de-lite gone bad frozen entrée into the microwave, stink up the whole place and then take a quick powder to avoid further embarrassment. But I don’t recall hearing an “I’m sorry, guys” either.
Fast forward to, once again, August of 2011.
The Wall Street Journal. Front page headline at the top of the page.
The Reader’s Digest version: DO NOT EAT LUNCH AT THE WORKPLACE.
From the Wall Street Journal:
“More than half of full-time employees in the U.S. eat at their desks at least once a week, according to a survey last year of 4,498 employees by jobs website CareerBuilder.com. And in their quest to be super-productive, never-missing-a-beat workers at their desks, office havoc can erupt. Seemingly otherwise normal, perfectly mannered, even buttoned-up executives can slurp, lick their lips or leave grubby plasticware around the office.”
No mention of aromatic gyros, but there’s plenty more from the WSJ here.
That’s this week’s rather lengthy prelude to a series of no-no incidents that are worse than what I had to endure many years ago in Madison.
CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES