Office Offences: Part One; WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

Why is it ok to treat the office kitchen like crap? And why does basic etiquette and luch-room rules seem nonexistent in your place of employment? In this multi-part “rant“, the Fed Up team explores the work-place kitchen and why “the golden rule” does not seem to apply there.


Take a peek inside the "no-mans-land" that is your office's break-room fridge. Just be prepared for the sights and smells you are going to come across.

You would never leave food rotting in your fridge at home. Well actually I do, but I solve that problem with making these…or by pawning the old food off on dinner guests. But it seems like all work-place break-rooms and office kitchens are exempt from the social norms and requirements that are practiced everywhere else.

Our office  break-room has got some very interesting items always lying around. I am pretty sure a lot of this stuff is the culinary equivalent of U.F.O.s and should be banned to Area 51. I am not culturally ignorant, I understand that foods from around the world can differ widely from a typical American tuna sandwich. But some of the items I have discovered in our office kitchen were just TOO far out there, and really could have come from Mars.

We do have a very culturally diverse workforce in our office building, but still I think there needs to be a limit to what is acceptable in the public kitchen. Some items smell nasty from the moment they are bought into the building… but their smell gets ridiculously bad after a few days of being neglected and left to putrefy in the bowels of the office kitchen.  I really do wonder what sort of magical power is possessed by ALL office kitchens, that causes people to forget about the food they brought to work that morning. There is some type of vortex or Bermuda-Triangle effect taking place in office kitchens that just leaves people completely oblivious to the fact that food goes bad.  The entire building soon reeks due to people’s inability to remember to eat their own damn lunches or at least toss them out before they turn into unidentifiable piles of mold. But fine, I eat stinky cheese and plenty of garlic, so I can deal with the smells of other people’s food…well at least before the rot sets in.

Seriously, I have no freaking clue what this is. I came across it when pulling my simple sandwich out of the fridge, and was completely dumbfounded trying to guess if this was food that had transformed due to excessive "aging" or was actually intended to look the slimy mess that it was. ...I hope the owner of this meal did not see me taking pictures of their food. That would be slightly awkward.

Then there are some foods that may not smell, but certainly do NOT belong in the work place. TRUE STORY: there was a LIVE turtle the other day in our kitchen…and YES it was intended as someone’s meal. At first, being the grub obsessed guy that I am, I was only terrified that someone’s lunch may actually eat MY lunch. Then I saw the bigger picture and realized there is a freaking LIVE turtle in our kitchen that someone plans to eat. I am ok with the random gelatinous goo, funky fruit, expired entrees, and the rotting remains from old take-out. I just think it is a little extreme to start bringing in livestock for luch…It is completely unpractical because I am sure it will take longer than your half-hour break to prepare.

Other items have been banished to the back of the office freezer for such a long time now that they would have to be chiseled out of their icy enclave. These containers have been there so long that no one could possible still know what is inside, and I am sure the original owner has long since left this place of employment. So these frozen ice-cubes of lunches past, will remain pieces of history and forever reside in the kitchen…until a new fridge is bought, or they are excavated and added to the Smithsonian  Museum of National History.

Items that have been banished to the freezer are rarely ever retrieved. They become artifacts that can now educate us on the evolution of weekday lunches, beginning with the early Paleolithic era to present day.

Sometimes our office kitchen is graced by the presence of fruit…but unfortuantly people often bring mashed and molding produce. It seems to me that my colleagues woke up one morning, said to themselves after searching their home fridge, “this crap is going bad here at my house, so lets just bring it to the office and hope someone else is desperate  enough to munch on it”…. I guess charity is a nice idea, but I am pretty sure you would get poisoned if you ate any produce THAT old.

So leave the unidentifiable foods , live animals, rotting fruit, and last-week’s leftovers at home…or at least hide it in a brown bag so it gets overlooked and blends in with everyone else lunch (but that won’t help the smell though).


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Categories: Rants

Author:Mr. Fed Up

A guy looking for good grub. and YES....I have a website...and I am not going to bore you with one of those personal journal type of blogs. I promise. Check it out;


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27 Comments on “Office Offences: Part One; WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?”

  1. April 19, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    So true and very gross

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      I get disgusted sometimes just walking into that kitchen.

  2. April 19, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    I’d love a follow up on the live turtle. OH EM GEE!

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:09 am #


      Let’s just say the new company policy is that NO live animals can be eaten on the premises- ha

      But seriously though. The turtle was just purposely flipped on its shell with its legs in the air so it could not crawl away. Has got to be one of the strangest things that our kitchen has ever seen.

  3. April 19, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I’d love a followup on the live turtle. OH EM GEE!

  4. April 19, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    OMG, I know the name of photo 2, that is called ‘bánh cuốn’ in my country, but it actually not that bad, just because it was set in fridge too long 😀 and had the fried onions smell

    can’t help laughing when see that photo

    • April 19, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Ding-Ding-Ding! We have a winner!

      Seriously thank you for telling me what this stuff is. I kept on trying to figure it out. There is actually quite a few Vietnamese people who work in my office, I am sure it was one of their lunches. Sometimes they bring the best smelling stuff in the world and I get jealous…other times the foods they have brought in really smelled so strong that even my lunch begun to taste like their food.

      once again, THANK YOU for telling us what mystery item #2 was.

  5. April 19, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Since most of my co-workers are women, who do speak their mind, we have set up some kitchen / fridge ground rules. No more that 3 days in the fridge otherwise its given to the guard dog or tossed out. Nothing that is too smelly like fish, boiled eggs can be brought in already cooked but a candle must be lite. Burning something is extremely frowned upon, especially since our marvelous air vents (sarcasm intended) will circulate the odor throughout the office, offending everyone. We each have our own drawer and section both in the fridge and in the cupboards, so foods don’t just go missing. We do have condiments supplied by the company, since we have company cookouts and parties every couple of months. Except for me (Calif native) the rest are all from the South and tend to eat similar foods so we don’t have the problem of trying to guess what the item is. Tho I have worked at other places with a more diversified personnel – I know how that can be when it comes to foreign foods – its anyone’s guess.

    • April 19, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Hey Barbie, I like your company’s ground rules. Seems to make sense. Sadly, I don’t see that ever happening here. Just too many people, with too many taste preferences.

      And I am VERY jealous of you having your own private drawers…food is constantly getting stolen here…stay tuned for a future “rant” in this multi-part series dedicated to that specific topic.

  6. April 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    At our work we have to initial and date everything that goes into the fridge. Then when things get incredibly gross and moldy (maybe every six months) someone goes through and throws out old and undated things. Someone always gets mad because their fresh item they forgot to date gets thrown away but at least the fridge is clean for a little while!

    • April 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Wow, that seems very civilized. It would be great if more places had some sort of policy. Here, things don’t get thrown out…EVER.

  7. April 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    It is like a science experiment. What I really despise is pot luck day and as the receptionist somehow it is my job to clean it up and store the leftovers in the science experiment fridge. How about the waste basket??? The last potluck I put blinders on and turned off the light and went home for the day – ha! Have a Great Day – loving your post!

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      I could NEVER clean up after the rest of the office. I am worried I could potentially catch something. It really is nasty. Ha

      I truly feel bad for you that they would expect you to take care of clean up….but if the leftovers are good, then it might be worth it…right?

      Thanks for reading!

  8. April 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Someone cleans out our work fridge weekly.. and I still manage to find science projecty things in the back from time to time. I once picked up a produce bag to shift it out of the way and my finger actually broke the skin of the rotten thing in the bag. Instant gagging. :/

    People are savages sometimes.

  9. April 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    At my company we received Fresh Turkey’s for Christmas. Some idiots complained about what to do with the Turkey until they got home? “How will I get this home before it thaws”. I say no more about that but it seemd that one individual left their turkey in the fridge through January and well, you can’t imagine the smell. Nobody would fess up to it being theirs and nodoby would be bold enough to remove it. Like – where can you put it without smelling?

    • April 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm #


      Reminds me of when I forgot to toss out the last of the homemade beans before I left for a month trip…came back to one nasty smelling fridge. Then I made the mistake of tossing them down the disposer…STUPID idea. The whole kitchen stunk for a LONG TIME. Each day for a week, I threw liquid soap with a strong lemon sent down the sink disposer to try and get the funk out.

      Mrs. Fed Up was not happy with me.

      • April 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

        :shakinghead: Only a man! Use whole lemons and maybe even some Clorox. Sorry if you don’t recognize me – I just changed the avatar!

      • April 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

        Haha. Ok, Next time I will be prepared. AND there WILL be a next time…I travel alot and I almost always seem to forget to toss out something before I leave….
        Thanks for the tip.

  10. April 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    I’ve seen the Vietnamese stuff before as well – they’re essentially sheets of rice pasta. Which don’t taste like very much, by themself… which is why there’s fried onions on there. Look around a bit more in the office kitchen, you’ll probably find a little bottle of soy sauce somewhere as well (or perhaps that’s what’s in that little cup?).

    Just because you don’t know it doesn’t mean others should stop eating it! Of course there are degrees… I’m sure most of my coworkers wouldn’t appreciate it if I brought in a Durian.

    • April 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Oh I do keep a VERY open mind…just when there are live turtles in the office kitchen or leftovers from last year that really gets me kind of concerned. To be honest, I probably bring in most of the “strange” and STINKY foods.

      Oh…and there is at least 4 or 5 various bottles of soy/oyster/fish/etc sauces scattered in the kitchen.

  11. April 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Also, walking in the shoes of your coworkers… they must consider your yoghurt with peanut butter pretty alien too!

    • April 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Yep… I get plenty of awkward stares. You should see the questions I get when I start stuffing a sweet potato for lunch. I fill the thing with EVERYTHING you can imagine. Taste REAL good, but is definitely far from the “normal” brown bagged lunches.

      Really the neglected/forgotten food in the work fridge that has developed layers of mold is what actually gets me frustrated. I keep worrying my stuff will get “contaminated”

  12. April 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    What I’d like to know is how the turtle eater planned to cook the thing.

    I have to say that the fridge at my office is usually pretty good, but then again there are just 5 of us using this mini-fridge and no cultural diversity at all. My complaint right now is that there is a container of soup in there that has been there for probably 2 months now. The owner of the soup admits every few days that it needs to be tossed but just hasn’t gotten around to it.

    • April 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      That soup sounds pretty gross. Worse then the yogurt in our fridge that has been expired for several months now.

      Oh, and no comment on the turtle. I try not to think about it too much.


  1. Offece Offense Part 2: Who STOLE My Lunch? | Fed Up Food - May 4, 2012

    […] Just bring in something so nasty that people rather just steal another co-workers (although you TOO may end up becoming just another […]

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