Good Food Blog
Smelly lunch? You're firedPosted at 12:30PM, 18 May 2010 by Claire Webb - Writer
We all know that a proper lunch results in a healthier, happier worker. We're aware that our colleagues on the continent would strike at anything less than three courses and a glass of vino. And yet dining "al desko" is more common than a Ploughman's. When deadlines approach, and the alternative is an overpriced cafe, a windowless staff kitchen or shivering under slate-grey summer skies, a desktop picnic is often the most attractive option.
It may not appear quite as attractive to your neighbour, however. Ever been distracted from that all-important Excel spreadsheet by the heady fumes of a co-worker's curry? Or had to avert your eyes from her mouldering apple cores and orange peel? More disturbingly, have you ever sat down at a new desk to discover that it's sticky? On my first day, I tipped the keyboard upside down to dislodge my predecessor's crumbs and a milky liquid drip, drip, dripped out - a long ago spilled cup of tea, or so I hoped.
Once a week, the cleaner must brave that festering no man's land: the office fridge
If you've occasionally reason to wrinkle your nose, spare a thought for the cleaner. Once a week, after we've waltzed home for dinner, the cleaner must brave that festering no man's land: the office fridge. Gingerly, he picks his way among sell-by-dates, wrestling sour yoghurt, crusty houmous and that pungent gunge on the top shelf, which might have been salad in another lifetime.
Even worse than the fridge offenders are the food bores. The fellow who, between slobbering mouthfuls, boasts about his holier-than-thou sarnie: lettuce from his allotment, organic tomato, hand-reared ham from the farmer's market... You've disliked him ever since he declined a slice of your Victoria sponge because the jam wasn't homemade.
Just as irritating is the chronic dieter. When she's not wittering on about how bread makes her dreadfully bloated, darling, she's repenting the all-butter croissant that she ate for breakfast. Mind you, at least she's so far steered clear of the cabbage soup diet. My mother - who works in a hospital - recalls with a wince the time when an entire ward of nurses tried it. One patient feigned a stroke in a desperate bid to escape his malodorous carers.
This daily onslaught of icky smells and unappetising chitchat cannot continue. I hereby propose a luncheon code of conduct to which every office worker must adhere. It should include a blanket ban on peanut butter, egg sandwiches, whiffy cheese, smoked fish, curry and pickled onion crisps. Fruit is only to be eaten with rubber gloves. Dieters must suffer in silence. Sound severe? Open the fridge door and take a deep sniff... You'll soon sign up.