There are many things I enjoy about my job. First and foremost, I enjoy working in the Writing Field — no matter that this type of writing and editorial work is somewhat removed from what I studied. My coworkers are awesome, my desk is spacious, and I love having a gym one block from the office. Perks, perks, perks! It’s not all sunshine & cupcakes here at North Point, though: one thing we lack is a kitchen and dining space.
How is it possible not to have a kitchenette and/or cafeteria, you wonder? Truth be told, I’m not sure. I was under the impression that all offices were built with break rooms, themselves equipped with water coolers, microwaves whose trays are crusted with weeks-old nacho cheese and/or pasta sauce, a giant & unused coffee maker, and at least one round table circled by a motley, decrepit assortment of chairs. Not so in my office. We do have three fridges, two toaster ovens, a giant coffee maker, and a microwave, but no eating area, no sink with a narsty communal sponge, none of that. Blarg is what I have to say, but I’m not sure my Blarging will bring about any changes to the office layout, so I’ll hold my tongue.
Despite logistical constraints, my coworkers and I had a potluck last week, in celebration of Halloween and friendship and Fall in General and carbohydrates, among other things. At a preappointed time (er, noon), we rolled our rolly-chairs over to a table and shared the meal that we’d prepared, in a sense, together. Nathan provided mini-tacos and Totino’s Pizza Rolls, two things without which no party would be complete! Anne brought hummus and bread, Michael contributed gumdrops, and Eliana made a green bean and chopped walnut salad with a dijon-based dressing (yum). Pressed for time, I brought cranberry goat cheese, crackers, and my mom’s cranberry orange relish (which takes the place, at our Thanksgiving table, of the canned cran-jelly so popularized by The Media, but which few people actually eat. Or do they?)
The shining stars of the meal, however, were Stephanie’s homemade marshmallows and cinnamon rolls. SE made two varieties of ‘mallows — orange-tinted regular, and a bat-shaped, chocolate-encased variety. For those of you who have never tried a homemade marshmallow, get thee to an upscale confectionary stat! Denser and more elastic than their commerically-produced counterparts, these mallows were sweet but not too sweet. The chocolate casing, cracked to resemble strewn cobwebs, was thin and crispy and oh-so-delicious. Likewise, the rolls were unlike any I’ve had in years. Yeasty, frostingless, and not too sweet, the rolls were slightly chewy and dense. I broke mine into pieces to Prolong the Magic of eating it.
Forty-five minutes later, we cleared our paper plates into the trash can and rolled our chairs to the workstations whence they came. The Good Potluck Feeling pervaded the rest of the day, though. (I suppose it helps that there were plenty of leftover marshmallows and crackers and bread and berries to snack on throughout the afternoon.) I’d like to make the potluck a monthly tradition; my coworkers were less enthusiastic, citing the organizational challenges and potential Carb Overload, but we’ll see. I still believe in the existence of spontaneous gatherings.
Mom’s Cranberry Orange Relish
This recipe is so easy I hesitate to even call it a recipe, but I want to post it, anyway. Perfect for time-crunches and great even after a few days in the fridge, this condiment will please even those who feign indifference toward cranberries.
One 12-ounce package of whole (fresh) cranberries
1/3 cup sugar (can be reduced to 1/4 cup, if you’re finicky)
Wash and dry the orange and slice it into eight sections, leaving the peel on. Place in your food processor one-quarter of the berries and two orange slices; chop until berries and orange form a coarse relish. Empty the processor bowl and repeat this process three times, until all the berries and orange slices have been made into relish. Transfer the relish into a bowl and, bit by bit, add the sugar, mixing well. Refrigerate until serving; can be served cold or at room temperature.