Kitchen Knaves

One of the first things that might seem strange to people when they start their first Real Job is the company kitchen.

At home, people are joined by birth, love and/or lease to those with whom they share refrigerator shelves. Depending on the residents’ culinary tendencies or lack thereof, that can translate into a fridge stocked with a rainbow of produce and the remnants of delectable meals or one dotted only with a half-empty jar of olives, some tired celery and a Diet Coke can.

The work kitchen is a whole different matter. Now your half-eaten salad is jostling for space with Dannon containers and a colleague’s Thai from last night. Where I used to work, larcenies of Lean Cuisines and lunch leftovers were common. Legend had it that in one instance, a work refrigerator was filled with pies and cakes awaiting a taste test by the food writer and other judges. A note explicitly spelled out that the goodies were not for consumption. Yet some sweet-seeking perpetrator allegedly helped his or herself anyway. Legend also had it that the employee was caught in the act on one of the security cameras. That must have been an interesting conversation with human resources.

Thankfully, there are those conscientious employees who serve as canaries in the coal mine and start pitching stuff when things in the fridge get too funky, thus saving us all from an outbreak of foodborne illness. And there’s help. Check out the video below for tips on etiquette in the workplace kitchen. It includes seemingly obvious ones like “Don’t leave anything disgusting in the fridge.” (In my defense, it wasn’t disgusting when I put it in the fridge.)

Kitchen Etiquette Re-Education Program for the Work Place from Brad Hyatt on Vimeo.

What’s your best work kitchen story?