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Food at work

Some of you may know me from the post "I Cannot Eat "Strangers'" Food"
in which I divulged a family phobia of not being able to eat at potluck dinners, bake sales, holiday parties at work where people bring in homemade food, etc.

This post is sort of an offshoot/pet peeve. I work for a very large nationally known company at their headquarters in NYC. There are over 100 people just on my floor alone. We occupy almost 10 floors in this building. Today, I walked into our pantry on my floor to find this! (see picture) Really. Is this appetizing at all? It seems whenever there is a meeting of the higher ups and food is catered, the leftovers get left in the pantry for people to "fight" over. I have actually been know to even eat some of this once in a while when it looks good and I know where it is from. But this? The crumbs on the table? Who would put this out and think anyone would want to eat it? And more often than not, this is the kind of stuff that gets left out. You should see a cake after people have been at it! Is there no respect for food anymore?

Or am I just crazy?

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  1. Looks like someone took it out of it's original container and plopped it on that plate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: juliejulez

      Probably what was left over from a much larger multi-serving container. Trashed the bulky container, placed the remaining single(?) serving on a plate.

      Yeah, I wouldn't eat it, but from what I've seen, I'm sure someone will, so at least they were kind enough to leave it out for those less grossed out.

      By the way, I suffer from the same phobia. I can't even eat at buffets.

    2. I feel you. Sometimes I make scones and put a plate of them near the espresso machine for staff. People will walk by the plate and pick off a chunk of a scone, leaving the remnants on the plate, presumably for everyone else to pick at. Jeezus, people, just take one! Or don't, but who wants half eaten mangled pastry? I think it is kind of rude and gross.

      3 Replies
      1. re: babette feasts

        How awful, maybe cut them in halves and quarters beforehand.

        1. re: Custardly

          When I put out baked goods from home I always leave a few plastic knives next to the plate so people get the idea. Some people can really be animals and it disgusts me.

        2. re: babette feasts

          Yeah, the same at my work - people do it to donuts. Even though they cut donuts, still gross, especially when there is no knife in sight. Sheesh, just take whole and throw away what's left.

        3. That was a dumb thing to leave out. Kind of insulting, I agree with you Maybe somebody took most of a salad and left the "crumbs" behind so they could tell themselves they didn't eat it all.

          1. I understand. I work at a corporate office for a major company as well. On our floor we have the largest conference room so we get all the visiting national groups as well as any larger functions.

            I think most of the time it's with the best intentions to put the left over catered food in the break room for us. Like saying "Hey thanks for letting us use your conference room, and being noisy and causing such foot traffic, etc. "

            Sometimes its nice. I don't mind a nice platter of Petits Fours or a fruit platter intact. We see a lot of sandwich making platters which are fine provided everyone be neat enough not to destroy it.

            What I see looks like the leafy greens of a salad no one wanted to eat. and it's sloppy.

            Someone brought in catfood once. I think it was an effort to give away food of a cat that had passed or they no longer had. But many jokes were made of that.

            Also my husband was working in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and he brought me a king cake to take to work. I brought a nice knife that would cut it nicely and everyone was neat. One problem no one would own up to having the baby. And then I laughed due to our large ethnic employee population wondered if they didn't understand why there was a baby in the cake. I probably scared someone to death. LOL

            1. I like potlucks and have no issue with sharing leftover food but that unappetizing mess is rather insulting. Donuts, cookies, sandwiches, no problem, but keep it neat.

              1. Just read your old thread, which reminds me of a old joke. (N.B. Anyone without a strong stomach should stop reading.)Eating in a diner, I tasted the best hamburger I had ever eaten. I asked the waitress if I could compliment the chef. She took me into the kitchen, where I saw a man standing in front of the grill stark naked. He grabbed a handful of ground beef, slapped it under his armpit, squeezed his arm down to flatten it, and tossed it on the grill! 'That's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen.' The waitress replied, 'You haven't seen him make the doughnuts!'

                1. Today, someone left a small bag of tater tots in our breakroom--I think they were the "hash browns" you get at Dunkin Donuts. There were maybe 3 tots in the bag. I wonder if someone ate them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    People do things like that here too! Amazing! The thing is, someone here would definitely eat them. Can't the person just eat the rest or give them to a coworker friend?

                  2. Count me in as thinking it's insulting. That's just rude! What are they hazing the plebes? Showering the Bourgeoisie with their crumbs?
                    What largess! What a magnanimous gesture!
                    Eh, shove it.

                    1. Some of the grossest things get left in our pantry at work and believe it or not they get eaten! Recently on a Monday morning there was half a birthday cake, leftover from someone's kid's bday party that weekend (had it been refrigerated? had kids breathed on it? who knows...) the kitchen staff sliced it and plated it and it slowly disappeared throughout the morning.
                      I like it when there are leftovers from a catered lunch, its usually chinese or bbq and although I have seen the head of our firm take a dumpling with his fingers (and olives from the salad bar!) I will eat it anyway...maybe its good luck if it was touched by him? Ha! Or a box of chocolates sent by a broker and put in the pantry to share, yes please! But the random homemade things or tuna salad sandwiches still in the pantry at 4PM from a noon meeting, I'll pass.
                      By the way, yes that was me I cut that donut/bagel in half...I only wanted half and didn't want to waste the other half and when I went back into the pantry my half was gone while there were still whole ones left so I'd say it was beneficial! I used a knife and didn't touch it, I promise!

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                        Ew, the birthday cake! All I can think about is some strange kid blowing out the candles and spitting all over the cake.

                        1. re: monavano

                          Speaking of cake...over the holidays we had a Hanukkah party and someone made/ordered a somewhat elaborate fondant-covered cake depicting a temple. I believe this party was on a Thursday or Friday. When I came in on the following Monday (I get in around 8:10 am), there were pieces of fondant-covered cake pretty much in the same place they were the previous week. This means the cake was left out all weekend...when no one is here at work. Disgusting.

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            Fondant is gross. Looks good, but yuck. Give me a nice buttercream or cream cheese frosting any day!

                        2. re: WhatsEatingYou

                          < Recently on a Monday morning there was half a birthday cake, leftover from someone's kid's bday party that weekend (had it been refrigerated? had kids breathed on it? who knows.>

                          I never refrigerate cake. I don't have kids around to breathe on it, though, nor do I allow birthday candle blowouts (on the rare occasion that it does happen to be a birthday cake). But any cake I make will last a day or two without refrigeration.

                          However, after reading this thread, it is doubtful I would ever bring anything to work for the people there to eat, something I did all the time in years past, usually on Monday mornings. I never had any idea doing so could be greeted with such hostility.

                          1. re: Jay F

                            We are talking about "tossing" food that looks half eaten out to the masses. When someone brings something in that looks edible, tells us about it and offers plates, etc. that is fine and welcomed. Look at the picture I posted. We are talking about food presented in an unappetizing way that just comes out of nowhere. In the OP's case that you cite, no one knew the particulars. You obviously care about food from what you posted; I started this post about people who disregard food and expect others to eat it. There's a big differenece. Please do not be offended.

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              Hi, Tommy -

                              I'll stipulate that all you say is true. But one of the things I've always remembered about you -- and your name makes you memorable, as one of my best friends' names is Tommy -- is your aversion to eating food made by other people. I think that may have been on my mind in addition to everything else to which I'm stipulating.

                              Also, know that it actually wasn't *your* contribution to the thread that grossed me out to the point where I felt the need to respond.

                              So...no offense taken.

                              1. re: Jay F

                                "But one of the things I've always remembered about you -- and your name makes you memorable, as one of my best friends' names is Tommy -- is your aversion to eating food made by other people. "

                                Absolutely true and I linked that thread in my original post way up top. I may have an aversion to eating the food others bring in, but I do not deny my coworkers who enjoy this ritual. I just want people to be aware that no matter how good their intentions may be, presentation and good old safe food handling basics should also figure into it. Thanks.

                                Peace :)

                            2. re: Jay F

                              Oh please, really? Yes, folks will throw your food in your face, after they spit on it.
                              Then, they'll gossip about you behind your back and make a Facebook page called JayF's Crappy Food.

                              1. re: monavano

                                <Then, they'll gossip about you behind your back and make a Facebook page called JayF's Crappy Food.>

                                Actually, at the workplace where I used to bring a cake or bread on Monday mornings, there was someone in my department who probably would have done things like that if there'd been Facebook at the time.

                                Fortunately, she was one of my biggest food fans.

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  A good thing!
                                  Seriously, it's great when your cooking and baking is appreciated at work. I'm finding that I'm actually a baker! I really like it but with just me and DH, well, we'd be rolling if we ate all I bake.
                                  Practice makes perfect, however, so I bake what and when I want and most of it goes to DH's work and my neighbors. They are always very appreciative.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    When I started buying kitchen stuff, I lived alone, and I liked to cook and bake on the weekends, so I decided to make some kind of cake or breakfast bread on Sunday nights, and bring it in to a generally appreciative crowd. The only objections I was aware of were from the anorexia-bulimia crowd (of two).

                          2. that is really unappealing.

                            1. I am often astounded at the leftovers that my coworkers will eat. I guess we are all overworked, starved resident physicians, but still. I know for a fact at least 25% of them would gobble up that pile of "stuff."

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                Blame sleep deprivation and generally being very poor!

                              2. The latest "offering" from coworkers. Yes, this was really left out with the intention that people should fee free to have some. I kid you not.

                                4 Replies
                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        now, to be really honest -- if you have to guess what it is, and your guesses span several food groups? Ehhh, no.

                                  1. I've seen plates a couple of times (and sadly have left a couple) that were not intended as a help-yourself....more that I was having lunch in the breakroom, had to answer an important call, one thing after another, and next thing I know it's 4:30 and my lunch is still sitting uneaten in the breakroom, because I was going to come right back and finish it....four hours ago.

                                    It may have been less of an insult than evidence of a day that has likely been worse than yours....you're in the breakroom grossing yourself out, while the owner of the plate's day is still attached to the phone, watching the last of their day circle the drain. and they still never got lunch.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      If you are addressing this to me and the two pictures I've posted sunshine842, they are definitely food that was left intended to be shared by others. Both were put out after functions where there was leftover food. My gripe is that if it is intended for sharing then maybe it should look like something someone would want to eat, and not just some crummy leftovers. It's insulting and not at all appetizing.

                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        I've also worked at places that if you had put the above-mentioned cat food on a paper plate, somebody would have eaten it.

                                        (this is the place where we caught the lunch thief red-handed, with her mouth full of someone else's lunch. No, she wasn't underpaid. )

                                        Some people aren't bothered by appearance, or seemingly by basic food-safety recommendations.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          We've had our fair share of lunch thieves here too.