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 Food theme days at work?

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  • Total Posts: 4710
  • Joined: 11/5/2004
  • Location: Stoughton, WI
Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 9:44 AM (permalink)
Today is the annual chili contest here at work and even though it's nearly 3 hours until lunch the aroma's already wafting down from the upstairs break room.  Usually about 8-10 people bring in chili while others contribute bread, butter, milk, desserts, etc.; I bring in my wife's bread machine and cook up a loaf of fresh cornbread right in my office.
Does anybody else work in a place that does something similar?

    • Total Posts: 6205
    • Joined: 3/22/2003
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 10:45 AM (permalink)
    I'm a restaurant chef so unfortunately every day is a food theme day.  We get sick of looking at filet mignons, king crab, lobsters, etc. but would kill for a tuna salad sandwich!

      • Total Posts: 1787
      • Joined: 3/23/2008
      • Location: Minot, ND
      Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 11:03 AM (permalink)
      I also have had Chili cookoffs at work.  When you're in a large office with people who have grown up from all over the country, the spread hits just about every regional variation you can imagine.  You get the good, bad, and ugly.
      It was also my first experience with a real Texas compitition chili.  Meat chunks, chili gravy, not much else but a lot of flavor.
      We also once had a day where you brought in something you grew up with.  It had to be a favorite family recipe from your youth.

        • Total Posts: 2835
        • Joined: 3/14/2003
        • Location: Fox River Valley, IL
        Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 12:41 PM (permalink)
        When we built our new engineering office many years ago, we built in a fully equipped kitchen! Now that's some serious foodies! We would do pretty elaborate lunches for all the holidays and everyone's birthday. Everyone either chipped in or brought something and our one secretary who used to be a ranch bunkhouse cook would do all the cooking. We had some great meals! Sadly her husband got transferred and nobody was up for taking over so we'd do occasional pot lucks after that. 

          • Total Posts: 3289
          • Joined: 12/13/2003
          • Location: Near Grand Rapids, MI
          Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 12:47 PM (permalink)
          The closest we come is occasionally creating a holiday dinner because we have to work. One year we deep fried a turkey on the loading dock, and everyone brought the sides to go with it (typically we're doing a show over Thanksgiving, and more often than not on Christmas as well). More than once we've done a similar thing with a roast in a crock pot. Sometimes we grill between shows.
          The best one was not at work, but when I was on the state union label council. Every Christmas at our meeting we would do a potluck, with the caveat that you had to bring the recipe, and all ingredients had to be union-made, Michigan-made. Michigan-made was negotiable, union-made was not.

            • Total Posts: 7591
            • Joined: 4/17/2005
            • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
            Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 1:47 PM (permalink)
            Wait a minute!  You have a bread machine  (wife's) and you actually use it?
            In my place of business we would have grill days, barbecue days, salmon days and chicken days.
            Some days would just be jerky.

              • Total Posts: 4710
              • Joined: 11/5/2004
              • Location: Stoughton, WI
              Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 1:59 PM (permalink)
              Of course!  More often in the winter, when we like to have soup and fresh bread for Sunday supper.
              We used to have a cookout or 2 every year (coinciding with 25-year awards, etc.) but the last couple of times the food's been catered.
              The cornbread was good and of the 8 different chilis I sampled there was only 1 that I didn't particularly care for.  This year I planned ahead and brought in 1 of the compartmentalized bowls that the kids used when they were little so that I could sample 3 chilis at once without any cross-contamination.

                • Total Posts: 508
                • Joined: 3/24/2009
                • Location: Northern VA (the nasty Washington D.C. 'burbs part
                Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 2:34 PM (permalink)
                In the summer, our office does a cookout with grilled burgers and hotdogs.  (Some office employeess call the event a "barbecue", but you all know it's not barbecue.).
                Tomorrow, we are doing a T-Day themed pot luck. One guy is deep frying two turkeys.  He does this every year, and a does a great job.   

                  • Total Posts: 939
                  • Joined: 4/1/2008
                  • Location: Syracuse, NY
                  Re:Food theme days at work? Wed, 11/16/11 4:21 PM (permalink)
                  We used to have catered lunch every Friday, but the budget was cut, so now we do potlucks several times a year, sometimes with themes (Cinco de Mayo, Thanksgiving, etc.). We have a few really good cooks, so by the time lunch comes around, mostly everyone is chomping at the bit to follow the wonderful smells to the kitchen to pig out.

                    • Total Posts: 182
                    • Joined: 6/27/2004
                    • Location: Overland Park, KS
                    Re:Food theme days at work? Thu, 11/17/11 12:33 AM (permalink)
                    Where I used to work it was almost a policy that there would be a potluck every two weeks. We were open 7 days a week but the company cafeteria was closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so the potluck was either the Saturday or the Sunday after payday.
                    kland01s's comment about having a fully equipped kitchen at work brought to mind a story in the Kansas City Star a few years ago about a small company whose owners decided not only to build a full kitchen but also to feed their employees lunch everyday. What they decided to do was to set up a schedule in advance where everyone from the owner down to the lowest man/woman took their turn in the kitchen. At 10:00am that person went to the receptionist where they were handed $50 in order to go to the grocery store in order to buy groceries to feed 12-15 people. The company provided condiments, spices, and coffee & tea so they did not have to spend any money on those items. They had a few rules; no rotisserie or fried chicken; nothing out of the hotcase; prepared salads like potato salad were allowed; and no box meals (hamburger helper). Other then those rules the cook of the day was allowed complete leeway in their menu planning. Lunch was at noon and everyone sat down together. The whole idea was very successful, many of the employees took it as a challenge and started using their own money when $50 was not enough to make what they really wanted to make. When asked about those who weren't very good in the kitchen, they said that everyone had at least one dish that they did well. I remember reading the story and wishing that I worked there.

                      • Total Posts: 1559
                      • Joined: 2/4/2004
                      • Location: scotch plains, NJ
                      Re:Food theme days at work? Thu, 11/17/11 9:21 AM (permalink)
                      Several years ago, when my company was on it's "Celebrate Diversity" kick, my department came up with the idea of having ourselves an Ethnic Food day. Of the 30 people in my department, we probably represented about 20 different nationalities (pretty good, I'd say, for a white collar NY City Financial Corporation). Each person brought in food that represented thier background.
                      It was a huge success and we did it each year for a few years after that. To this day I still crave the Phillipino Roasted Potatoes and the Down Home Southern Mac n Cheese. And of course the Puerto Rican fried meat pies. Wow.
                      For the record, since I am of Italian and German background, and we already had a few Italians, my contribution was Bratwurst and Sauerkraut from a local German Butcher.
                        Michael Hoffman

                        • Total Posts: 17801
                        • Joined: 7/1/2000
                        • Location: Gahanna, OH
                        Re:Food theme days at work? Thu, 11/17/11 10:49 AM (permalink)

                        Wait a minute!  You have a bread machine  (wife's) and you actually use it?

                        In my place of business we would have grill days, barbecue days, salmon days and chicken days.

                        Some days would just be jerky.

                        Where I worked it was jerky only when the publisher was in the office.

                          • Total Posts: 1136
                          • Joined: 8/4/2005
                          • Location: New Orleans, LA
                          Re:Food theme days at work? Sun, 11/20/11 11:20 AM (permalink)
                          Great idea, but most places I've worked just did an annual potluck office party at Christmas.  My first job, our office did a "Twelve Days of Christmas" theme, for about two weeks, every couple of days, someone would bring in baked goods to go with our morning coffee.  A lot of variety, there were the usual store-bought donuts and coffee cake, but then some great homemade items like blueberry muffins, banana bread, etc. 
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