The Office Food Trap


It doesn’t matter if you work in a newsroom, a corporate office, a non-profit or school there will always be the carry in. Some people call it a potluck. Others call it a pitch-in, bring-a-plate, dish-to-pass or any multitude of other words that all mean you bring something and have a feast.

Seems easy enough, right? You bring a dish and so do your co-workers. But that’s where it gets tricky. Some co-workers might be on a diet or are diabetic. Or can’t eat sugar substitutes. Or show their love with food or by commenting on your food choices. These landmines don’t have to be difficult.

Do what you can for your dish, the one you bring. If you love macaroni and cheese and have a fantastic recipe, make it! Don’t modify it unless you have to for yourself. That way you’ll know what goes in it and can tell your coworkers when they ask. Plus, you’ll know you can at least eat what you brought.

A note on co-workers asking what’s in the dish, it might be because they have an allergy or an intolerance or because they think the dish is so fantastic they must have the recipe. Be flattered and be kind.

You might feel obligated to take something because your boss made it, even if you already know you loathe the dish. That’s ok. Find a way to make it at least look like you tasted it. If that means cutting it up into teensy, eensy bites or hiding it under something else, fine, just be discrete.

As for an out on the whole thing all together you can always claim you forgot about the carry in, already made lunch plans or ate a huge breakfast and are stuffed. Regardless of whether or not you choose to participate, just be polite. Accept others food comments and occasional criticisms as a reflection of them, not you. Some people just show love with food.

How do you navigate the Office Food trap?