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Thursday, December 18, 2008

No such thing as free lunch

The holidays bring about many opportunities to break bread with different groups of folks. Unfortunately for me, that includes multiple occasions that involve eating with my coworkers.

First, there was our Thanksgiving luncheon. The most Thanks I had to be giving involved the fact that it was only our department. Me and five guys. We all brought something in and I was in charge of dessert. One guy brought in chips and soda. One brought in a delicious pasta salad. My boss, who lives by the mantra "anything worth doing is worth overdoing", picked up 4 massive subs (they were cut in thirds, nobody ate more than a third), more chips, and cookies. Another guy brought in a pumpkin pie (which, umm, I was in charge of dessert, punk!). And the final guy brought in Brunswick stew.

For those of you not familiar with Brunswick stew, here's a recipe. The taste isn't awful but the smell is like rotting meat like dog chow atrocious and the consistency in your mouth is mealy like a rotten apple. And that's not the worst part. When my boss questioned him about the half-eaten bag of corn chips he also brought in, he said those were to go on top of the stew. He was going to stop and pick up a new bag but (brace yourself) since his family had eaten more of the stew than he realized, he didn't have much stew left to bring in anyways. Am I the only one that finds that revolting? It's potluck, not leftovers. His family ate that stuff all week apparently after they made it for a church fundraiser the previous weekend. Nasty.

Then there's our company-wide holiday luncheon. The Human Resources department goes absolutely insane to make sure it's "holiday" and not "Christmas". Which is then followed up by the actual event opening in prayer and one employee singing a song that was not only overtly Christian but wasn't even a Christmas song. I'm not anti-church by any means but good grief! Then they manage to drag the lunch out to two hours in ways that leave just about everyone there feeling inappropriate and harassed. And there's not even any alcohol to lessen the sting!

And finally, today was our department Christmas lunch. This year, the boss decided we would go out. We went to a nice local chain bar and the food was delicious. The problem was the company I was dining with. My boss has bronchitis, diagnosed just yesterday. He spent the entire meal gagging and coughing. Two other coworkers also seem to be coming down with it. One has a sore throat and they're both hacking up a lung as well. And I had the pleasure of riding in an elevator and vehicles with them, in addition to eating my meal in close proximity. Then of course they all spent the entire meal talking about football and what a crock global warming is.

I guess I should just be glad we didn't do potluck again. I wouldn't have been able to eat with everyone sick like that, knowing they had prepared food. And given the world right now, I should also be happy I have a job, especially one that tortures poisons provides me with social eating opportunities.

10 comments:

angi_b72 said...

...about the leftover stew....YUCK!! lol

cw2smom said...

I second what angi said! Gross! Were there any takers? Hopefully, everyone filled up on the sandwiches and were just too full to enjoy his stew. Are you sure the smell was because that's just the way that stew smells? Or was it because it was OLD? LOL! Blessings, Lisa

Call Me Cate said...

Coworker brought in the stew once before when I had the "misfortune" of being out that day. According to everyone else, it smelled like that last time too. Ewww. I think he's about the only one that ate any of it. So gross. I have a fear of buffets anyways and now potluck will terrify me as well.

andrea said...

I have an issue eating food by people who I wouldn't even want to share a bathroom with. The whole stew thing brings back memories of a co-worker whose mother had thought the margarine container on the counter was just that: margarine. Turns out it was leftover stew...needless to say he was vomiting within an hour. Firstly, stew has never been the same for me since then. Secondly, who leaves margarine out of the fridge? And my word verification is "outsh"...is that a drunk way to say "ouch"? Get togethers with co-workers can be disconcerting. 'Cause we need anything else to be disconcerted about.

A. said...

People are just plain weird. Seriously. I feel like I have been saying "Who does that?!" all day...

The stew sounds absolutely nasty.

Lyndsay said...

Okay, potlucks creep me out. Seriously. We have them all the time at work. I'm a little cautious about the food I ingest, and honestly, don't trust eating stuff that every Tom, Dick, and Harry brings in.

Leftovers? That about takes the cake!

Call Me Cate said...

Andrea - I had a bad experience once as a kid with Dinty Moore Beef Stew. I can't even smell it now without feeling queasy.

A. - That's been the reaction of most people. And now I know the answer. Who does that? My coworker. If only that was all he did.

Lyndsay - I'm careful about potlucks as well but I always assumed the things being brought in were at least "fresh", even if they weren't prepared with perfectly clean hands or whatever. To be actual LEFTOVERS? I can just picture his wife hauling the bowl out to the kitchen counter and eating straight from it with a spoon. Vomit.

SisterFriend said...

That was so disgusting about the Brunswick stew, who does that? And your coworkers need to stay home when they are sick. Merry Christmas, have bronchitis! Idiots.

The Tildy Spot said...

I laughed out loud with utter disbelief and disgust over the stew story. What in the world was he thinking?! And his wife let him do that? Wow!

I do need to put in a plug here for Brunswick stew. I am orginigally from Virginia, not to far from Brunswick, the home of said stew. When done correctly, it does not smell, taste, or feel like dog food. It's actually more of a glorified old fashioned beef stew. But now that this crazy co-worker of yours has given you a totally justifiable mental block against said stew, I completely understand your aversion to it.

I'm very picky when I have to participate in a potluck. If I don't know who brought it, I probably won't eat it. As a result, I usually leave such events hungrier than when I arrived.

Hope you don't get bronchitis!

Call Me Cate said...

SisterFriend - my coworkers are not always the brightest color in the rainbow...

Tildy - I'll have to take your word for it. I fear I've been scarred for life. :(