Friday, September 21, 2007

My Law of Kitchen Scavenging

The first law of office kitchens is that any catered food left on the counter is up for grabs for anyone who comes by. You just have to leave a little for those who come after you

(a) unless there is such a small amount left that it makes no sense to split
(b) unless it's late enough in the evening that most people have gone home

For natural-born scavengers like myself, this is one of the few benefits of working in a hive environment.

Today's freebie (and the best one in quite a while): California Pizza Kitchen.

On the menu, and on my plate, is the following:

  • shrimp summer roll (SOOOOOoooo fishy -- urp)
  • rigatoni in marinara (barely passable)
  • taco pizza (better in concept than in practice)
  • coleslaw (very fresh -- I don't usually do coleslaw, but ... it was FREE!)
  • Caesar salad (unremarkable, but the croutons had rye seeds -- yum!)
  • Asian chicken salad (a meal unto itself, and surprisingly good)

I wouldn't go to CPK with my own money when there are so many other unique spots in LA, but still, they didn't do too badly.

The great thing about the Asian salad is they laced it with chopped basil.

Take it from someone who's had basil ice cream and basil cocktails: Basil makes everything good.

My Inadvertently Chocolate Milk

Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean they really aren't out to get you. There's something inherently evil about my office. I've already had my motorcycle pushed over in the parking garage, gotten my milk stolen, and had my favorite plate stolen.

And now someone is actually putting things into my food!

When I was pouring the milk I keep in our communal fridge into my bowl of cereal this morning, I thought it looked a little dark. Seeing as it's under a week old, I chalked it up to the bad fluorescent lights in the kitchen, and happily munched away on breakfast at my computer.

Not much later, a devilish temptress e-mailed the department to say that she had brought in Krispy Kremes. Despite the overt rebellion my stomach always throws when I eat a donut, I had to indulge in a glazed sour cream ring. In order to preempt the upset tummy I went to pour myself more milk.

This time, with no cereal and bananas to obscure the view, I was certain that my milk was not only darker than it should be; it was actually BROWN. A faint brown to be sure, but still, not the bluish-white pallor that typifies nonfat. A smell test returned a surprising result. Instead of the sour stench of rotting lactose I expected, there was the slight but unmistakable smell of ... chocolate.

Someone has added chocolate mix to my carton of milk.

But who? Why? It wasn't like this yesterday, so the when is sometime since yesterday's breakfast.

Is this a malevolent act, or someone trying to sweeten my day? It could be a goodhearted practical joke, or someone hoping I have a chocolate allergy. It might also not even be chocolate ... maybe poison. Or worse: laxatives.

Upon inspection, my coworker advised that I write off the milk as a loss and dump it. But there was still the question in my mind as to why?

Also, there was the donut.

So, did I drink it? Well, I can't have a donut without milk.

Come on. I don't think I've done anything to anyone here (that's absurdly terrible) to deserve poisoning.

What's the worst that can happen?