Ahh, the mighty sweet sound of last night’s leftovers frying away in a dielectric high-frequency box. It can either be a thing of beauty... or, it can be what nightmares are made of.
Before you fire up that company microwave and wonder, “is chicken supposed to be making popping noises like that?”, or, “I wonder... how long before this thing explodes and covers the inside panel”, or, “wait, can you - or can’t you - cook a raw egg in the microwave?”, before you test any of those questions, you need to know some simple office microwave etiquette rules!
Foods smell; Everyone else smells it, too.
Becoming self-aware is a special thing. I remember the first time my girlfriend stepped foot into my apartment, and within moments she told me that, I quote, “your world STINKS!” I had no idea that pizza boxes containing old cheese, when strategically placed under a couch to make a quick impromptu-leg, can make for a foul-smelling apartment.
That, my friends, was one of those “WOW, maybe I do smell" moments. The moment I realized that maybe the ambiance I was used to wasn’t necessarily pleasant for everyone around me. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the attitude that you need to have when attempting to fire up that clanky, 1980’s box of leftover aromatic DEATH that we all know as the office microwave.
Remember that the office place is a finely tuned eco-system. You don’t want to add too much to the already-existing mix of smells: cheap cologne, pants that you haven’t dry-cleaned in a month, and just a pinch of broken dreams (do those actually have a smell?).
To help you figure out whether what you're about to nuke in the microwave would be acceptable to the aromatic ambiance, we’ve highlighted the top two DON'Ts and DO's (that's right, we're starting with the don'ts, deal with it):
This is how this usually plays out. Here's you last night: “wow, this fish was so good tonight, I think I may throw some in some foil and eat it tomorrow for lunch! I love fish! Who doesn't love fish!”
At this moment, a Delorean appears, crashes through your front door, and Future-You exits the driver’s seat and proceeds to punch you in the face. Then he takes your leftover fish and speeds off back to the future.
DO NOT MICROWAVE FISH. There is a reason this is #1 on our DON'T list. It may TASTE like it'll smell good tomorrow, but it's pungent sea-'roma WILL DOMINATE any office.
But maybe you're thinking, “Well, I’ll just eat it really fast! No one will even know!” HEY. You. Stop that. That’s the kind of smart thinking that got you punched by future-you in the first place. Save the fish for another time and place, like dinner at your house.
Depending on my mood, this could be the worst. Do you know that lovely whiff you get when you take out the trash and you first open that tightly sealed garbage lid? Well, that’s where the smell of broccoli hides, and you’re actually going to unearth it on a room full of innocent people, JUST because someone told you that it’s good for you!?!?!? STAHP!
Stick to raw, uncooked vegetables. It's a win-win. You don't encourage your coworkers to do horrible things to you, and studies show that vitamins and nutrients from raw vegetables FAR exceed those from their cooked counterparts - so you're getting a good nutrition kick to boot. Remember the golden rule when it comes to broccoli and other similarly scented vegetables: If you wanted to cook it, then skip it. Go raw or leave it home.
Duh. Moving on...
Just kidding. But seriously. Making an office smell like it's full of bacon? YES PLEASE. Take me to this magical place so I can bathe in its sweet aroma. Did I mention that I really like bacon? Sidenote: Please, be sure to RUN to get your bacon the nanosecond you hear the microwave beep "Done!" - or else you may be attacked and left with NO bacon and will possibly be missing a shoe or even a sleeve! Like a zombie to brains, freshly cooked bacon will cause some coworkers to turn indiscriminately ravenous.
I was hesitant to elect popcorn to the #2 spot only because this one requires some culinary skill with the microwave. Botch it, and it could easily flip to the top spot of the “don’t” list!
The aroma of properly cooked popcorn can send someone’s Terrible Tuesday straight into a weekend daydream of movies and 60 oz sodas (Big Gulps for life!). But, heed my warning: you must microwave the popcorn to instructional perfection! DO NOT OVERCOOK THE POPCORN, or you will quickly become the hunted.
An office ripe with the smell of burnt popcorn is like an unholy kingdom whose suffering knows no end. You have been warned. Buttery hot corny goodness: rockstar status. Burned kernal catastrophe: may your legs be swift and full of flight, for you must now run for your life.
What are the worst nasal offenders in your office? And which dish makes you instantly hungry, even if you just ate?