Cooking is Merely Food Plus Heat

Brian Palmer cooks lunch in his place of employment. He writes about his decision to do this and shares his technique for making office fajitas, couscous, whatever:

At first all I used was a cheap frying pan and an ordinary hot plate plugged into the outlet beneath my desk. (Don’t worry, it takes a lot to trip an office circuit breaker.) I also experimented with an electric fondue pot, which served as heat source and cookware in one. Cooking in my office was probably against company policy—if the idea had ever occurred to the automatons in human resources—but no one ever noticed. I’d shut the door and let my office fill with the aroma of sautéed garlic and chopped cilantro.

Entry costs for guerrilla cooking are low. A serviceable hot plate runs less than 20 bucks, and you can get a top-class fondue pot for less than 50. Nonstick cookware is best, because soaking and scrubbing a pan in the communal sink inevitably leads to uncomfortable conversations about what you’re doing in that office of yours. (When co-workers found out I was cooking in my office, they usually gave a patronizing nod, raised their eyebrows, and said, “Interesting!”)

As for the food itself, you’ll need a box of kitchen essentials in small containers. Olive oil, salt and pepper, and bouillon cubes are extremely useful, but build your personal stash with additional herbs and spices to suit your needs. Keep it in your desk drawer and refill from home as needed, or adapt a toiletry case to the purpose and carry it to and from work everyday.The key to guerilla cooking is preparation.

It’s not often that you read an article that genuine blows your mind to pieces. How is it that in 30 years I’ve never considered the possibility of cooking food at work? Palmer takes conventional office eating wisdom and annihilates it.

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