Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Corporate Christmas Nightmare, Part I

Merry Christams from The Office! Even the entertainment was actually entertaining this year, and the venue DIFFERENT. It was all going well, my fellow employees looking good for the little extra grooming and the smell of petty bonuses in the air. And then it was time for lunch. So once I had nuzzled my nose in amongst the corporate sweat of ten others in order to find out with whom I would be sharing this memorable dining experience, I made a quick survey of the tables to see if they were each adorned with 8 sorry looking pastry cases filled with something safe and vegetarian and surrounded with balsamic vinegar etc. But what I found was even worse.

You could tell from just looking that it was going to be foul. A rectangular slab of dark grey sludge, as aesthetically unappealing as you could get by being too long by far for its width and thickness, surrounded by lumps of watery, orange-coloured matter. On closer inspection a few slices of mushroom began to appear, but I was still none the wiser about the stuff in between, which formed the vast bulk of the horror before me. When the time came to place some in my mouth I could hardly believe my senses. Not only was this the most insipid, under-seasoned food I have ever tried to taste, but it had the texture of phlegm that had been harvested from a fly burned lung, chilled and compressed. There was some garlic and possible tarragon in there somewhere, possibly, and the orange matter turned out to have come from bitter, unripened tomatoes. It was inedible. And for once, bar the remedial contingent, the starter was left almost untouched by my 5 new friends and 2 IT boys.

The cranberry sauce had already given away the main. But at least we were on safer ground here, weren’t we? Bizarrely, the one thing that almost everyone gets wrong -- the roast tatties – were reasonable (i.e. they weren’t deep fried and re-heated). But everything else was, quite simply, fucking disgusting. I have never experienced animal matter this dry before. It was impossible to eat more than a knife-tip’s worth at a time, no matter how much of the gloopy, thickener-based “gravy” you coated it with, without your entire mouth seizing up. It had been fucking obliterated, no doubt on health&safety grounds. The accompanying veg, some slimy parsnips, rock hard sprouts and overcooked carrots completed the dish seamlessly. And to take away the unpleasant scratchiness left on our tongues, we were then handed a soggy, tepid, trans-fat based strudel injected with factory apple pulp sat slap bang in a dish of watery cream into which some Cunt had poured a bottle of cheapest brandy essence.

This would have cost us something like £20-30 a head, for sure. And despite no work needed for the starter or desert, it took a team of more a dozen waiting staff TWO FUCKING HOURS to slop it out. It beggars belief. And when you’ve even got the computer geeks excited by the chance of discerning what your food is made of – just so that they can compete with one another, not eat it – you know you’ve hit the big time.

So I came home and fried us up a bloody best rump steak, picked up from the farmers’ market en route in my suit and which had been sitting safely in the cool bag in the boot of my car while my saliva glands were working overtime with a stringy piece of knackered turkey. I plastered it in good oil, salt and pepper and griddled the fucker to fuck. We ate it with roast cherry tomatoes, rocket and bread. And it was delicious. I am not going to put myself through the company catering ordeal ever again, and I need several tens of thousands of others to join me if we are ever to stamp out this culinary atrocity.

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