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Apr 15, 2011 09:53 AM

reheating fish at work... faux pas?

It's Friday
It's Lent
I don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent

I had leftover breadded haddock and pierogies from last night's dinner, it's a mild fish

one thin filet and three pierogies

zapped it (no toaster oven) for 1 minute 30 seconds, stepped away during that time to grab mail, etc...
I was completely called out for heating fish up in the microwave at work.

Ok, so they made a joke of it, but I could tell that there was some resentment in that laughter.

so I eat stinky foods, I remember getting "the look" while eating Korean in the lunch room too

Is reheating fish at work still considered a faux pas???

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  1. For me, it's right up there with microwave popcorn, and I like fish. I'm a bit sensitive though, we have very limited space, and the shared microwave at work is in my office.

    21 Replies
    1. re: mpjmph

      What's the deal with microwave popcorn? I can understand the complaints about fish and stinky foods that don't smell pleasant while being nuked, but microwave popcorn smells great. Is it just that the smell of the popcorn makes other people hungry?

      1. re: TuteTibiImperes

        I find that a lot of people think microwave popcorn stinks. I know most of the people around my office hate the smell of it (including me). And it lingers in the air so long, that you are stuck smelling it for far too long.

        1. re: Sooeygun

          +1- it smells horrible to me (and I love popcorn) and lingers for hours and hours.

          1. re: EWSflash

            Hmm. I just made a bag of microwave popcorn to test the smell.... and it still smells great to me, I guess it's just one of those things. I didn't realize some people really hated it, I always thought the 'is somebody cooking popcorn' type comments were of the playful 'oh, I smell baking cookies but I'm on a diet' variety.

            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

              I am one where the smell of popcorn disgusts me....I can't even eat popcorn anymore due to the smell of it cooking. I find the smell truly repulsive.

              1. re: jenscats5

                +1, particularly the fakey, butter stuff that everyone makes. I can eat real popcorn that I make on the stove at home, but that microwave stuff just stinks so bad, and it does linger and linger forever. When I was PG, it literally sent me to the bathroom with puke in my mouth.

            2. re: EWSflash

              +2. i can't stand the smell of bagged microwave popcorn, and it lingers in the air *and* in the microwave.

              and to the OP, yes, nuking fish at the office is a bad idea. it's one of those odors you really can't control, and many people find it offensive.

            3. re: Sooeygun

              I like some of it, but the brand in our vending machine smells dreadful. And even worse when somebody sets the timer on the microwave and walks off, scorching the bag.

            4. re: TuteTibiImperes

              Microwaved popcorn smells like chemicals. It's disgusting, oily and hangs in the air forever. It is just totally selfish to heat it up and make everyone else smell it for an hour.
              Blech. Should be banned.

              1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                There are some brands of MW popcorn that smell fine, others that literally smell like vomit (Paul Newman's, for example) while they are cooking. I think most of them taste okay, though, once you get past that vomit smell.

                1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                  I love the smell of popcorn in general, but I find most microwave popcorn has a very acrid smell. In my experience it's also prone to burning in office settings, which makes the smell even worse.

                  1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                    "I can understand the complaints about fish and stinky foods that don't smell pleasant while being nuked, but microwave popcorn smells great." I think so too, and couldn't imagine anyone disliking it until I met the current Mrs. O. She finds the smell repellent - not just the microwaved stuff, but theater popcorn, grilled fresh corn, whatever. So you can't make such broad assumptions.

                    One common problem with office lunch rooms is they tend to be both tiny and badly ventilated, and that microwave oven gets cleaned HOW often? Usually only after someone's goat-and-turnip casserole explodes in it. I used to bring any and all of my favorite leftovers (and BOY do I love me some stinky food!), but then I was an inconsiderate food snob. Well, I still am a bit of a food snob, but if I were still inhabiting an office environment I would leave the fish or kimchi at home, or else eat it cold. That is actually not a bad thing to do with fish - bring a ziplock of salad greens, another with the fish, a small jar of dressing and a bowl. Breaded fish is probably not the best choice for this, though!

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      But.....but I thought everyone LOVED my goat and turnip casserole! I try to hide in the less occupied parts of the building or outdoors (if weather allows) to eat my stankiest favorites....

                    2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                      I can't stand the smell of microwaved popcorn; smells like feet to me.

                      I have a friend who worked for a major French-owned company and she said microwaved popcorn was banned from their offices because the French find this smell offensive. And this coming from the land of stinky cheeses!

                      1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                        I think it's that, whether you love or hate the smell, it smells really strong and lingers. It's the food equivalent of spreading out and taking up three seats on the subway... just a little out of proportion.

                        Luckily, my coworkers are very friendly to microwave popcorn :)

                        1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                          After having a room mate who make no other food, and after having the cube next to the kitchen, I have to say I hate the smell of microwave popcorn. Especially since I was in an office of gifted people who managed to burn it at least twice a week. Then there was the time black billowing smoke poured out of the kitchen as someone set the timer for 20 minutes and then left the kitchen. After I pleaded with the office manager, she agreed to not order any popcorn for the office. It's a bad smell, and it does linger for a while, and when you get to smell it 3 times a day you get pretty sick of it.

                          And yes, reheating fish is an office faux pas.

                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                            In my experience, the popcorn can be easily burned. Even if it isn't burned, the smell lingers for the rest of the day. If you want to stay friends with your co workers, don't make popcorn in the staff micro!

                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                              The office smells like popcorn for the whole day, maybe even beyond. Not the proper work environment.

                              1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                Microwave popcorn smells like chemicals, not food. That's the deal with it.

                                I don't even microwave fish at home, it smells so bad.

                                1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                  The smell of microwave popcorn really makes me nauseous! Not sure about the smeil of microwaved fish. I like popcorn ( not microwaved), and I love fish- though I have never nuked it.

                              2. Yeah, it was a gaffe. FTR, you don't have to eat fish on Friday if you're avoiding meat. You can simply go vegetarian on that day, at least when it comes to the office microwave.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Isolda

                                  in a hurry, it was just easier to throw the leftovers into my lunch bag and take off for work but you're right about the non-fish options

                                2. big gaffe! P-U!!
                                  (am sure you're otherwise considerate)

                                  1. It depends upon your work place. The area I work in is very diverse so the microwave has food heated up from cuisines from around the world. We are fortunate to have a large area where aromas dissipate quickly.

                                    Since your coworkers called you out, I would say yes it's a faux pas.
                                    What I've done with strong food is wrap in a bag or saran wrap to minimize the aromas being sucked out and blown around the room by the microwave's fan. Also, I believe foods heat much faster when covered tightly.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      Other than microwave popcorn, most of the people in my office don't care either. Or at least don't care enough to bother complaining. We have a very diverse staff, so one minute it's Indian, then Thai, then Chinese, etc. And we have a good fan in the kitchen.

                                      The only person that ever mutters about the smells, likes to eat canned chicken noodle soup, which I think smells horrible.

                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                        Maybe the trick is to heating up fish in the microwave is to cook/burn some popcorn afterward. No more fishy smell. lol.