Pet peeve: Smelly office food

Over a decade ago, I had a very quirky boss. He was awesome, super smart, insightful, and empathetic. He was a known national leader. I was often amused by his dry wit, temper, and his quirky bits. By saying temper I miscategorize him some. He, at times, had flashes of anger. But it was because he was so deeply committed to his principles. I won’t belabor this further. 
One thing he did get angry about was the smell of popcorn in the office. Popcorn, just smelling it, made him nauseous. He once went onto the office PA system and sought out who had just microwaved popcorn. He chastised this person openly noting that office space was share space and people should, thus, keep their smells to themselves. I laughed for days about this as I found it funny that a voice from above was issuing a reprimand on smells. It was funny, I promise. 
Anyway, I always remembered that day and his distaste of popcorn. 

I’ve never felt like issuing such a directive, however, I have been told that even non-microwaved packaged popcorn smells kind of gross. And eating such popcorn in a long meeting is cause for giving everyone a mint or two. 
On a totally different note, I’ve had a different smelly food experience that traumatized me for a while. Once I was at a restaurant where the food I ordered was so horribly smelly that I was near gagging.  Others around me in the restaurant turned to look at me as the smelly fish was brought to the table. I had ordered a fish dish. A special fish dish. It smelled putrid as if it had been out on a sidewalk for a few days. I was embarrassed although there was obviously no need for me to be. I told myself I would never order an interesting, special fish dish again. 

Then my own allergies started getting worse and I truly haven’t ordered an interesting, smelly fish dish again.  My shellfish allergy is such that a person eating shrimp a few doors down from me can cause me to swell up or worse.
 Recently, someone microwaved their fish in the office kitchen and I ended up with conjunctivitis. So, now even the smell of fish sends me into a state of panic.  Plus, let me note that microwaved fish in a small office space is just a bit offputting. I don’t get why people do it so often. The worse situation is that of someone heavily coated in perfume heating up fish in the office. My nose goes into overdrive.  I suppose work wouldn’t be exciting otherwise for me. 

11 replies »

  1. I come from a land where fish is the national dish. Yet I cannot stand fish on my plate which has the s of smell. On the more popcorn-y note, I don’t think your boss and I would get along 🙂


  2. I bring Tuna sandwiches to work a lot because they are easy. I always feel like I’m being obnoxious when I open the dish and I always find myself apologizing. At the same time, I feel like the smell goes away quickly and it’s not as bad as if I were cooking something. I definitely get the bad smells thing though, there are just some foods people should leave at home, and usually they tend to be seafood related.


  3. Do we have the same boss?! He’d get those really big industrial fans out and blow the popcorn smells away!
    As with the seafood smells, when I have fish for lunch, I tend to eat it outside the office. Just for me and my maties to breathe easier 😉


  4. I worked with a guy once in a small area who had microwaved kippers for breakfast. Fortunately I moved on shortly afterwards. Gagging not productive to working.


  5. I love salmon, but I always try not to bring it to work for leftovers, because the smell definitely is strong. That’s unfortunate about your shellfish allergy. 😦 Loving shrimp the way I do, I would be miserable if I couldn’t have it. Great post, as usual!


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